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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.

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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‘Stories From the Dawn-Breakers’ by William Sears Is Available Again

I grew up listening to William Sears read some of the stories from The Dawn-Breakers for children and I am delighted that I can now share that same recording with my own kids. Zoe Meyer originally wrote Stories from the Dawn-Breakers and William Sears’ reading of it is warm, captivating and charming — which makes it a fantastic resource for children and junior youth.

Restored and remastered in honor of the upcoming bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, the the four disc set is now available for purchase.

If you’d like to read more about The Dawn-Breakers, we shared an article that introduces that priceless historical text here on Baha’i BlogContinue reading

Cloud9: The Rise of Vallis Alps as Told By Parissa Tosif

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 interviews Vallis Alps co-founder, Parissa Tosif from her home in Sydney, to learn about her long-distance musical collaboration with David Ansari, and how it has been aided by the Baha’i perspective on consultation. Within a few short years, Vallis Alps’ EP has been streamed almost half a billion times and the electronic pop duo has toured Australia and the world.  Continue reading

Louis Venters’s Book About the History of the Baha’i Faith in South Carolina

Louis Venters is a historian and historic preservationist with a particular interest in the histories of race, religion, and social change in the United States. He has just released a new book titled A History of the Baha’i Faith in South Carolina and it features some incredible photographs.

I first met Louis in West Africa when I was a junior youth — many more years ago than I’d care to admit! My family was pioneering in Benin and he was completing a year of service in Togo and Benin. I learned some valuable lessons from Louis about speaking truthfully, lovingly and at times courageously, about being a Baha’i. I feel really honoured that our paths have crossed again, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from his experiences once more. Here’s what he shared about his new book:

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

I was born and raised in South Carolina, and I became a Baha’i in the late 1980s when I was a junior youth. In fact I first heard about the Faith on Radio Baha’i WLGI, the station that broadcasts from the Louis G. Gregory Baha’i Institute, so in that sense I’m a product of the large-scale growth that made South Carolina such an important part of the American Baha’i community in the 1970s and 1980s. I teach African and African diaspora history, U.S. history, and public history at Francis Marion University, a small public institution in Florence, South Carolina. I also do some public history work, especially through Preservation South Carolina and the state’s African American Heritage Commission. One of the public history projects I’m proudest of is the Green Book of South Carolina, a new mobile travel guide to African American heritage sites across the state. When I’m not being a historian, more often than not it’s my wife and me trying to keep up with our two little boys and serve in our cluster. Otherwise, I’m either at the gym lifting weights or outside running or working in our garden.

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Hasten Baha’i Women – A New Resource-Rich Website

A new website appeared on the horizon a few months ago that caught my eye with its beautiful graphics and elevated purpose. Hasten Baha’i Women is full of resources: questions to ponder based on the Baha’i Writings, stories of Baha’i women both historical and contemporary, music, free printables, videos, recipes, and much more! Once you start exploring the site, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of elevated and helpful content!

Bre Vader and Jaleh Mostaghim are the sister-duo behind the site and I’m so grateful they agreed to tell us about it: Continue reading