The program started with two wonderfully chanted prayers set to music and performed in English and Arabic. This was followed by an inspiring presentation of the bicentenary message of the Universal House of Justice, which created a spiritual atmosphere filled with anticipation. The film “Light of the World” was then shown in its entirety. The diversity of the cross-section of humanity depicted in the film, their unity of purpose, their profound appreciation of Bahá’u’lláh’s message and its transformative effect on their lives, made a deep impression on all participants and afterwards there was a visible sense of excitement.
Afterwards, many rich and meaningful conversations followed during the social portion of the programme. One participant enthusiastically remarked how “the film answered so many questions” and how he was amazed to see “how big and encompassing the Bahá’í Faith is”. Other guests admired the visionary impact of the message of Baha’u’llah on populations around the world.
The second celebration was held on 22 October in a beautiful hall in the Beaux-Arts neighbourhood of Neuchâtel. Sixty-two people attended, again representing a cross-section of people living in Neuchatel: men, women, young, old, from diverse nationalities, races and religions.
The programme began with a prayer by an adorable 3-year old that touched the hearts of all present. The president of the Cantonal inter-religious dialogue group, Mr. Fabrice Vust, then shared words of appreciation and felicitation. He congratulated the Bahá’ís of Neuchâtel on this important milestone in the history of the Baha'i Faith and expressed his gratitude for the positive contribution of the Bahá’ís to the life of the canton. Prior to the event, felicitations were also received from members of the Conseil Cantonal and Conseil Communal of Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds, who had received letters of invitation.
A sweet singing of prayers in English and in Arabic by junior youth in our community then generated a spiritual atmosphere that was deeply moving for many guests who expressed their sentiments of appreciation. The Universal House of Justice’s thought-provoking bicentenary message was then read in a manner that helped all present to reflect on the greatness of this Day.
As our hearts opened, we viewed the film “Light of the World” in its entirety, which showed the stunning breadth and transformative power of the Faith. The film was followed by several delightful violin duets performed by renowned Swiss violinist, Mme Carole Haering-Pantillon and a Bahá’í youth, Anisa Habibi. These duets, which invoked both Western and Eastern European traditions, vivified everyone including the little children who began dancing.
Over the next hour, we then enjoyed a sumptuous table of refreshments and engaging deeply in rich and meaningful conversations, exchange of impressions and questions. For some of our guests, this was their first introduction to the Faith. They expressed amazement at the unifying message of Bahá’u’lláh and acknowledged the importance and urgency of bringing the principles of the Faith to the need of our current social challenges.
These events offered us an opportunity to celebrate the life and message of Bahá’u’lláh, the Glory of God in our midst. We rejoiced in each other's presence and in the creative fruits of our unity, inspired by His sacred teachings and world-embracing vision.