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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. 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.

New Statement from Baha’i International Community Marks 75th Anniversary of the United Nations

The Baha’i International Community (BIC) has just released a new statement called A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order.

The statement was written for the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, and it highlights the need for systems of global cooperation to be strengthened if humanity is to address the serious challenges of our time.

You can read and download the statement in full here: A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order

A Baha’i World News Service (BWNS) article shared the following about the BIC’s statement:

Coming at a time when the global health crisis has prompted a deeper appreciation of humanity’s interdependence, this anniversary year has given rise to discussion about the role of international structures and reforms that can be made to the UN.

The statement is one of several contributions the BIC is making to these discussions.

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Seeking Layli: The Art & Hand Lettering of Rosalind Ta’eed

I have a particular soft spot for hand lettering, particularly when it is used to adorn and beauty excerpts from the Baha’i Writings. Rosalind Ta’eed, known to her friends as Rozzi, creates cheerful, bright and joyful works of art. I was delighted to hear from her about her craft and what’s she’s been working on. Below is a small gallery of her work, as well as some words she shared with us. Continue reading

The Three Protagonists of Social Change: The Individual, Institutions and the Community

Conversations about community building among Baha’is often involve mentioning the “three protagonists”, and so I thought it might be helpful to reflect on what a protagonist is, who the three protagonists are, and some thoughts about the relationships between them. The more I learn about this topic, the more I realize how little I understand and how revolutionary the whole concept is. I hope you find this helpful and will offer your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below. Continue reading

Illuminations – A Book of Poetry by June Perkins

In The Dawn-Breakers, the Bab quotes a well-known Islamic tradition that states, “Treasures lie hidden beneath the throne of God; the key to those treasures is the tongue of poets.” June Perkins’ book of poems, Illuminations, written in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, seems to meet that description.

Illuminations contains 19 poems, one story, and is accompanied by the art of Ruha and Minaira Fifita. Some of the poems harken back to the days of The Dawn-Breakers and others are timeless in their setting but as a collection, June has deftly sewn them all together: each poem is a jewel, the collection is a well-arranged piece of jewelry.

June tells us all about her book in this interview and we hope you enjoy our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a poet?

Poetry has been a lifelong friend, through thick and thin, from my youngest brother’s acquired head injury to living through Cyclone Yasi and its aftermath and encountering the trials and joys of life.

I think of poets as canaries flying into the darkness of human experience to emerge with balls of light. Poetry, as well as being a way to make meaning of experiences, is a powerful way to pay tribute to all we might be grateful in our lives, from people to places, to a sense of the Divine, or a Great Spirit, we may call God. Continue reading

Eagles in the Dust: Alcohol and Other Chemical Pastimes – A Book by Robert Cacchioni

I live in a culture very much steeped in alcohol where my choice to not drink or do drugs isn’t the norm and invites a lot of questions. We have a two articles on Baha’i Blog that talk about alcohol (this article explores a social perspective behind why Baha’is don’t drink, and this article explores a health perspective). George Ronald has published a new book that covers this topic more broadly and in more depth: it’s called Eagles in the Dust: Alcohol and Other Chemical Pastimes and it’s by Robert (Rob) Cacchioni. In this interview he tells us a little about his book:

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

I encountered the Baha’i Faith 20 years ago. As a student of comparative religion, I found its claims bold and intriguing – though questionable. After in-depth study and much debate, I was honored to join the Baha’i community in carrying out Baha’u’llah’s Vision for humanity.

Since embracing Baha’u’llah’s Claim, I’ve striven to understand His Faith and aid others to do likewise. For nearly two decades, I’ve held Baha’i study classes (also known as “deepenings”) and currently run a YouTube channel: Bridging Beliefs. There and in writing projects, I share my personal understandings of Baha’u’llah’s Vision, attempt to resolve purported divides separating the world religions, examine atheist and secular thought and to show the (at times) hidden brilliance of Baha’u’llah’s Teachings.

I currently live in Vancouver, Canada with my wife Jenny and two children, Eli and Layli. I am a lover of learning and the arts – martial and musical. My life’s goal is to (one day) become worthy of the title: Baha’i. Continue reading

Saichiro Fujita: One of the Earliest Japanese Baha’is

Saichiro Fujita (April 15, 1886 - May 7, 1976), one of the earliest Japanese Baha’is. Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.

Saichiro Fujita, known to the worldwide Baha’i community simply as “Fujita,” became the second Japanese Baha’i in 1905 in California.

Fujita first saw Abdu’l-Baha in Chicago when he climbed a lamp post in order to see over the crowd that had gathered to meet Him. When Abdu’l-Baha saw Fujita He said, “Come down Zachias, for this day I would sup with thee.” Abdu’l-Baha was referring and repeating the Biblical story of a short man named Zachias, who climbed a sycamore tree in order to get a better view of Christ. Together, Abdu’l-Baha and Fujita drove off to home of Corinne True, an early American Baha’i. After resting, Abdu’l-Baha met with Fujita and stated:

 

So, how is our Japanese Effendi? Recently the government of Japan has undergone a change. A new emperor has come to the throne. The sovereignty of the former Mikado has come to an end… But as you are a believer in God, you have a kingdom which will never collapse and will be everlasting.

Fujita came from a prominent Japanese family and had heard of the Baha’i Faith from Mrs. Helen Goodall in San Francisco several years prior to his personal meeting with Abdu’l-Baha. Once a notorious party-hopper, Fujita became a Baha’i and received a tablet of praise from Abdu’l-Baha. Not believing it to be about himself, Fujita dismissed it. After received two more tablets from Abdu’l-Baha, Fujita began to realize he truly was the recipient of Abdu’l-Baha’s warm words and he asked what he could do to better serve the Faith. When they met, Abdu’l-Baha asked him to finish his engineering education in order to be able to work for Him in Haifa. For seven years, Fujita lived with the Trues and finished his schooling. He then travelled to Haifa where he lived, with the exception of a few years in Japan during World War II, until he passed away in 1976 at the age of 90, and is buried in the Baha’i Cemetery at the foot of Mount Carmel.

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