Big Turnout for Regional Baha’i Conferences

November 11, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Bahá’í World News Service

More than a thousand Baha’is from nearly a dozen countries came together for a regional conference that turned out to be the largest Baha’i gathering ever held in South Africa.

A simultaneous conference this past weekend in Nakuru, Kenya, also drew more than a thousand participants.

After only the second weekend of a four-month series of 41 conferences to be held around the world, organizers are finding that interest in the gatherings is so high that they are having to regroup and adjust plans to accommodate larger numbers of people.

In Johannesburg, planners originally estimated that about 500 people would come, according to a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of South Africa. They revised expectations to 800, but when more than 1,000 people appeared, preparations fell short.

“We have run out of everything – except spirit and commitment,” one of the organizers reported within hours of the start of the conference.

The convening of 41 two-day conferences was announced on 20 October in a letter to the Baha’is of the world from the Universal House of Justice, the elected body that is the head of the Baha’i Faith.

The purpose of the gatherings, the letter said, is for Baha’is to celebrate recent achievements in grassroots community-building and to plan their next steps in organizing core activities in their home areas.