Baha'is in the suburbs and around the world will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah, the founder of their faith, during a series of events this weekend.
The historic Baha'i House of Worship for North America in Wilmette will host a Light of Unity concert Friday night featuring the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra and Baha'i House of Worship Choir.
On Saturday and Sunday, the temple will host devotional programs, gatherings, an archive exhibit, and film viewings about Baha'u'llah. It's part of a nine-week bicentenary celebration, featuring a number of events through Nov. 12. Elsewhere in the suburbs, Baha'i spiritual assemblies -- groups of at least nine adult Baha'is in a given town -- will hold individual events. Most are open to the public and people of all faiths.
Ron Precht, a member of the Baha'is of Arlington Heights, said what attracted him to the religion years ago was its emphasis on the oneness of humanity. "What we want people to understand from our celebration, and want to encourage people to celebrate with us, is the message Baha'u'llah brings to the world," Precht said. "We want people to join us, in that humanity is one. There shouldn't be divisiveness. Racism should've gone away long ago."
This weekend's events include:
• An interfaith Prayers for Peace meeting for teens and young adults will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, at the Plum Grove Park banquet hall, 4001 Park Drive in Palatine.
• Baha'is will plant flower beds and a tree in honor of the bicentenary celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, at Friendship Park Conservatory, 395 W. Algonquin Road in Des Plaines.
• At the same time, a celebration of the oneness of humanity will be held at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum, 110 W. Fremont St. The event, geared to children 8 years and younger, is already at capacity, Precht said.
• A Celebration of Unity and Community is scheduled from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday, at the Libertyville Civic Center, 135 W. Church St., featuring dinner, music and family activities. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Baha'is in Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Rolling Meadows will also host private dinners and celebrations Saturday night.
For a full listing of events at the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, visit lightofunity.org.