Institute Faculty Share Stories at Wilmette Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Laying of Temple Cornerstone
Three Wilmette Institute faculty for the recent course ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America took part in the April 29 program at the Baha’i House of Worship marking the one hundredth anniversary of the Master’s visit to the site and His laying the cornerstone for the Temple.
After the devotional programs at the House of Worship, those attending were invited to gather in a Tea and Social Space Tent set up behind the Haziratu’l-Quds (formerly the studio Louis Bourgeois built for supervising the construction of the Temple and now the headquarters of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States).
Urns of tea and baskets of cookies awaited the guests, along with displays about the future Visitors’ Center. Circles of chairs had been set up for the three Wilmette Institute faculty members and one staff member to share information about ‘Abdu’l-Baha with the guests.
Dr. Anne Perry, decked out in a 1912-era dress in purple and magenta and complete with bustle, shawl, and hat, told stories about many of the early Baha’is, men and women, who had been inspired by ‘Abdu’l-Baha.
Dr. Duane Troxel shared stories about ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s travels, while passing around his iPad filled with historical photographs of His visit.
Wilmette institute Director Dr. Robert H. Stockman recounted stories from research for his recently published book entitled ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America, which covers the Master’s historic trip in 1912 to North America.
Candace Moore Hill, administrative assistant to Dr. Stockman and also wearing a 1912-style costume, told stories about the day one hundred years earlier when ‘Abdu’l-Baha laid the cornerstone for the first House of Worship in North America.
Before the gathering in the Tea and Social Space Tent and the story-telling sessions, the guests attended one of three devotional programs held in the auditorium of the Baha’i House of Worship, ushered in by more than one hundred volunteers dressed in dark clothing with bright yellow ribbons on sashes. Then the guests visited a special archival exhibit relating to ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Foundation Hall.
The day after the April 29 centenary event, Dr. Troxel provided a link to the devotional program for students in the course on ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America. The program, which you can print out, contains a list of the day’s activities; the readings for the devotional program; a description and photographs of the sixteen items in the archival exhibit; extracts from ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s April 30 and May 1, 1912 comments on the importance of the Baha’i House of Worship; and a passage from the notes to the Kitab-i-Aqdas about Houses of Worship.