Devotional Gatherings, Study Circles, Involvement in the Life of Society, the Moral Education of Children, and Spiritual Empowerment for Junior Youth
Inspiration, rejuvenation, motivation, purpose, meaning—all are essential ingredients to one’s sense that his or her life is on track, is worth living. Yet, day to day, one is hard-pressed to maintain a positive, hopeful outlook.
The Word of God, say the Bahá’í writings, provides inspiration, rejuvenates souls, gladdens hearts, and renews one’s sense of purpose.
In locations all over the Halifax region, Bahá’ís host devotional gatherings in homes and community centres for prayer and the reading together of Bahá’í writings, other scriptures, and inspirational pieces and to create an environment of unity and harmony. Prayer offers us an opportunity to commune with our Creator, draw on the revitalizing power of the Word of God, and to contemplate and more deeply appreciate our lives.
The meetings, often simple, have a variety of elements to accommodate participants regardless of their religious background. Music, food, and discussion are often present, though the primary purpose is to use prayer’s power to transform, unify, and revitalize.
For many, these gatherings become a refreshing refuge from the discordant and grinding aspects of everyday life. Participants are able to meditate on spiritual principles and gain some perspective on how these principles can be applied to their day-to-day affairs.
Devotional gatherings are open to all and are intended to embrace that attitude of prayer and practice of devotion that is universal to all religions.
A short video: What are Devotional Gatherings?
Around the world, one of the most common formats for Bahá’í study circles features a workbook entitled “Reflections on the Life of the Spirit.”
Developed by the Ruhi Institute in Colombia, the workbook is part of a series of materials that are widely used by Bahá’í communities in an effort to foster constructive personal and community transformation.
These workbooks use an interactive, question-and-answer format that fosters a participatory learning process in which the entire group develops a new capacity for individual and social action.
Typically, a study circle is lead by a “tutor”. The tutor serves as a guide to assist participants to come to their own understandings and to generate new knowledge about themselves, their spiritual development, and their communities.
The workbooks draw extensively on quotations from the Bahá’í sacred writings—a feature that infuses a high degree of spirituality into the process.
Anyone is welcome to join one of the study circles that are organized all over the Halifax region.
Involvement in the life of society
Bahá’ís throughout the world—both individually and collectively—strive to become involved in the life of society, working shoulder to shoulder with divers groups to contribute to the advancement of material and spiritual civilization. Everyone willing to participate in the process of advancing the progress of the Halifax and world community is welcome to contribute.
Locally members of the Bahá’í Community work extensively to promote interfaith understanding by leadership roles in the local United Nations InterFaith Harmony Week activities, participation in InterFaith committees and university chaplaincies, and contributing to Diversity Calendars and other publications. Like many organizations, individual Bahá’ís are actively engaged in charitable and service work and particularly those that promote the oneness of humankind such as a free English Corner and help with immigrant settlement.
“Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” — Bahá’u’lláh
Moral Education for Children
Children’s nobility and inherent dignity and their diverse talents and capacities require nourishment, love, and attention. Children’s education is a preoccupation of Bahá’í communities and the key to the progress of the human community.
The Bahá’í Community of Halifax has joined thousands of local Bahá’í communities around the world in opening up its children’s classes to all children of whatever background or belief.
Distressed by society's widespread abandonment of proper care of and attention to children, Bahá’ís have resolved to give as much attention to the education of children as their personal and community resources allow.
Children are introduced to moral principles as well as the lives of humanity’s foremost spiritual Teachers: Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh.
Avoiding a sectarian or rigid approach, the classes aim to awaken in children an understanding and love of those universal spiritual principles and moral teachings that have served to uplift humanity throughout the ages. These teachings, drawn in large part from the Bahá’í writings, convey a love of the arts, the utmost respect for science, and a moderate and wise focus on moral and spiritual education.
Bahá’í children’s classes aspire to impart in children a love of humanity, in all its diversity, and a love of knowledge, both material or spiritual.
Values and morality, virtues, and good character; stories of spiritual and religious heroism; and insights into the eternal relationship of God and humanity provide the basis for Bahá’í children’s classes.
Learn more: Children's Classes
Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment
The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program is a global initiative aimed at endowing youth ages 11–14 with the ability to recognize the spiritual significance of their actions and words.
As members of a junior youth group, middle school-aged youth work together to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to become agents of change and begin to understand that they have the ability to transform their own lives.
Working together with their group leaders, group members identify service opportunities in their communities allowing them the chance to continue to increase their capabilities and strengthen their bonds with each other and the community in which they live.
These experiences help youth develop a sense of world citizenship and a lifelong commitment to serve humanity, a core belief of the Bahá’í Faith.
Short video on the program: HERE