Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary at the Baha'i House of Worship

the beautiful inlay work inside the dome

It has been 15 years ago since I got married in Washington DC at the Baha'i Centre there and that I had lived in the US for more than a decade (did spend some time in between in Singapore).

Yet it was only now that I finally made it to the House of Worship in Wilmette, USA. I have since now visited 4 other Houses of Worhsip around the world i.e. the House of Worship in Frankfurt, Samoa, India and Australia- and this was my very first time at the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. What a special occasion to come here though and this made it even more memorable.

What made it also a blessing was that on our visit to the House of Worship, we ran into the Music Director there, Van Gilmer, who actually sang at our wedding on that very day 15 years ago. I was a member of the DC Baha'i choir, and so was he. The DC choir so lovingly offered to sing at my wedding. Van Gilmer gave such a touching solo rendition of the Unity Prayer at my wedding, that I was moved to tears. I shall never forget this very special soul and am grateful to have met him again now. He had helped make my wedding a special occasion and now running into him again on my wedding anniversary made it special once again. Here are some pictures I took to remember the special nature of our day there.

with Van Gilmer

We saw so many special artifacts also at the House of Worship. There was the chair that was used by Abdul Baha, and the stone which was humbly donated by a Baha'i of humble background, which she carried it all the way to the place of the House of Worship as her contribution to its construction. Abdul Baha acknowledged her sincere contribution by naming it the cornerstone of the temple. It still resides there and is set in a room for meditation and prayer.

Abdul Baha's Chair

Abdul Baha named this the cornerstone of the temple.

Just outside this room with the sacred artifacts, is a room with many murals sewn together using quotes from the Promise of World Peace.

After the visit at the House of Worship, we were kindly brought around by a friend, Charles Cooper, to visit the National Baha'i Centre. Charles and us go way back. and in fact we visited him in Seattle during our honeymoon 15 years ago, and during that time my husband and him started architecting the creation of the Baha'i Computer and Communciations Association (BCCA).

At the National Centre, we met with many dedicated Baha'is. Whilst I was in the basement room having snacks with my children, many lovely people came by to say Hello. I was then invited to come visit the Baha'i Office of Pioneering upstairs. Here are met many wonderful people and we also able to share our travel teaching encounters with them. It was a highly encouraging visit all round and we know the children were also inspired. Thanks Charles for helping make this a truly special visit.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Faces of friendships and family in Singapore

Attended a lovely Baha'i Feast in June 2007 at the Singapore National Baha'i center and met so many lovely souls (some old friends, many new acquaintances). It was like coming home- after all it was only 1998 that myself, my husband and two children left to the United States. I still consider Singapore home so do still make it back as often as I can. This Feast was truly enjoyable as the Youth conducted the session and even had games to have us memorise the writings and build social skills.

Attended a devotional session and caught up with other friends too. It felt really good to be back.

What had really brought me to Singapore was my father's 80th birthday celebration (it went wonderfully- considering we organised in less than a week. We still had about 60 friends and family turn up. Some of them came on wheelchairs, many had limited walking abilities, some were just recovering from surgery, and most were mainly in their 70s and 80s. They all came to celebrate this date with my dad- THE TRUE SENSE OF LOYALTY, DUTY AND HONOUR. I was very touched by the committement he had to his friends and they to them. I HOPE THE WORLD NEVER LOOSES THIS SPECIAL TYPES OF FRIENDSHIP THAT HELD GENERATIONS GLUED TOGETHER ACROSS FAMILIES.

It was indeed a true attestation to the life of my father as many people said they would not have come but for the fact it was my father's event. He had done so much for them and they were all so grateful. I thus understand that much of these networks were largely driven by my father's sincerity and compassion for people, and I am proud to see his efforts benefitted others and that they wanted to personally express their thanks to him

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Baha'i Faith in "Earth in the Balance" by Al Gore

It was brought to my attention today, and I am really excited to hear this, that Al Gore has mentioned the Baha'i Faith in his new book, Earth in the Balance, pp. 261-262:

One of the newest of the great universalist religions, Baha'i, founded in 1863 in Persia by Mirza Husayn Ali (Baha'u'llah), warns us not only to properly regard the relationship between humankind and nature but also the one between civilization and the environment. Perhaps because its guiding visions were formed during the period of accelerating industrialism, Baha'i seems to dwell on the spiritual implications of the great transformation to which it bore fresh witness:

"We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life molds the environment and is itself deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions."

And, again, from the Baha'i sacred writings comes this:

"Civilization, so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men."