Bahai News - BAHA'I SHRINE, GARDENS OPENING IN ISRAEL WILL BE CELEBRATED HERE
BAHA'I SHRINE, GARDENS OPENING IN ISRAEL WILL BE CELEBRATED
* Members of the St. Charles and St. Charles County Baha'is plan a program
Wednesday at the library.
Picture it if you can - 19 terraces climbing upward from a bustling city
street to a mountain summit. A golden-domed shrine sits at the halfway point.
The main path is bordered with landscaped gardens planted with trees and
wildflowers indigenous to the area. The gardens are adorned with ornate iron
gates, elegant planters and fountains. The natural elements of light and
water form the main decoration. Mirror-like surfaces reflect the rays of the
sun in myriad shades of color. At the top the sounds of flowing water and
singing birds silence honking horns and screaming sirens from below.
The place is the Baha'i Shrine and Gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.
The 19 terraced gardens took 10 years to build. Members of the Baha'is faith,
including 65 in St. Charles County, are proud that the funding of the gardens
came strictly from the pockets of Baha'i members.
The Baha'i Shrine and Gardens on Mount Carmel will be opened formally on
Wednesday, Middle Eastern time. The occasion will be televised and broadcast
worldwide via satellite. Members of the St. Charles and St. Charles County
Baha'is will celebrate the opening with a program at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at
the Kathryn Linnemann Library at Elm Street and South Duchesne Drive in St.
Charles. The program will include readings, music and talks by those who
have visited the shrine and gardens in Haifa.
The Baha'i religion is an independent faith. Its followers believe in one
God, one human race and that all of the world's religions have been stages
in the revelation of God's purpose for humankind. Baha'is follow the
teachings of Bahu'u'llah, (1817-1892). He is regarded by Baha'is as the
most recent in the line of messengers of God that stretch back beyond
recorded time. Others include Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, Krishna and Jesus
Christ. Like the followers of other major religions, Baha'is come from every
nation, ethnic group and culture. Cate Vance of St. Peters is a member of
the Baha'i faith. Cate and Ding Vance's 22-year-old daughter Jennifer Vance
works in the office of the treasurer at the World Center of the Baha'i Faith
on Mount Carmel. According to Vance, all Baha'i youth are encouraged to
serve the faith in a volunteer capacity for at least a year.
The Vances visited Jennifer in Haifa last August. Cate brought back a
colorful booklet that pictured the gardens. It named the architect as
Fariburz Sahba, whose design of the Baha'i House of Worship in India (known
as the Lotus Temple) has won international acclaim.
Haifa is the capital of the North of Israel. The mountain city by the sea is
situated on a broad natural harbor with a wide strip of sandy beaches along
the waterfront. Vance explained that the base of Mount Carmel starts at Ben
Gurion Street. The street runs directly from the entrance of the terraces to
the sea. The city of Haifa moved and lowered the street, according to Vance,
so that it would line up with the terraces.
"They recognize that this is not only a spiritual center but a wonderful
tourist attraction," she said. Vance described the mountain terraces as
rocky, steep and aesthetically perfect. "Each terrace has a set of
fountains, benches and gardens and although each has similarities they are
all different," she said. "The stonework is so impressive that
you can stand in front of it for long periods of time and not see it. Water
cascades down the side of each set of stairs and recycles back up."
Vance described her feelings as she stood on the 18th terrace. "There
is no noise but for the singing of birds. The fragrance of the flowers and
the incredible view of the Mediterranean is indescribably relaxing,"
The Baha'i World Center administrative complex is constructed in a
neoclassical style in a semicircular arc on Mount Carmel. It includes a
Universal House of Justice, archives and a library and educational center.
Attendance at the ceremony on Wednesday in Haifa is by invitation only,
Vance explained. Jennifer Vance will mingle with guests from around the
world. "She will experience a moment in history that will never be
repeated, " Vance said. "This is our spiritual gift to the world
and a way for people to realize that we are all one."
What: Formal opening of the Baha'i Shrine and Gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.
When: Wednesday in Haifa.
Who: Built by the Baha'is - followers of the teachings of Baha'u'llah (1817-1892).
Local event: The Baha'is of St. Charles County will have a program to commemorate the completion of the Shrine and Gardens.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Kathryn Linnemann Library, Elm Street and South Duchesne Drive, St. Charles.
Note: Jennifer Vance will speak at 7:30 p.m. June 7 at a meeting of the St.
Charles County Women's Interfaith Alliance at Grace United Church of Christ,
8326 Mexico Road, St. Peters.
©Copyright 2001, The St. Charles County Post
Page last updated/revised 052801
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page