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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.

The Ridvan Message 2019 (176 BE)

The Universal House of Justice has just addressed the Baha’is of the world with the latest Ridvan message.

Each year during the Festival of Ridvan, the Universal House of Justice addresses a letter to the worldwide Baha’i community, known as the Ridvan message. These letters touch on many subjects, including the growth and vibrancy of the Baha’i community, its efforts to contribute to the life of society, and the progress of specific projects and plans. Continue reading

Tablet of the Wondrous Maiden – A New Music Video by Luke Slott

Luke Slott has released a music video and song based on Baha’u’llah’s Hur-i-Ujab, or the Tablet of the Wondrous Maiden, a tablet which describes the Wondrous Maiden, the personification of the Holy Spirit as experienced by Baha’u’llah, just as how in other religious dispensations, the Holy Spirit has been personified as a Sacred Fire, a Burning Bush, a Dove, and the Angel Gabriel, to name a few. Continue reading

Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors – A New Book by Lisa Blecker

Lisa Blecker is a bit of a celebrity in our household. My three young children have, at various times, all held our board book copy of Blessed is the Spot during prayers and we have read, and sung, The Good in Me from A to Z by Dottie as a family and in our children’s class more times than I can count! When I saw that Lisa had put out a new book called Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors, I knew it was going to be a hit with our family — and I wasn’t disappointed! It is cheerful, vibrant, sweet, fun and a book the kids ask for over and over and over again!

Because of how much her books have meant to us, I was a little star struck when I approached Lisa to find out more about her book and when I told my six year old that Lisa and I were in touch, she was floored! It was a pleasure to find out more about the book and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did: Continue reading

Cloud9: Building Papua New Guinea’s First Baha’i House of Worship

Cloud9 is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings. Its aim is to feature interviews with artists and discuss what inspires them to make a positive contribution to the world.

In this episode, Baha’i Teachings’ arts editor Shadi Toloui-Wallace speaks with architects Henry Lape and Saeed Granfar, who are leading the developments of Papua New Guinea’s first National Baha’i House of Worship. She interviewed them from their office in the country’s capital, Port Moresby, to learn about the location of the temple site, the history and current reality of the Baha’i community, their collaborative design process, new design innovations they’re exploring, the inspiration behind their “woven” structure, the challenges they encountered, their personal reflections, and what this new Baha’i House of Worship will mean for the people of Papua New Guinea. Continue reading

Baha’i Choral Composition Blast

We live in amazing times; I’ve become friends and have been able to collaborate with some fantastic people online. Alan and Lorraine Manifold are one such example. It’s been a pleasure to work together with them. For example, Naysan interviewed Alan about his mystery novel (that features a Baha’i detective!) titled Consulting Detective and they wrote an article called “It’s OK to Be a Feminist” that involved some insightful consultations about the equality of women and men and how we write about this weighty teaching on a personal Baha’i-inspired blog — there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes here at Baha’i Blog and if you’re ever curious about the principles and ideas that guide our work, check out our Editorial Values.

I recently learned about the “Baha’i Composition Blast”, a new brainchild of Alan and Lorraine in honor of the upcoming Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, and it was fascinating to hear about it. Here’s what they shared with us:  Continue reading

A Seed in Your Heart: A New Book About Louise Mathew Gregory

A Seed in Your Heart is a new biography of the life of Louise Mathew Gregory. You may have heard of her before: she married Louis Gregory at Abdu’l-Baha’s suggestion, resulting in the first inter-racial Baha’i marriage of its kind. Janet Fleming Rose is its author and I was very interested to hear more about her book, and to learn a little about Louise Gregory and her stellar accomplishments and services to the Baha’i Faith. Here’s my conversation with Janet. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did!

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Surrey in the south of England, but have lived in various parts of the world: Scotland, Fiji, Maldives, Spain and more recently Israel where I had the privilege of serving for six years at the Baha’i World Centre as Acquisitions Librarian.

I’ve always had a love of books and the ambition to have a book published. I studied modern languages at the University of Edinburgh and trained as a professional librarian. My hobbies and interests include travelling the world, a love of history, a passion for wild flowers, birding, rambling, learning other languages, an interest in other cultures and singing along to Classic FM radio.

For the last 12 years I’ve lived with my husband, Andrew, in St Albans, an ancient Roman city and burial place of the first English Christian martyr, St Alban.

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6 Photos of the Bab’s Personal Belongings

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, so Baha’is around the world will undoubtedly be celebrating this special occasion, and we are always grateful when the Baha’i World Centre releases media that can potentially be used for this special time.

From these new photographs now on the Baha’i Media Bank, we thought we’d showcase six photos of personal objects that belonged to the Bab.  Continue reading

Roya Mottahedeh’s Circle Baha’i Calendar Design for 176 BE (2019-2020)

A friend recently brought to my attention the beauty of the Baha’i calendar, or the Badi calendar. A few days later I found myself talking about the calendar to someone else who asked me what day and month it was and I’m sorry to admit, I was really caught off-guard. I’ve been teaching my children Jack Lenz’ “Song of the Months” but other than that, we haven’t sufficiently integrated the Baha’i months and days of the week into our lives: Monday to Friday is significant to our family, but we have yet to see the work and school week in terms of Kamal to Istiqlal.
I was excited to see that Roya Mottahedeh has produced another circle Baha’i calendar in honor of this new year, 176 BE. This is her third year designing a stunning circular calendar and I wanted to learn more about the process behind making this calendar and how she approached it. Here’s what Roya shared with me:

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9 Works of Baha’i Writings & Letters Released in 175 BE (2018-2019)

As a new Baha’i year begins, I am profoundly grateful to the Universal House of Justice for releasing a wealth of newly translated and compiled Writings for us to study, as well as writing several letters to the Baha’is of the World, over the last year. Here is a short list of what has been made publicly and freely available to us in English including Tablets, prayers, compilations, and letters: Continue reading