Centenary events set for Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:25AM
The Baha’i House of Worship that rises spectacularly above Wilmette’s Sheridan Road has long been a famous architectural landmark, renowned for its breathtaking dome and the beauty of its landscaped gardens.
Now members of the Baha’i community are inviting the general public to join them in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the building at 100 Linden Ave., popularly known as the Baha’i temple.
While hundreds of Baha’is from across the nation and the world are attending the centenary event, spokeswoman Ellen Price said Tuesday, “we want to share this with everyone.”
The three-day commemoration also honors the 100th anniversary of the visit to America of Abdu’l-Baha, the son of the Baha’i faith’s founder Baha’u’llah, and the man who actually laid the cornerstone in 1912.
Events in Chicago and Wilmette mark the first of similar celebrations across the nation honoring Abdu’l-Baha’s visit in cities he saw during his tour, said Price, who chaired the national task force that has organized the celebration.
Community members have worked on centenary preparations for about a year and a half. The Wilmette House of Worship is one of only seven such in the world, and is the official Baha’i place of worship for North America, “so this is where everything starts,” she said.
Celebrations kick off April 28 with an evening of music and entertainment at the Chicago Theatre, 175 North State St. in Chicago. The evening will include performances by artists and musicians, including five-time Grammy nominee Tierney Sutton, as well as several brief addresses about the unique history of the founding of the House of Worship.
They continue in Wilmette April 29 at the House of Worship, when the public can join community members at one of three devotional programs, scheduled for 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Organizers had originally planned two programs for April 29, but interest proved so high that they decided recently to add a third one, she said.
The hour-long programs will feature music and devotional readings. Because the Baha’i faith does not have clergy, and because the main auditorium in the house of worship is not used for religious ceremonies, the programs will not include sermons or introductions, Price said.
“This is a place for quiet thoughts and solace, where people can connect with God or their higher power, and we would love to see more Wilmette residents and members of the public make use of it for that purpose.”
Following the devotional programs visitors can view a special exhibit in the House of Worship’s Foundation Hall, showcasing items related to the construction of the temple, which ultimately took several decades to complete. A tent will also be set up outside for refreshments and socializing, and a special off-site bookstore will be open at the Baha’i Home, at 401 Greenleaf Ave.
All events are free, but concert and program goers must register for tickets, Price said. There are still some tickets available for the April 28 Chicago Theater evening, and for the first and third of the April 29 programs at the House of Worship, she said.
For program details, and to register for tickets, visit http://centenary.bahai.us/commemoration, or call 847-733-3552.