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Gentle Yoga and Devotions
Monday Dec 7 & 14
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Friday Dec 4th, 7:30 PM
This months presenter is Atoosa Adani.

Study group
Every Wednesday
11:00 AM until 1 PM

Creative Writers’ Group
Thursday December 17, 7:30 PM

Art LogoPhotographs by Louis Brunet on display this month in the Fireside Gallery downstairs.

Bahá'í Holy Days
There are eleven holy days on the Bahá'í calendar  more..

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Ottawa Bahá’í Centre
211 McArthur Ave. K1L 6P6
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TEL: 613-742-8250   Map 

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"Bahá'í Perspectives" is the Bahá'í response to the "Ask the Religion Experts" column series that formerly ran in the Sunday edition of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. Read here...

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The Bahá'ís of Ottawa come from a variety of backgrounds, brought together by a common belief in the oneness of humanity and the unity of religion. We work alongside others to become a force of positive change, applying insights from the Bahá'í teachings to bring about a more just, peaceful and unified community.

Community News Current
November 28, 2015

Remembering Winnifred Harvey
The 75th anniversary of the Ottawa Bahá'í Community

Winnifred HarveyIn June of 1940, twenty-nine year old Winnifred Harvey arrived at the old Ottawa train station after a long journey from Winnipeg, excited to join the Canadian public service, which was growing quickly in response to the needs of the Second World War. She carried with her a B.A. degree from Brandon College, where she had graduated first in her class, and a resume which included several years of teaching in rural schools and at Winnipeg’s Dominion Business College. More importantly, she carried a small book of writings of the Bahá'í Faith, which had been given to her by Winnipeg’s first Bahá'í, Rowland Estall.  

Winnifred had belonged to an adult education group called the “Phoenix Club,” which included Rowland Estall, one of the earliest Canadian Bahá'ís. As a voracious reader, Winnifred was soon discussing Bahá'í ideas with Rowland, and reading her way through his Bahá'í library. She was very attracted to the Bahá'í Faith which to her was a beacon of hope in the dark days of the Depression that ravaged the Prairies.  It also seemed to her to be absolutely sensible.  After reading all of Rowland’s books on the topic, she then went to the library and tried to find evidence to refute it.  She could not.  But before she could investigate much further, she was hired by the federal public service, and left Winnipeg for Ottawa with Rowland’s book and the contact information for a group of Bahá'ís in Montreal.

One summer Sunday, not long after her arrival in Ottawa, she took the train to Montreal and had tea with a group of ladies she had never met before. At first she saw them as just a group of older middle class women, but then she realized they had something more and that their belief was genuine. Winnifred felt that she had stumbled upon a jewel.  Impelled to act, she returned to Ottawa and wrote a letter to the Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, at its world headquarters in Haifa, Israel. In the years that followed, she would always claim that she had been the hundredth Bahá'í in Canada. 

Winnifred HarveyShe may have been the first and only Bahá'í in Ottawa, but she did not keep this jewel to herself. Within a year, she would be holding regular discussion groups, called “firesides,” in her Ottawa home to tell others of the Bahá'í Faith. Through her love for the Bahá'í Faith, she attracted others to join her, and from those initial efforts today’s Ottawa Bahá'í Community emerged. For the rest of her life, WInnifred worked to support the development of the Bahá'í community at the local, national and international levels.  In 1970, she left the Ottawa area to serve at the Bahá'í world headquarters in Haifa, Israel. She died there In September 1990 was buried in the Bahá'í Cemetery in Haifa.

Seventy five years after Winnifred Harvey brought the Bahá'í Faith to Ottawa, there are now about 1200 Bahá'ís in Ottawa who further the principles of their Faith by promoting the social and spiritual advancement of their neighbourhoods and communities. “Back in 1940, when she first arrived in Ottawa, Winnifred knew that she was at the beginning of a great adventure, and wanted to make a difference in a world that had been devastated war and economic depression “ said her niece Heather Harvey, a member of the Ottawa Bahá'í Community. “Winnifred never married and had no children, but everywhere I go, I meet people that she inspired and encouraged.  She never doubted that the Bahá'í Faith was the answer to the ills of the world, and therefore worked tirelessly to ensure its growth.  She loved young people and would be so happy to see the work of Bahá'í youth to transform their neighbourhoods into beacons of unity and service.”

