Members of the Maidenhead’s faith communities – together with others with no religious affiliation – this week completed a series of four discussion evenings on religion and peace.

Participants have aged from 17 to 75 years – and included agnostics as well as members of Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Quaker and Bahá’í communities.

Study group participants – week 2


Organised by the Bahá’í community of Maidenhead, the evenings were hosted by St Mark’s Crescent Methodist Church.

Participants studied together and reflected upon a letter to the world’s religious leaders from the international governing body of the worldwide Bahá’í community. The letter, published in 2002, analyses the roots of religious prejudice and conflict, and sets out principles to enable organised religion to play its part in building a peaceful, just and prosperous world for all.

There is more on the letter and its impact here. The full text of the letter is available to download here .

The Bahá’í Community of Maidenhead warmly invites you to three discussion evenings next month on the topic:

One God, One Religion – World Peace. Discuss.

Religion has an extraordinary capacity to motivate human behaviour. It is capable of profoundly influencing the structure of social relationships. But it is a capacity which can be harnessed for good or ill. How can we ensure that religion is a force for peace in today’s complex world?

We invite you to join us in reading together and reflecting upon an open letter to the world’s religious leaders from the governing council of the worldwide Bahá’í community on the challenge of religious unity.

13 January             Part 1:  The barriers to religious unity

20 January             Part 2:  The historic challenge facing faith communities

27 January             Part 3:  Religion and the healing of humanity

St Mark’s Crescent Methodist Church Hall, Maidenhead | 7:30pm – 9:15pm

By kind permission of the St Mark’s Crescent Methodist Church

These events are open to people of all faiths and none. Do please come and join us. Further details can be found here.

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Representatives of the Bahá’í community of the Royal Borough had the pleasure of meeting with the Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, Councillor Richard Kellaway, and the Mayoress, Mrs Mary-Lou Kellaway, at a reception yesterday evening.

They were delighted to be able to present the Mayor and Mayoress with an inscribed copy of the book The Bahá’í Faith in Words and Images on behalf of the local Bahá’í community.

The Baha'i Faith In Words and imagesMaidenhead Bahá’ís are joining with other Berkshire Bahá’í communities in offering to donate copies of an exciting new book on the Bahá’í Faith to local schools.

Beautifully illustrated by acclaimed photographer Paul Slaughter, The Bahá’í Faith in Words and Images provides a fresh and unique introduction to the worldwide Bahá’í community.

The book is being offered to schools because while its design is outstanding, its co-authors are both senior academics and former editors of The Bahá’í Studies Review. So it is comprehensive and scholarly but always with an engaging and contemporary feel. And the authors do not duck the questions that many of those investigating the Faith might ask: ‘What are the qualifications for Bahá’í membership?’; ‘Can the Faith avoid major division?’; ‘How will Bahá’í organization evolve?’; ‘What will be the Bahá’í Faith’s relationship with other religions?’.

The Bahá’í Faith forms part of the Agreed RE Syllabus for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (and many other LEA areas in Berkshire and nationally).  The Bahá’í Faith  is also represented on the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education in the Royal Borough (and many other SACREs nationally).

The Maidenhead Bahá’í community is reaching out to local schools with this offer to donate.  If for some reason we’ve missed your school, do please make contact via email: bahais.maidenhead@gmail.com.

The Baha’i Faith in Words and Images

By John Danesh and Seena Fazel | Photographs by Paul Slaughter | 158pp, OneWorld Publications, 2012 | Hardcover £20 Paperback £10

Bride and GroomHistory was made last month when two members of the Maidenhead Bahá’í Community – Mr Sasan Padidar and Miss Sasha Starr – became the first Bahá’ís in the 21st century to be married locally.

Their wedding took place at the Monkey Island Hotel in Bray.  The civil marriage ceremony was followed immediately by the Bahá’í wedding ceremony, which was hosted by Counsellor Dr Shirin Fozdar-Foroudi, who had been Sasha’s moral class teacher in Dubai more than a decade earlier.

The wedding guests had travelled from as far afield as The Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Swaziland and the USA.  The Bahá’í programme reflected this global nature of the gathering, with prayers and passages from the Bahá’í Scriptures read and chanted in six languages.

The Bahá’í teachings stress the importance of marriage and the family as the bedrock of the whole structure of human society, and are designed to protect and strengthen it as a divine institution.  The law of marriage is, in the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “a fortress for well-being and salvation”.

The Bahá’í marriage ceremony is, in essence, very simple.  It comprises an exchange of vows between the bride and groom, in the presence of two appointed witnesses, and after the consent of all living parents has been obtained.  Most often it is enriched by a devotional programme of prayers and readings before the exchange of the vows.

Bahá’ís are free to marry outside of their faith.  Bahá’í marriage, in itself, imposes no obligations on a partner who is not a Bahá’í.  The right of a non-Bahá’í spouse to follow their own conscience is fully recognised.

Mr and Mrs Starr-Padidar honeymooned in Germany.  They will live initially in Maidenhead before, alas, leaving us – to settle in Reading.

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our new website and blog!

We have moved to this new WordPress site so that we can much more easily publish our news and events – and so that you can keep in touch with us more easily through an email subscription or through our RSS feeds.

We hope to add much more to this site over the coming months. Your comments and feedback are always welcome.

PS our old website will no longer be updated, and will close permanently in October 2010.