(Sarah Black/Lariat staff)
The Baha’i Club met Wednesday Dec. 1 for Saddleback College’s first Interfaith Devotional Meeting.
The goal for the meeting was to “encourage interfaith fellowship and worship,” said Ray Zimmerman, the club’s advisor and English instructor.
Zimmerman was formerly the Baha’i Club faculty advisor at University of California Irvine for 22 years before coming to Saddleback last year.
There are about 6 million members of the Baha’i faith worldwide, said Zimmerman, with about 1,000 members in Orange County.
Baha’i is an independent religion founded by Baha’u’llah in 1844, with origins in Iran.
“It teaches oneness of humanity and all religions,” said Zimmerman. “We believe all religions are one.”
The Baha’i Club’s, sponsored by the Baha’is of Mission Viejo, goal is to promote the Baha’i principals of togetherness, said Zimmerman. The meeting was for people of all faiths to pray together and get to know each other, so as to promote inter-religious friendship and understanding.
The event was short, less than one hour, and small, with less than 10 people occupying the room.
The theme of the meeting was Hope, which included readings from the Hindu Upanishads, the Judaic Kesuvim, the Islamic Qu’ran, the Christian Bible, with quotes from Buddha, Abdu’l-Baha, and Baha’u’llah.
After a few quotes or passages were read, a song would be played. During an intermission, a club member played a violin solo.
“This is the first time we’ve had a meeting of this type,” Zimmerman said.
Baha’i Club President Sahar Taravati plans on having more interfaith meetings for spring semester.
“We’re going to be doing this monthly,” said Taravati. “The goal will be to incorporate diversity.”
The Bahai’i Club will put on an interfaith panel during Diversity Week of spring semester, on either Jan. 25 or the 27.
Though other religious and secular clubs on Saddleback’s campus were invited to join by Justin Huft, president of the Interclub Council, the only club that took up the offer was the International Club.
President of the Bible Crew Sarah Diasmay said she received only an e-mail from Huft regarding the interfaith panel to be held in January.
“I was not aware of the event that happened in Dec. 1,” said Diasmay. “This is primarily why Bible Crew did not participate.”
Alexander Warner, 19, music, represented the International Club at the interfaith meeting. Warner was raised as a Tibetan Buddhist, although his entire family has been raised as Catholic.
He was brought up in the traditional Buddhist monk tradition until he was in the eighth grade, when he decided he wanted to live as a normal teenager.
“I still follow the path of Buddha,” said Warner.
As a follower of Tibetan Buddhism, he fully supports the existence of all faiths, he said.
“[Tibetan Buddhists] support all religions just as much as our own,” Warner said.
Warner will be representing Tibetan Buddhism at the interfaith panel next semester.
Regular meetings for the Baha’i Club are on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. in the Business/General Studies building in Room 200.
For more information about the Baha’i Club and the event, go to http://www.saddleback.edu/asg/Bahai.html