Bahai News -- Idaho Statesman - Baha'i planning worship center

Baha’i planning worship center

Religious group would build in Southwest Boise

About the faith
Boise Baha'i

Emily Simnitt
The Idaho Statesman

A small but growing religious group in Boise is hoping to replace an old farmhouse in one Southwest neighborhood with its first permanent worship center.

The Baha´i community, which numbers more than 70 in Ada County and more than 100 in the Treasure Valley, plans to take a proposal to the city in October to build a 100-seat center with 26 parking spaces at 1175 S. Maple Grove Road.

The group is taking the plan first to neighbors on Wednesday.

“We hope through the process to put people at ease,” said Richard Detweiler, a spokesman for and member of the group. “We look forward to working with the neighbors and being unified with the neighbors on this.”

The Baha´i faith is an independent religion in more than 200 countries that came out of Islam in Iran almost 160 years ago.

Its basic tenet is a belief in the unity of the human race and removal of cultural prejudices.

The faith has had followers in Boise since the 1930s and has slowly but steadily grown since.

Traditionally, the group has met in followers´ homes or in rented buildings.

Detweiler said the group decided it was time to build a permanent worship center and chose the site on Maple Grove for its convenience and affordability.

“We have 30 to 40 people who consistently want to come to our feasts,” Detweiler said. “That´s hard to accommodate in someone´s house.”

The proposed center would replace a nearly 100-year-old home that once was part of an 80-acre farm.

The farm was subdivided and in the ´70s a subdivision with large yards was built.

Pat Miller once lived in the house and raised her family there. She lives in a newer house behind it now.

“I hate to see it torn down,” Miller said.

“But I know things do have to move along. I just want to make sure people know what´s going to happen.”

Miller said if her neighbors don´t mind having a worship center, she won´t fight it.

Detweiler said he hopes that his group can work with neighbors to make sure everyone is satisfied with the project.

Once built, Detweiler said the group hopes the larger community will be able to use the center when the Baha´is aren´t.

The Baha´is will primarily use the center for their feasts, a spiritual and social celebration that happens every 19 days, and for Sunday classes for children.

The group also might use it for occasional study groups.

The group hopes to begin construction on the center next spring and be finished next summer.

“We´ve just gotten to the point where we need more space,” Detweiler said.

©Copyright 2003, Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID, USA)

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