Yesterday members of the Baha’i community were invited to join the congregation of St. James United Church in downtown Montreal for special Sunday service. It was nearly 100 years ago to the day that a 68 year old Persian spiritual leader spoke in the same church on the evolution of religion.
From 239 Days in America:
Perhaps it was unexpected that a voice calling for modern religion came from the East. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá argued that religious truth must change along with the evolving needs of society. Rather than deny the existence of a creator, or the benefits religion had given humanity, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke of the need for a reformation so that modern religion could meet the needs of an increasingly complex world. [Full post]
‘Abdu’l-Baha is a central figure of the Baha’i Faith who’s epic journey to North America is being celebrated by Baha’is across the continent this year.
Yesterday’s service closed with two original songs from my friends Eric and James Farr of the band Honeyman and the Brothers Farr with Jacque Proulx accompanying them on the violin. These wonderful videos were filmed by their friend Clara Haskell at the church before the event. Here is the other song they performed yesterday morning, it’s called “Children of His Journey”.
To follow the story of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s trip, I highly recommend checking out 239 Days. It’s a social media documentary that shares a fantastically well-written post every day that tells you roughly where ‘Abdu’l-Baha was at in his journey 100 years ago to the day. I’m subscribed to it by email to be notified as articles are posted.
It’s been great to follow this story every day — especially in the run up to these centenary events in Montreal that I got to attend. Coincidentally I am going to be moving from here in Eastern Canada to San Francisco this Sunday to begin graduate studies at around the same time ‘Abdu’l-Baha visited the same city 100 years ago on 3 October 1912. I feel like one of those devoted fans who follows their favorite band while they are on tour, only 100 years late.
Finally, here is a short clip of the response of the audience and of the Reverend Arlen John Bonnar to performance.