Bahá'í Community
of Ottawa

The Official Site of the Bahá'ís of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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 by applying insights from the Bahá'í teachings to bring about a more just, peaceful and unified community.

In addition to personal prayer and meditation, Bahá'í communities hold regular devotional gatherings for collective worship. These gatherings unite people in prayer and awaken their spiritual susceptibilities. more...

Study circles bring groups of people together to deepen their understanding of the Bahá'í teachings through systematic study. This involves structured group discussion of passages from the Bahá'í writings that encourage reflection on one’s moral purpose and capacities for service. more...

Bahá'í children’s classes are offered to all children between 6 and 10 years old for their spiritual education and moral development. The aim of these classes is to inspire in each child a love for our diverse human family and to cultivate a praiseworthy character. They are guided by the Bahá'í belief that children are noble beings with great potential to develop into upright and active participants in their community. more...

Junior youth – or those between 11 and 14 years – are at a crucial stage in their lives when they are defining their identity and values. Junior youth groups offered by the Bahá'í community address the needs of these young people by helping them to develop a strong moral identity and to empower them to contribute to the well-being of their communities. more...

“Education for the Future: Integrating Subjects and the Arts”
with Heather Cardin

Friday, May 10, 2024, 7:30 EST

To download the poster about this presentation, click here.

Sign up to receive information and announcements on future Big Ideas talks and Events here

For details about this series, click here.

Ottawa Bahá'í Centre

Bookstore, Library and Info-Centre hours:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, plus the first and third Saturdays of each month from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
(Note: closed on Bahá'í Holy Days and civic holidays)

Holiday Hours: Closed from Friday December 22nd to Monday January 1st, and will re-open on Tuesday January 2nd, 2024

Ottawa Bahá'í Centre's online Public Events: click here.

The Bahá'í Faith from A to Z: 26 selected tenets, core beliefs and quotes from the Bahá'í Faith. Read Now!

March 29, 2024

Propelling Humanity To Justice

“The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee…. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”
— The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh

“The principle of the Oneness of Mankind, as proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh, carries with it no more and no less than a solemn assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution is not only necessary but inevitable…”
— Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh (1938)

When discussing the book that grew out of his 2017 Massey Lectures -- In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey – Payam Akhavan began his "Big Ideas" talk to about 130 people in the Ottawa Bahá’í Centre and attending virtually, by telling the story of Mona Mahmudnizhad.

Summer 2023 marked 40 years since the shocking executions of 10 Bahá’í women in Shiraz, Iran. Mona was 16 when arrested (her “crimes” were teaching children and writing school essays). Her refusal to be cowed by tyrannical threats galvanized young people around the globe. Akhavan, about Mona’s age, living comfortably in Canada after his own family’s escape from Iran, was among them. He often frames his educational achievements (Doctor of Juridical Science, Harvard) and career accomplishments (McGill University Professor of Law, Special Advisor on Genocide to the International Criminal Court) as inspired by Mona’s suffering and sacrifice.

“All the forces of history are propelling humanity towards peace and justice,” Payam Akhavan proclaimed early in his talk, “Climate Change and Small Island States.” Considering that a harrowing chunk of his professional life has been devoted to prosecuting contemporary war criminals, and that he currently advocates for island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising sea levels, his ultimate optimism is remarkable. But he is no wishful thinker: he describes our world’s turbulence and pain as symptoms of the chaotic adolescence of a human race struggling for maturity and points out that global peace and justice will not be achieved without influential global institutions.

They are under construction! From the 1899 Hague Conference calling for war’s elimination came the 1913 opening of the Peace Palace the Great War prompted formation of the League of Nations, and from the Second World War’s carnage arose the stronger (though still inadequate) United Nations; and, of course, the remarkable first prosecutions, in which Akhavan participated, of Balkan War criminals by the International Court of Justice. But still, “We need far more robust institutions. Climate change is the game-changer because nature’s laws are much more compelling than ours!” Climate change, Akhavan continued, “is a matter of our common survival, and highlights that we have one world and one human population.”
more ...

February 28, 2024

Not enough water or too much?

The Almighty Lord is the provider of water, and its maker, and hath decreed that it be used to quench man's thirst, but its use is dependent upon His Will. If it should not be in conformity with His Will, man is afflicted with a thirst which the oceans cannot quench."

Droughts and floods are not something that people in Ottawa think about as local problems. We have easy access to clean water to drink, flush or swim in.

But climate change is bringing foreign problems closer to home. Local farmers are worried about whether less snow this winter will mean drought conditions during the coming growing season. In recent years unusually heavy rains have caused serious flooding in our city. The problems of extreme weather events and unusual weather patterns are becoming more common.

In a presentation to the Ottawa 613 Environmental Café in February, Darren Hedley, a University of Calgary professor and member of the Association for Bahá’í Studies Climate and Environment Working Group gave a sobering overview of the issue of water security and how it relates to climate change.

He noted that a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature increases the water in the air (through evaporation and transpiration) by 7 per cent – which leads to more extreme weather events – more droughts, wildfires, heavy rains and severe storms.

At the same time, Hedley, a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Calgary, says 4 billion people now face scarcity at least one month a year and 50% of the world’s people will face severe water stress in the second half of this century. Hedley shared a map that showed parts of the world with serious water shortages which include a large part of California and Australia as well as large sections of Africa and of Asia. more ...

January 4, 2024

Spirit and Secularity: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

The heights which, through the most gracious favor of God, mortal man can attain, in this Day, are as yet unrevealed to his sight….The day, however, is approaching when the potentialities of so great a favor will, by virtue of His behest, be manifested unto men…. All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization….Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.
— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CIX —

Harold Rosen sees the world differently. Long a Unitarian minister, now an interfaith educator and Bahá’í for over 20 years, Mr. Rosen gave a well-organized tour of an immense subject in an online talk in the “Big Ideas” series. He sought to untangle and resolve a false trichotomy: the prevailing belief that formal religion, spirituality and the workaday secular world are exclusive and mutually antagonistic worldviews. Rosen’s thesis was clear and profound: “We need all three!” more ...

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