Australia "enriched and ennobled" by Baha'i temple

SYDNEY, Australia — On the fiftieth anniversary of Australia’s Bahá’í House of Worship, dignitaries paid tribute to its contribution to the life of the community.

“Our society is enriched and ennobled by the temple,” said the Mayor of Pittwater, Councillor Harvey Rose.

“It’s a beacon from the sea, and the land and the sky...a beacon which lights the way to a better world — a world where antagonism and division is replaced by one of unity, of construction and of hope,” Councillor Rose told a reception ahead of a special anniversary service.

The Mayor added that the temple and the Bahá’í community have “an important role not only in our community, but in the broader Australian community.”

The reception held 18 September 2011 launched a week of events marking the golden jubilee of the temple’s inauguration. The service that followed was characterized by the Bahá’í principle of unity in diversity — with singing in the Aboriginal Wirradjuri language, as well as Arabic, English and Samoan. Passages from Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Islamic scriptures were also read.

A silent sentinel of faith”

Located in beautiful hills and bushland above Sydney’s northern beaches, the House of Worship opened in September 1961 after four years of construction. It is one of only seven such temples in the world.

Open to all people, the purpose of Bahá’í Houses of Worship is to provide a central gathering place for prayer and meditation as well as, in time, a range of facilities to serve the social and educational needs of the population.

Pittwater’s Member of Parliament, Rob Stokes, who read at the service, said that the temple “stands as a silent sentinel of faith, of inclusion, of a real spiritual strength.”