Baha'i News -- North Gwinnett receives needed approvals for Baha'i Center
North Gwinnett receives needed approvals for Baha'i Center
Duluth, GA - 4 June 2002 - The Baha'is recently reached another major
milestone in their quest to establish a permanent location to worship in
north Gwinnett County. By obtaining a special-use permit for their
property, the Baha'i community can now undertake minor modifications to the
existing building located on Little Mill Road near Buford in order to
occupy it while they prepare to develop the 5.6-acre property that they
purchased in 1999.
On the heels of a successful request for a special-use permit submitted to
the Gwinnett County Planning Commission a week earlier, the Baha'i
community in Gwinnett celebrated another success at the end of the public
hearing when SUP-02-044 was reviewed and unanimously approved with
conditions by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on 28 May.
Historically, Baha'is in Gwinnett met in members' homes weekly for Sunday
school and every nineteen days to celebrate their spiritual feast. Although
many homes in the county are considered spacious, it was challenging to
comfortably fit a group of 40 into the average living room. With the north
Gwinnett community's roles exceeding 150, it was rare when the group could
arrange for a location big enough to accommodate everyone.
"Gwinnett County has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and its
well known that its demographic make up is becoming increasingly diverse,"
said Al Viller of Duluth. "With the central theme of the Baha'i Faith being
the unity of humanity and tenets like universal education and equality of
women and men, the faith is poised for considerable growth in the coming
Coincidentally, the Gwinnett County Planning Commission hearing and the
Board of Commissioners' hearing were both held on the eves of Baha'i holy
days. The Planning Commission meeting occurred the day before Baha'is
celebrate the declaration of the Bab, who was the prophet-herald of the
Baha'i Faith. In 1844 the Bab, which means "gate" in Persian, declared his
mission, which was primarily to alert people to the coming of "The One Whom
God Will Make Manifest." In 1863, a Babi named Baha'u'llah, which means the
"Glory of God," announced that He was the promised new Messenger of God for
this age. He founded a new religion, which was to become known as the
Baha'i Faith. Members of the Baha'i Faith are followers of Baha'u'llah and
his teachings. The Gwinnett County Commissions' approval was received on
the evening before the Baha'is observe the anniversary of the death of
"The Baha'is in North Gwinnett have been working to have a place of worship
to call their own for over ten years," explained Andrea Perkins of Duluth
and spokesperson for the Baha'i community at both public meetings. "I could
feel the community's prayerful support as I approached the Planning
Commission to present our request."
"The Baha'i community has been very motivated," explained Wayne Jones of
Lawrenceville and Baha'i community treasurer. "Since Baha'is cannot accept
funds from external sources, it's remarkable that a relatively small
community raised sufficient funds to buy and completely pay for the
property in a little over two years."
Once the required modifications are completed, the Baha'is plan to occupy
the 3,000-square-foot home until they can finish their planned
9,000-square-foot multipurpose building across from the Little Mill Farms
Once complete, the center in Gwinnett will be the third Baha'i facility in
metro Atlanta, following the Atlanta Baha'i Center and the Baha'i Unity
Center near Decatur. Adding to the rapid growth, the Baha'is in northeast
Fulton County have recently purchased property for their community's use.
Baha'is number about 5 million worldwide. They believe that the core values
of all faiths emanate from one God, making each one a strand of the same
religion. They revere Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, and
Muhammad as divine messengers of a single God.
The Baha'is of north Gwinnett come together and celebrate their diversity
from a variety of religious backgrounds and are representative of a number
of ethnic backgrounds, including white, African-American, Hispanic, as well
as Brazilian, Egyptian, Iranian and Turkish.
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r’s Note: Photo available upon request. References to the Baha'i Faith should appear in printed publication with both the
words Baha'i and Faith beginning with initial capital letters (i.e., the Baha'i Faith). For more information about the
Baha’i Faith, visit www.atlantabahai.org and click on NEWS CENTER.
One of the central tenets of the Baha'i Faith is fostering the unity of humanity and working to eliminate prejudice of all
kinds. The Baha'i religion, with over 5 million believers worldwide, has a membership of approximately 133,000 in the United
States and approximately 2000 in Metro Atlanta. Baha’i writings and literature have been translated into more than 800
languages. Followers of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith, come from diverse backgrounds and include
representatives of over 2,100 tribes and minorities.
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