Some Frequently Asked Questions
Most Bahá'í devotionals are informal and open to interpretation by the host. Meetings are usually held in the homes of various community members. Bahá'í principles promote creative use of arts and generally discourage any ritual or set method of observance. As a general rule, hosts will usually select a set of sacred readings from Bahá'í or other religious traditions and will often allow time to discuss or meditate on these writings. There is usually time for socialization and general questions. There is never a commitment or obligation nor is there any solicitation.
In the seacoast area, Bahá'ís reside in many of the communities including Portsmouth, Exeter, North Hampton, Durham, Greenland, Lee, Rochester, Rye, Somersworth, and Dover in New Hampshire and Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick, Berwick and York in Maine. For help in locating Bahá'ís near you, we encourage you to call 1-800-22UNITE (1-800 228 6483) or visit bahai.us
The local Bahá'í communities offer small group study circles where participants have the opportunity to obtain a more in depth study of the Bahá'í writings and how those Writings can influence our lives and environment. Local Bahá'í communities also offer children's classes and junior youth programs. The Portsmouth community hosts weekly devotionals which offer the opportunity to explore sacred texts.
The Bahá'í Faith has no clergy. In every community where there are nine or more Bahá'ís living, members of that community annually elect a body of nine members from among Bahá'í residents to form what is referred to as the local spiritual assembly. This Assembly meets regularly to administer the affairs of the community. The national Baha'i community located in Wilmette, Illinois likewise consists of a body of nine members elected annually. The governing institution of world Bahá'í community is located in Haifa, Israel and is elected every five years. Elections in the Bahá'í community are done by secret ballot. There is no nomination process nor campaigning for any position or office.
Bahá'ís do not proselytize their faith. One of the fundamental teachings of the Bahá'í Faith is independent investigation of the truth. This means in effect that when a person truly believes that he teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are the divine teachings for this day, one is a Bahá'í. To become enrolled in the Bahá'í community, a Local Spiritual Assembly manages the formalities of enrollment.