Community News Current
November 3, 2015

Ottawa Bahá'ís Prepare to Celebrate the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh
Celebration will be the first in Ottawa to follow the “Badi” Calendar

The house of Bahá’u’lláh in Takur, Mázindarán, destroyed by the Iranian government in 1981. (Bahá'í World Centre Archives 1975)The Ottawa Bahá'í community is preparing to celebrate the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh on the evening of Friday November 13th. Bahá'ís recognize Bahá’u’lláh as the latest in a long line of divine educators - including Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and others - who have brought spiritual teachings for the advancement of humanity. The commemoration of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh provides an opportunity to gather together to celebrate the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

For Bahá'ís in Ottawa, and around the world, this year’s celebration is unique because for the first time, it will be celebrated according to the “Badi” calendar. The Bab who was the forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh, created a new calendar in 1844, marking a clear break from Islam. Last year, the central governing body of the Bahá'í community, the Universal House of Justice, announced that 2015 would see the final stage of the gradual adoption of the Badi calendar throughout the worldwide Bahá'í community.

Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, BahjiUntil this year, Bahá'í Holy Days have been fixed to the Gregorian calendar, with the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh celebrated on November 12 and the Birth of the Bab on October 20. These two Central Figures of the Bahá'í faith were born in different years but on consecutive days in the same lunar month of the old Islamic calendar. At that time, their birthdays were celebrated as “Twin Holy Days” but in the West, their birthdays have been celebrated one month apart, based on the solar calendar. The Badi calendar is also a solar calendar but it retains lunar elements to identify these two Holy Days. From 2015 onward, the birthdays of the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh will be respectively celebrated on the first and second days after the eighth new moon of the Bahá'í New Year, which begins with the spring equinox.

The Badi calendar, which was initiated 172 years ago to mark the dawn of a new era, will this year be fully implemented in Bahá'í communities around the world. Bahá'ís look forward to the first historic celebration of the “Twin Holy Days” as a sacred moment to gather and strengthen the devotional and social life of the community. “The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation,” wrote the Universal House of Justice, “is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast.”

On Friday November 13th, a public celebration of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh will take place at 7:30pm at the Hellenic Centre, 1315 Prince of Wales Drive. All are welcome. Map

Community News Current

October 15, 2015

The Power of Youth
Lessons learned in the Spiritual and Moral Education of Children

Child ColouringAll across Ottawa, dedicated volunteers have been serving their communities by supporting a series of spiritual and moral education classes for children ages 4-11. These children’s classes aim to help the participants become dynamic contributors to their families and neighbourhoods. At one class in the Foster Farm neighbourhood, the volunteer teachers already understand that teaching these young children is a rewarding and fulfilling service opportunity. They are increasingly coming to understand that junior youth have unique and powerful contributions to make to such projects.
Recently, the Foster Farm children’s class was assisted by a group of 11 to 15 year olds from the south of Ottawa, who were participating in a Junior Youth Camp. As part of their camp, they volunteered to teach a children’s class in Foster Farm focussed on the spiritual quality of “caring.”  The regular teachers trained the junior youth to work with the children and helped them to prepare their materials, supplies and their lesson plan.

The junior youth took took on a number of leadership roles, singing songs, reading stories, playing games and sharing prayers and quotations from the Baha'i scriptures related to “caring.” The youth developed quick bonds of affection with the children and they shone in their new roles. One of the regular children's class teachers, Hanna said that “having the junior youth in the class greatly assisted the children as they could relate to them in a very different way than the teachers who were typically older youth or adults.”

The junior youth left a special gift for the class in the form of a beautifully decorated “virtues lily pond” poster. Each week, the children can now attach another lily pad to represent the new spiritual quality that they learn about. This useful and fun tool will help the children remember the virtues and spiritual qualities that they are learning to apply in their daily lives.
Lily Pad

 “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess,” wrote the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the International Baha’i Community. “An atmosphere needs to be maintained in which children feel that they belong to the community and share in its purpose.” The teachers and the youth who participated in this class learned a great deal about the importance of building relationships between younger children and those who are just a few years older. And in today’s society, where junior youth aged 11 to 15 might not always be entrusted with leadership roles, there is evidence that these junior youth have both the spiritual energy and the abilities to step forward and “care” for others, serving as positive role models for those younger than themselves.

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