Bahá’í Community Elects National Assembly

April 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

Serving the Bahá’í community for the coming year, Bermuda’s newly elected National Spiritual Assembly members are Georgia Symonds, Cheryl Peek-Ball, Bavand Etemadi, Oswald Hinds, Blythe Walker, Tanisha Edwards, Read Currelly, Anthony Ball, and Shyama Ezekiel-Fagundo.

A spokesperson said, “In Bermuda, as in over 170 countries across the globe, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Bermuda was elected on April 27th.

“Once again, pandemic restrictions necessitated an electronic online voting process. As always, votes were cast privately, without nomination or electioneering, following prayerful reflection by 19 democratically elected delegates, members of the adult Bahá’í community on the island.

“Serving the Bahá’í community for the coming year, until Riḍván 2022, Bermuda’s newly elected National Spiritual Assembly members are Georgia Symonds, Cheryl Peek-Ball, Bavand Etemadi, Oswald Hinds, Blythe Walker, Tanisha Edwards, Read Currelly, Anthony Ball, and Shyama Ezekiel-Fagundo.

“The Bahá’í Faith began, appropriately enough, in a colorful garden called the Garden of Riḍván, which means paradise [and is pronounced rez-vahn]. This rose-scented, birdsong-filled garden situated on an island in the Tigris River near Baghdad witnessed the birth of the world’s newest independent religion on April 21st, 1863.

“At this time every year, Bahá’ís worldwide celebrate the occasion and begin a new administrative year by electing local and national governing bodies.

Entrance the Garden of Riḍván, Baghdad:

Entrance the Garden of Riḍván, Baghdad April 2021

“Bahá’u’lláh’s momentous declaration inaugurating the Bahá’í Faith took place over a twelve-day period in this garden before his banishment to Constantinople [now Istanbul], the capitol of the Ottoman Empire.

“During that fateful springtime, Bahá’u’lláh’s symbolic sojourn in the verdant Riḍván garden ensued after weeks of tragically sorrowful times for his friends, followers and family.

“But in the midst of all that fear and sadness, Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed the mission of his new faith, that profound announcement transformed the occasion of his banishment from tragedy to triumph.

“In recognition of Bahá’u’lláh’s ‘all things made new’ message, the Riḍván period also serves as the time when Bahá’ís around the world elect the democratic institutions that administer their faith.

“Bahá’ís have no clergy, so Bahá’í communities govern themselves via democratically elected bodies of nine individuals called Assemblies. During this period in Bermuda and around the world, Bahá’ís gather to elect Local Spiritual Assemblies in every locality or parish.

“This year, the Bermuda Bahá’í community elected four Local Spiritual Assemblies in Pembroke, Paget, Hamilton Parish and Smith’s Parish. As with the election of the National Assembly, adult community members voted online.

“In addition to the annual Local and National Spiritual Assembly elections, every five years Bahá’ís elect the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body, during this same period.

“As Bahá’ís gather to pray and privately cast their ballots for the institutions that will help inspire and guide them through the year, they affirm their faith’s teachings on the oneness of humanity, symbolically renew their covenant with Bahá’u’lláh, and redeem that momentous declaration in the Garden of Riḍván, affirming the structure of a living, unified global community established in Bahá’u’lláh’s name.

“Despite vehement opposition in some regions, Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings have spread across the globe, arriving in Bermuda in 1948. The teachings offer progressive principles and guidance for the world’s seemingly intractable challenges while reaffirming the spiritual verities outlined by prior messengers of God.

“More information is available on bermudabahai.org.”

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