Mercer Island Bahá’ís gather in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Báb

About 32 Bahá’ís gathered at the Mercer Island Library.

On Oct. 28 about 30 Mercer Island Bahá’ís gathered at the Mercer Island Library in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Báb, who is considered to be the herald of the Bahá’í faith among its followers.

The history of the Bahá’í faith originated in 1863 in Persia where modern day Iran is today. The idea of unity and uniting people together is a big aspect of the Bahá’í practice, and people are encouraged to celebrate those differences, rather than using them as barriers.

Community members gathered inside the Mercer Island Library to share food and talk about their faith on a local level. A movie also was shown to act as an informative lesson about the history of the Bahá’í faith.

Event speaker Norma Bergquist and Mercer Island Bahá’í addressed the room and presented a brief background of the grassroots of the Bahá’ís who called Mercer Island home. Bergquist said in 1961 there was at least one Bahá’í named Ralph Long who was registered in the community.

“We know that there was a Baha’i on Mercer Island, at least one, probably a number of others, but we know there was one in 1961,” Bergquist said.

According to Frederic Harder, a Baha’i member, when he moved to Mercer Island in 1978 there was a small group of Bahá’í living on the island. About a dozen Bahá’ís were a part of the Mercer Island community and most resided in the Shorewood Apartments.

Today, 32 members call themselves Bahá’ís and Harder believes what has changed the most throughout the years is the fact that the Eastside community is steadily growly and making itself more established. While Seattle has a larger Bahá’í following, the Eastside has added the Eastside Bahá’í Center in Bellevue to increase accessibility and gathering spaces for followers.

Harder found the Bahá’í faith when he was a student in Arizona and one of the things that attracted and surprised him about the religion was that it included some of the local Native Americans.

“There were Navajo Bahá’ís, and it was an eye opener for me to see how people who had one foot sort of in a traditional lifestyle of herding sheep and out on a reservation in a hogan would accept this religion,” Harder said. It was this acceptance and inclusivity that made Harder want to explore the Bahá’í religion more.

The largest groups of Baha’is in North, South and Central America, in fact, are indigenous people. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, there are several thousand Native Americans and Eskimo Bahá’ís, especially in rural Alaska and among the Navajo and Lakota peoples.

[flipp]

More in Life

From left: students Riley Retinger, Abby Smith, Mimmi Hubbard and Sadie Rabinowitz. Photo by Calah Webb
‘It’s one of my favorite places to be’: School of Rock Issaquah gears up for January shows

In January, students will be paying homage to the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Chris Cornell and others.

Photo courtesy of Deborah Hendrickson
                                A recent Eagle Scout Court of Honor recognized Elliott Hendrickson of Mercer Island, Alexander Raffetto of Bellevue and Andrew Sugamele of Mercer Island.
Three Eastside scouts honored at Court of Honor ceremony

Elliott Hendrickson, Alexander Raffetto, and Andrew Sugamele were presented with Eagle Scout honors.

KCLS continuing to build connections in 2020

A monthly column about library happenings.

Dora Gyarmati. Photo by Nityia Photography
Embrace the struggle for a complete picture | Health column

A monthly column about mindfulness and general wellbeing.

Mercer Island Pipe Organ Foundation continues to preserve music

19 years later volunteers are still going strong.

Going public with your love | Column on Faith

A monthly column dealing in matters of faith.

Hanukkah at Mercerdale Park

The public Menorah lighting will take place on Dec. 22.

Eat this not that this holiday season | Health

A monthly health column from a local naturopathic health care provider.

Holiday Lights at Mercerdale Park is a Mercer Island tradition. Courtesy photo
A community tradition carries on

Holiday Lights at Mercerdale Park and Firehouse Munch Dec. 6.

Turkeys Nonni, Noelle, November and Nora at Rooster Haus Rescue in Fall City. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Turkey rescue

The bird’s not on the Thanksgiving menu at this Fall City sanctuary.

Marlin “Zip” Zuther, a veteran from Mercer Island experiences the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photo by Greg Asimakoupoulos
‘Mr. Lincoln, I’ve been thinkin’’ | On Faith

A monthly column regarding matters of faith.

How much youth sports is too much? | Dear YFS

A monthly advice column about issues faced by Islanders.