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Bahá’í Auxiliary Board Member (ABM) to include St. Helena within his responsibility. (May 2012)

The Bahá’í Faith has no clergy and is governed by councils elected at the local, national and international levels.

Every member of the Bahá’í community over the age of 21 is eligible for election to their local and national institutions, and members are encouraged to vote for people on the basis of their perceived spiritual capacity, experience and willingness to serve others.

Nominations, campaigning and electioneering are not permitted.

Local governing councils are referred to as Local Spiritual Assemblies (LSAs), and at the national level, there are National Spiritual Assemblies.

Local Bahá’í Assemblies are elected annually. The first LSA was formed on St. Helena in 1973, and elections have continued each May, with only a short break, since then.

Separate local elections are also held once a year for delegates who attend a National Convention where each country’s National Spiritual Assembly is elected. These National Institutions are responsible for assisting and coordinating Bahá’í activities and socio-economic development projects and liasing with government and social institutions.

Once every five years, the members of the world’s National Spiritual Assemblies attend an International Convention, at the Bahá’í World Centre on Mount Carmel in what is now Israel, to elect the members of the Universal House of Justice. This institution is the International governing body of the Bahá’í community.

In addition to guiding the growth and development of the global Bahá’í community, the Universal House of Justice was exhorted by Bahá’u’lláh to exert a positive influence on the general welfare of humankind, and to promote a permanent peace among the nations of the world.

It is also mandated to assist in efforts to “promote the training of peoples and the upbuilding of nations”.

Since its establishment in 1963 it has vigorously promoted initiatives in the areas of human rights, the advancement of women and social and economic development.

At the local, national and international level, individual members of these councils do not wield any power, rank or influence on their own. The authority for decision-making resides in the elected institution and not in its members.

The Universal House of Justice appoints Counsellors from different parts of the world to work with the National Spiritual Assemblies in the countries of their area and the Continental Board of Counsellors appoint Auxiliary Board Members to help them reach more Bahá’í groups.

The Bahá’ís of St. Helena come under the auspices of the South African National Assembly, and they have enjoyed the visits of two Counsellors over the years - Mrs. Bahiyyih Winckler and Mrs Lally Warren. Recently, an Auxiliary Board member, Naisan Samadi, has been asked to include St. Helena in his region and we have had some welcome contact with him to date, and look forward to meeting him either in Capetown or on St. Helena some time in the future.

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Bahá’í New Year Celebration 2012 (April 2012)

The Bahá’í Community of St. Helena hosted a supper for guests at the Bahá’í Centre on the occasion of Bahá’í New Year, one of the nine Holy Days celebrated by Bahá’ís around the world, on Wednesday evening 21st March.

This is the first day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and marks the start of the Bahá’í Solar Calendar dating from the Declaration of the Báb in 1844.

Bahá’í Communities around the world will have celebrated in their own way, depending on their former religious backgrounds, as there is no standard format. We also celebrate our freedom of religious belief, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18{1}.

This year the South African celebration of Human Rights Day coincided with the Bahá’í New Year and Bahá’ís on St. Helena have joined their co-religionaries everywhere around the world in praying for the well-being of the Bahá’ís in Iran and have sent letters to the government leaders in Iran requesting the reinstatement of educational rights that have been so long denied to the Bahá’ís of that country.

Ours was a special occasion, which brought together Bahá’ís, friends and families with children. It reflects the positive spirit of the Bahá’í Faith, of light and hope at a time when there is much global despair.

The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.
Bahá’u’lláh

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New Article: Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee (November 2011)

The first official event to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Queen’s Accession to the throne was held at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday, 15th February 2012.

Read the full article… .

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Important notice - browser compatibility (November 2011)

If you are using an older version of your web browser it is possible you may experience minor display formatting issues with this website and others that we manage (please see Click for: software.burghhouse.com/websites.htm • Burgh House Software • opens in a new window or tabBurgh House Software for a list).

XHTML 1.0 Transitional

This site now conforms to the XHTML 1.0 Transitional standard and this is not always fully supported in older versions of web browsers. If you are affected we hope that these display anomalies do not inhibit your use of this site.

We strongly recommend that you use the most up-to-date version of your chosen web browser because, in addition to display issues with more modern websites, recent versions are more likely to protect you from security vulnerabilities. Please visit the website for your chosen web browser for more information (a link is usually provided from the browser’s ‘help’ function).

 

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Bahá’í Activities Update (June 2011)

Having discovered that the Prince Andrew Community High School, needed more information on the Bahá’í Faith, we purchased some books for their Religious Education Department and for the school’s Trevor Hearl Library, offering talks and school visits to the Bahá’í Centre. This invitation was also extended to the Junior schools.

We have continued to hold our Devotionals on Thursday evenings at the Centre at 8pm. These are evenings of prayers and readings followed by refreshments, if anyone cares to join us.

Our monthly Public meetings have included talks on The Mission of Bahá’u’lláh; Fair Trade; One World Music; and The Day of the Covenant.

An invitation was sent to all religious groups to join with us in prayer at their meetings on the occasion of Human Rights Day of Global Action last June. We also asked for their prayerful support in remembering those Bahá’ís persecuted for their faith in Iran, and continued our radio Thought for the Day along with other religious groups.

We commemorated the week of prayer for World Peace 17th- 24th October, and hosted tea parties for Bahá’í New Year and Bahá’u’lláh’s Birthday

The Information Centre attracted enquiries from a few visitors to the island, and we had pleasant discussions with them.

The St. Helena Bahá’í Community was represented at the “Building Human Rights Capacity in the Overseas Territories” Advocacy Training Workshops held last June by two South African Lawyers, on Human Rights. The Faith was also represented at the meeting of Civil Societies held by the visiting VSO trainer.

As the 4th anniversary of the imprisonment of the leaders of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran drew near, we were asked to publicise their plight in our local papers. Our letter quoting the UK Prime Minister’s concerns for their welfare, and deploring religious persecution, was printed on 19th May. The text is reproduced below:

Religious Persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran

The Bahá’í of St. Helena invite all believers of other persuasions in the Island to add their prayers to ours for the safety of the Bahá’ís of Iran.

The persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran, and the imprisonment of their leaders since 2008 has provoked a worldwide chorus of condemnation from governments, institutions and individuals in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union and the President of the European Parliament have also joined the protest, along with numerous human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and other groups and religious leaders including from Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Background of the ongoing persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran can be found online at www.bahai.org/dir/worldwide/persecution.

MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER,
the Right Honourable David Cameron MP
to the Bahá’ís of the UK,
April 2011:

It gives me great pleasure to send my warmest regards to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the UK on the occasion of the Festival of Ridván. This is a time to reflect on the past year, to celebrate successes but also to think about those who are suffering within the Bahá’í community. I remain deeply concerned about the ongoing plight of the seven Bahá’í leaders and the continued attacks on the Bahá’í Faith in Iran. Your dignity and patience is admirable in the face of such severe discrimination and intimidation for simply staying true to your faith. I hope the recent appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur and the imposition by the EU of sanctions against human rights violators in Iran will provide encouragement to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís here in the UK and to the many Bahá’ís in Iran who bravely continue to speak up for their rights. We hope that these developments convey to Iran the strength of the international concern over its human rights record and demonstrate that continued violations will not go unnoticed. May this year bring both peace and prosperity to you all.

Thank you for your prayerful support.
Barbara B. George
Secretary, St. Helena Bahá’í Community

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Footnotes:

{1} Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance only with the permission of the person and not by force.


 


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