Every religious community needs a source it can turn to for guidance and encouragement. In Toronto, Bahá’ís turn to their Spiritual Assembly, a nine-member body that is elected by the community every year.
The Local Spiritual Assembly guides the community in its development. Like any other administrative body in the Bahá’í Faith, the Assembly closely monitors the current state of the community, seeks input from a variety of sources on the progress of activities, and then provides guidance that orients the community’s efforts.
Also, if an individual is struggling with a personal problem, or if a group of friends cannot come to a resolution on one problem or another, then the Spiritual Assembly serves as a body to which they can turn for guidance and support.
The Local Assembly is elected every year in late April. 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the formation of this administrative body in Toronto.
At the moment, the Assembly meets at the Toronto Bahá’í Centre on Bloor Street West about once a week for about three or four hours. A large portion of its meeting is devoted to consulting about how to nurture the spiritual life and growth of the community. The Assembly is currently striving to meet with an increasingly wider body of people, including the community as a whole, individuals, consultants, and other institutions of the Bahá’í Faith.
These days, the Toronto Assembly issues a message every 19 days to its community members. The message coincides with the Feast that Bahá’ís hold to pray together, consult about local affairs, and socialize. These messages typically discuss community-building activities currently happening in the area, as well as questions and recommendations that have arisen from individuals, and other timely matters. The consultation among community members at the Feast is often spurred by the content of these messages.
Several agencies assist the Spiritual Assembly in carrying out its responsibilities. One agency focuses on the teaching and community-building efforts going on across the city. Another tends to the maintenance and operation of the Bahá’í Centre. Yet another helps to coordinate commemorations of the 11 Holy Days that occur throughout the year.
Learn more about Local Spiritual Assemblies in general on the international website of the Bahá’ís.