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Faith celebrates milestone

A small faith community in the Town of Farmville and in surrounding areas gathered to celebrate a milestone: the 200th anniversary of the birth of a faith leader, Bahá’u’lláh.

The celebration was held Sunday afternoon at the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library.

The celebration included a video detailing Bahá’u’lláh’s life and the Bahá’í faith as well as an activity to know others participating in the celebration better, refreshments and booklets and photograph books detailing the faith and photography of Bahá’í temples around the world.

The Bahá’í faith is practiced worldwide, with different celebrations set to take place in Charlottesville and Lynchburg in the coming weeks.

Believing in the inclusion of all faiths, the Bahá’í faith holds that Bahá’u’lláh is the most recent of prophets to have created worldwide spiritual change, similar to the impact of Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad. The Bahá’í faith also practices racial and gender equality and an aim for world peace.

Bahá’u’lláh was born in Persia, now Iran, in 1817, according to information provided during the celebration. Foregoing his privileged background, Bahá’u’lláh began a public ministry of his teachings, prompting the Persian government to place him in exile for most of his life.

The faith has a small but impactful following in the Town of Farmville and in surrounding areas.

Attendant Mike Williams said the celebration showcases the importance of unity both with others who practice the faith and with the community.

“The whole foundation of the body of the faith is unity,” Williams said.

Farzaneh Rasooly, of Farmville, said she and others in the community were excited for the library venue, as they have held celebrations at different peoples’ homes in the past.

“We are very excited in fact,” Rasooly said. “It’s our first celebration here.”

Farmville District 801 Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors, attended the celebration and said she and her family had befriended someone who practiced Bahá’í and noted the beauty of the temples in the photography books.

“This is new for me,” Cooper-Jones said. “Just learning a little bit about the Bahá’í faith.”

Central Virginia Regional Library Director Rick Ewing said following the celebration that he was excited to have the celebration at the library and encouraged community members to embrace learning new ideas and cultures.

“It makes me happy and pleased to have different groups using the meeting facilities,” Ewing said.

“The thing I want to stress is that libraries are for everyone,” Ewing said, noting the word “community” in the name of the library, “and we warmly welcome ideas that many may know about and ideas many may not know much about.”