2017 Celebration of the Birth of the Bahá’u’lláh

posted Nov 13, 2017, 7:12 PM by Irina Rahimi   [ updated Jul 31, 2020, 3:58 PM by Bahais of Fort Wayne Fort Wayne ]

The weather cooperated offering sunshine and moderate temperatures the afternoon of Sunday, October 22, 2017.  It was yet another blessing for the celebration our community had been planning for more than a year!

Leading up to the October event monthly Lights of Unity talks and presentations offered opportunities to learn and share principles of our Faith with each other as well as with true seekers and curious friends.  The Lights of Unity meetings, hosted by the Rahimi family were like the marks you make on the wall to record the progress of a growing child.  Every month’s event meant we were that much closer to the once-in-a-lifetime event of Bahá’u’lláh’s Bicentenary.

In September the Fort Wayne community created another milestone by planting a Bald Cypress tree in Bloomingdale Park.  Another identical tree will be planted there in two years to honor the Báb.  For generations, people walking the St. Mary’s Path will witness the fact there were people here in 2017 who loved Bahá’u’lláh.  Details of the tree planting appeared in two newspapers and Mayor Tom Henry issued a historic proclamation.

Then, the day we had all planned and waited for arrived! 

On the Sunday afternoon of October 22, 2017, the Baha’is of Fort Wayne celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith.  

The celebration was held at the IPFW Alumni Center from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. More than sixty people; including Bahá’í community members, relatives of Bahá’ís, friends, and neighbors enjoyed the delicious buffet and decorated birthday cake! A true birthday celebration for Bahá’u’lláh!  We all contributed our talents to creating a beautiful space for the celebration; individual’s creative, technical, artistic, and speaking skills were put to good use! Misha Rahimi, one of our Baha’i youth, was master of ceremonies and warmly welcomed everyone to the special event.  While people enjoyed delicious refreshments, Victor Chaney provided classical guitar music for everyone’s enjoyment.  Misha and Neda Rahimi then provided arts performances including storytelling about the life of Baha’u’llah, and Maile Smits performed an interpretive dance.  The children present enjoyed the youth’s performances immensely and had a front row seat! The adults were also entertained and enjoyed all the activities from the comfortable leather couches encircling the outer room of the venue. Everyone had a wonderful time and had a chance to get to know the many guests in attendance.  We then shared dessert by cutting the Bicentennial cake that the youth served to everyone. 

At 5:00, the group began moving into the auditorium of the venue to watch the formal program.  We entered to a beautiful musical piece specially written for the occasion by performing artist, Lucy Shropshire.  Misha Rahimi and Dean Hill welcomed everyone to the historic celebration! The program began with a lovely prayer sung by Maile Smits, followed by the prayer, Blessed is the Spot, read in four languages.  Our Master of Ceremonies introduced Milena Stekly, who read the mayoral proclamation specially written for this historic day celebrated around the world. Billy Howell-Sinnard, dressed as an Oxford University professor in his study, performed a dramatic reading of the Pen Portrait of Bahá’u’lláh written by Edward Granville Brown, the only European to have met Baha’u’llah.

Finally, Carol Butler introduced the greatest gift given to the Baha’is by the Universal House of Justice for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh celebration, Light to the World, the feature film that lasted 51 minutes and brought many to tears as a moving tribute to the life of Bahá’u’lláh and His effect on the world over the past 200 years. It was a story beautifully told through images, stories, and music.  It was a wonderful and moving tribute to the Blessed Beauty and a celebration to be remembered for many years to come! 

Overall, the celebration was a well-attended, impressive event!