Local Baha’is celebrate bicentenary at Salem Public Library

Photo by Shawn Nowlin
Baha’is and their friends observing a special film produced to celebrate the 200 anniversary of the birth of the herald of their faith. The film told of the world conditions and how the Bab came to prepare the way for Bahá’u’lláh whose teachings are ushering in a new world order based on spiritual principles.
Shawn Nowlin shawn.nowlin@ourvalley.org


Local adherents of the Bahai faith and their friends recently gathered at the Salem Public Library to help celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab. Pronounced like the word “Bob,” Bab, who was born in 1819 in Persia which is Iran today, means “the gate” in Arabic.

A video titled “Dawn of the Light” was shown to attendees on November 2. Produced by the Universal House of Justice, the international console that governs the Baha’is, refreshments and a Q&A session took place afterward.

“The Baha’i Faith regards mankind as one human family and has followers across the globe.  The teachings brought by Baha’u’llah and his Herald, the Bab, follow the universal truths of God’s messengers over the ages, with additional principles intended to guide us today as the human race begins to reach maturity,” Donna Burton, a member of the Salem Baha’is community since 2015, said.  

Photo by Shawn Nowlin
Baha’is viewing the “Dawn of the light.”

She added, “These principles include the elimination of all forms of prejudice, the equality of men and women, the harmony of science and religion, the essential unity of all religions and a spiritual solution to the economic problem.”

Present at the Dawn of the Light viewing was Jerry and Barbara Craig. In 2010, Jerry and his wife moved to Salem to retire from Arlington, Virginia, because it was less expensive and Barbara’s mother was living at Richfield at the time. Since 1970, the Craig’s have been members of the global Baha’i community.

“The Baha’i Faith, established in virtually every country of the world, has over five million members in more than 100,000 localities worldwide, representing about 2,100 indigenous tribes, races and ethnic groups,” Barbara said. “Similar bicentenary gatherings such as the November 2 occurrence at the Salem Library have taken place in Baha’is communities all across the globe.”

There are some basic truths that all members of the Baha’is faith believe: there is only one God, we are all brothers and sisters because everyone is a child of God, all forms of prejudice should be abolished and all religions are one in reality.

“There are over 150 Baha’is in the Roanoke Valley, concentrated in communities in Roanoke City (51) and Roanoke County (64), with smaller numbers of members living in Salem, Vinton and Rocky Mount,” Jerry said. “As most of the Baha’is communities are small, rather than purchasing buildings, we meet in each other’s homes, taking turns within our local communities.”



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