Philadelphia Bahá’ís Restore Home ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Visited in 1912

A rocking chair sits between a window and a fireplace.
A chair ‘Abdu’l-Bahá used in the Revell House’s front room. Photo courtesy of JoAnn Pangione Arcos.

On ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s extraordinary journey across North America in 1912, He visited Philadelphia from June 8 to 10. While there, He spoke at a hotel and two churches, as well as at a private Bahá’í residence, a house rented by Mary Jane Revell where she and her four daughters lived. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited every room in the modest rowhouse and, sitting on a rocking chair, addressed the fifty Bahá’ís crowded inside. He praised them as brilliant “pearls,” exhorting them to serve Bahá’u’lláh.

Continue reading

An Introduction to The Secret of Divine Civilization

Modern buildings stand next to a canal. A footbridge spans the canal.
Photo by author.

The winds of the true springtide are passing over you; adorn yourselves with blossoms like trees in the scented garden.

Spring clouds are streaming; then turn you fresh and verdant like the sweet eternal fields.

The dawn star is shining, set your feet on the true path.

The sea of might is swelling, hasten to the shores of high resolve and fortune.

The pure water of life is welling up, why wear away your days in a desert of thirst?1

—Abdu’l-Baha
Continue reading

New Mexico Initiative Combats Indigenous People’s Erasure

Sandpainting prepared by Mitchell Silas (Diné) showing the Bahá’í ring stone symbol: the worlds of man (the hogan), the Holy Spirit or mediator between man and God (the smoke rising from the hogan), and the Twin Manifestation (two stars).
A sandpainting by Diné artist Mitchell Silas. Photo by S. Michael Bernhard.

Indigenous people worldwide have rich spiritual traditions that emphasize the oneness of humans with each other and with Mother Earth, a tenet shared with the Bahá’í Faith. Recognizing this commonality, some Native people have become Bahá’ís, making enormous contributions to the community—for instance, in the United States, the late Kevin Locke (Lakota) and his mother Patricia Locke (Lakota) were spiritual giants.

Yet, much work remains to strengthen the connections between Indigenous and Bahá’í teachings. A new task force based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, is diligently carrying out that work.

Continue reading

Teens Mentor Fellow Teens, Who Mentor Kids in Turn in NC

“As a youth, it’s very impactful to be able to feel that you’re doing something good,” says Issa Masumbuko, a high school student in Durham, North Carolina. “It’s kind of like we’re being held back by society, but when we’re given the opportunity to contribute, we start to see our importance in the world.”

Continue reading

Newcomer Uses Bahá’í-Inspired Approach to Empower Arizona Kids

Although Jaron Myers’s story unfolds in the desertscape of central Arizona, it actually starts 1,500 miles away in Minnesota. At 18, Myers was a college student and churchgoer there. But he wasn’t satisfied with his spiritual life, feeling a disconnect between the rituals of religion and the call he felt to serve society.

Continue reading

Small Maryland Town Shows a Big Appetite for Spiritual Activities

Growing up in a small town has its benefits: kids often enjoy a tight-knit community and relative safety. But they may not have as many opportunities to expand their horizons as their urban peers do.

Take Federalsburg, Maryland, a town of 2,700 nestled near the center of the Delmarva Peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. “Federalsburg is a town with a lot of children and not much to do,” says high school student Joseph Foster. “They get bored and turn to other stuff.”

Continue reading

Thornton Chase, Steadfast Seeker

A formal portrait of Thornton Chase in his later years.
Thornton Chase (22 February 1847–30 September 1912). Photo courtesy of the US Bahá’í Archives.

A strong-willed leader and organizer, and a seeker forever pursuing the mysteries of divine love; an insurance salesman and an artist of page and stage who composed poetry and prose, sang and acted; a man who wrestled with a wariness of women and a unifier of contending personalities: this was Thornton Chase.

Continue reading

Retrospective: A Blossoming of Initiatives in the Midwest

A small flower rises above a blanket of snow.

While winter and pandemic hibernation may seem far in the past, several initiatives originally undertaken during the previous winter months have blossomed. Though diverse in focus, these initiatives shared a common thread of building networks of people in the Midwestern states dedicated to sharing Baha’u’llah’s teachings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio. 

Continue reading

Shoghi Effendi’s Call for Racial Justice

A protestor holds a sign saying "ENOUGH"

In The Advent of Divine Justice, Shoghi Effendi laid out a path for the U.S. and Canadian Baha’i communities to contribute to the transformation of their societies, as summarized in introduction to the Advent of Divine Justice. Addressing the United States in particular, he identified “racial prejudice” as “the most vital and challenging issue confronting the Baha’i community,” for this issue permeated the entire nation, which he called “a prey to one of the most virulent and long-standing forms of racial prejudice.”

Continue reading