Plans to build new Houses of Worship announced

April 22, 2012

HAIFA, Israel — With the construction under way in Chile of the last of the continental Baha'i Houses of Worship, plans have been announced for the building of the first two national Baha'i Temples – in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea.

The historic announcement was made yesterday by the Universal House of Justice in its annual message to mark the first day of Ridvan, the holiest festival in the Baha'i year.

Baha'i Houses of Worship are distinctive buildings, open to all, where visitors can simply pray and meditate in a serene atmosphere, or listen to the holy scriptures of the world's religions being recited and sung. Each House of Worship provides a spiritual center around which agencies of social, humanitarian, and educational service are established for the surrounding population.

This institution weds "two essential, inseparable aspects of Baha'i life: worship and service," wrote the Universal House of Justice.

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Baha'is from the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea at a conference held in the city of Lae in January 2009. "Oro oro oro" means "Welcome welcome welcome." The Universal House of Justice has announced that a new national Baha'i House of Worship is to be built in Papua New Guinea.

In addition to the two new national Temples, consultations are to commence in five regions of the world on the creation of local Houses of Worship. The locations are: Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu.

These are among the places where Baha'i communities are cultivating a "devotional spirit that finds expression in gatherings for prayer and an educational process that builds capacity for service to humanity," wrote the Universal House of Justice.

Referring to the Houses of Worship, the letter concluded: "From these Dawning-Points of the Remembrance of God will shine the rays of His light and peal out the anthems of His praise."