The Bahá’í community of St. John’s dates back to Confederation when three Bahá’ís from mainland Canada settled in the new provincial capital in 1949.
Today, the local community numbers about 60 believers of diverse backgrounds. The Bahá’í Faith has no clergy. Instead, members aged 21 and older elect a nine-person Local Spiritual Assembly each year to govern the community’s affairs.
The central tenet of the Baha’i Faith is progressive revelation.
Bahá’ís believe that God periodically sends messengers to guide humanity through its development.
These messengers stretch back beyond recorded time. They include Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Jesus Christ and Muhammad. The most recent of these messengers, Bahá’u’lláh, founded the Bahá’í Faith in Persia in the 19th century.
Since then, the Bahá’í Faith has grown into the youngest of the world’s independent religions. Every day, Bahá’ís work to spread Bahá’u’lláh’s message that humanity’s next step is to organize itself into a global society committed to universal peace. These activities are co-ordinated by National Spiritual Assemblies and the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel.
Bahá’í life in St. John's
Life in the local Baha’i community flows through a 19-day cycle, with community meetings called Feasts happening at the beginning of each Bahá’í month. These meetings combine devotional services with discussions of community affairs.
Bahá’ís take an active interest in the wider community in which they live. They strive to contribute to community development through a series of core activities:
Devotional Gatherings, which bind the hearts of people of all faiths in common worship;
Study Circles, in which Bahá’ís and others learn to apply spiritual principles in striving to make the world a more just and unified place;
Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Programs, which seek to instill a strong sense of purpose among youth aged 11-15 by strengthening their powers of thought and expression and by giving them an opportunity to carry out their own community service projects.
Children's classes, which nurture the spiritual knowledge and development of our most precious resource.
Bahá’ís take an active part in the discourses of society. In the past, for example, Bahá’ís in St. John's have contributed to public consultations about education and the integration of immigrants and refugees into Newfoundland and Labrador society.
Two Bahá’ís share a laugh at a holy day commemoration in St. John's.
A Bahá’í speaks at a celebration of the Festival of Ridvan in St. John's in May 2017.
The Bahá’í Faith places special emphasis on the arts as a means of expressing sprituality. Bahá'u'lláh writes that God has "made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high."