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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

Visiting Abdu’l-Baha: A New Two Volume Series by Earl Redman

Earl Redman is a master storytelling and his books captivate my imagination. He’s the author of Abdu’l-Baha in Their Midst, Shoghi Effendi Through the Pilgrim’s Eye (Volumes I and II), and The Knights of Baha’u’llah. George Ronald recently released a new book, called Visiting Abdu’l-Baha, that makes up the first volume in a two volume series. The books feature stories illustrating how Abdu’l-Baha taught the principles of the Baha’i Faith to others and how He embodied those principles in His interactions. I was eager to catch up with Earl and here’s our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: It’s wonderful to hear from you again, Earl! What have you been up to since we last interviewed you?

Since 2014, my wife Sharon and I have been traveling extensively from Tasmania, through the Pacific, the US, Canada and Alaska, to Iceland, Europe, Tunisia and Israel sharing stories from the two volumes of Visiting Abdu’l-Baha, mostly in small communities who do not get many visitors. And it has been amazing to see the reactions of both Baha’is and their friends to these stories.

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The Miniature Clay Baha’i Gardens of Sama Shodjai

I may never understand why tiny things inspire such awe (remember this tiny prayer book and this tiny introduction to the Baha’i Faith?) but when first I saw Sama’s work I was delighted! Below is a small gallery of Sama’s intricately detailed miniature Baha’i gardens (the locations of the gardens represented are in the captions) and a few of her words on what inspires her and how she creates them.  Continue reading

The Exalted One: A Bicentenary Album by Elika Mahony

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Elika Mahony has released an album in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab and it’s befittingly titled The Exalted One. The 11 songs on the album set the prayers and Writings of the Bab to music with piano, cello, guitar, tiple, cuatro (South American instruments) and soaring voice.

I am eager and excited to share my conversation with Elika with you for two reasons: for one, it’s wonderful to shine a light on creative endeavors in these months leading up to the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab but also because Elika is donating the sales of The Exalted One from May 23rd to July 10th to the construction of the Shrine of Abdu’l-Baha! Here is some more information about the album and how it came together: Continue reading

Baha’i World Publication Is Now Online

Perhaps you have seen volumes of The Baha’i World line a bookshelf in a Baha’i home. They are serious and dignified tomes, rich in information about the growth of the Faith, tributes to prominent teachers and promoters of the Cause, and thoughtful commentary. They were first published under the care and supervision of Shoghi Effendi, in the early years of his ministry, and they continued to be published until 2006.

Now The Baha’i World is an online publication. While other websites currently feature sections and the type of information found in older printed volumes, the online platform of The Baha’i World elegantly showcases in-depth articles and thoughtful essays. The site launches with articles that explore various themes such as technologypeacerural development and agriculturethe emergence of Baha’i Houses of Worship, and humanitarian reliefContinue reading

8 Photos of the House of the Bab

In a recent Baha’i World News Service article, we learned that 43 images associated with the life and mission of the Bab have been published online for the first time on the Baha’i Media Bank. This also includes aerial footage of the Shrine of the Bab that we turned into this short video.

The Bab, which means ‘the Gate’ in Arabic, was a Messenger of God, whose role can be likened to that of John the Baptist (who told of the coming of Christ) in heralding the coming of the latest Manifestation of God: Baha’u’llah.

This year marks the bicentennial of the Birth of the Bab and we are always grateful when the Baha’i World Centre releases media that can potentially be used at celebrations (we definitely recommend reading over their legal page so you have a clear understanding of how the images can be freely used).

From the collection of photographs now on the Baha’i Media Bank, we thought we’d showcase eight photos of the House of the Bab in Shiraz, which was designated by Baha’u’llah as a place of pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the House was destroyed in 1979 as part of ongoing persecution against the Baha’is, making these photos priceless.  Continue reading

My Beloved: A Prayer by the Bab Sung by Elika Mahony

“My Beloved” is a track from Elika Mahony’s album created in honour of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Bab. The album is titled The Exalted One and it features 11 songs based on prayers and Writings of the Bab with piano, cello, guitar, tiple, cuatro (South American instruments) and voice. “My Beloved” puts the prayer “O God, my God, my Beloved, my heart’s Desire” to music and it is sung in six different languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Chinese, Italian and French. Continue reading

BWNS: In This Bicentenary Year, Remembering the Birth of a New Faith

This podcast episode produced by the Baha’i World News Service explores how the heroism and sacrifice set in motion by the Bab’s Declaration relates to the world today: “Though separated from our own time by two centuries, the society in which the Bab appeared resembles the present day world for the sense of oppression and for the longing of so many to find answers to slake the soul’s thirst to know,” the Universal House of Justice wrote in its Ridvan 2018 message.

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