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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.

Song of Celebration – Virtual Soul Choir

The Baha’is of Ballarat have commissioned a special virtual musical project. This song puts these words of Baha’u’llah to a stirring choral melody: “Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face…Be an ornament to the countenance of truth…a breath of life to the body of mankind.” This melody was originally composed for the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah but was produced as a virtual choral project to celebrate the centenary of the Baha’i Faith in Australia.  Continue reading

I Love My Name: A Children’s Book about the Life of Tahirih

Author Linda Ahdieh Grant and illustrator Anna Myers have teamed up to create a moving children’s story about courage and the life of Tahirih. Titled I Love My Name and published by Bellwood Press, this book is aimed at elementary school aged children. I was able to hear from both Linda and Anna about their work, this book, and how they hope it will inspire its readers. Here’s a look at our conversation:

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

I Love My Name is the story of an 8 year old girl who one day at school discovers a previously unknown source of courage. This girl’s name is Tahirih and she loves her name very much. One day, she overhears her friends making fun of her name. This saddens her and she turns to her teacher. The teacher, instead of using his own words to cheer her up, shares the story of the heroine after whom she was named.
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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