Op-Ed: "Baha’i Pilgrimage Opens Our Eyes to Global Community"

August 14, 2008

Author: Jack and Barbara Cook

Source: The Peninsula Gateway


As the world comes together this year for the International Olympics event, we wish to share our experience from 2007, of the world coming together for an amazing international spiritual event at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel.

We were among the 400 pilgrims from all parts of the planet gathered together for nine intensive days on God’s Holy Mountain, Mt. Carmel, overlooking the Bay of Haifa, together for prayer, consultation and education.

Every 14 days, a new group of 400 Baha’i pilgrims arrive in Haifa, hosted by the nine members of the Baha’i Universal House of Justice (an administrative body that is democratically elected by and from the general membership of believers every five years). Also hosting were some 200 volunteers who serve in many capacities.

During these nine days, we had the unique opportunity to talk with Baha’is from Denmark, South Africa, Turkey, China, Brazil, Iran, England, Canada, Malaysia, Gambia, Australia, Russia, Samoa, India, Japan, New Zealand and from areas all across the United States. The Baha’i Faith is now the second most widespread religion in the world, second only to Christianity.

Baha’i pilgrims are not only geographically diverse, they also come from many religious backgrounds: Hindu, Jewish, Native American, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Canadian First People, Muslim and a large cross-section of Christian denominations.

Our backgrounds are Protestant and Catholic; we have been Baha’is for 46 years and are now members of the Gig Harbor Baha’i Community.

Included in our pilgrimage were tours of the Baha’i Holy Places — shrines, residences, gardens, monuments, administrative buildings, archives, a future temple site and the prison city of Akka, believed to be 5,000 years old.