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Baha’i Community of West Hartford Hosting ‘World Religion Day’ Celebration

Congregation Beth Israel. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

World Religion Day in West Hartford will feature music and prayer from diverse faith traditions with the goal of promoting religious harmony in a contentious world.


A diverse group of religious believers from the greater Hartford region will gather on Sunday, Jan. 21, to celebrate World Religion Day, an effort to promote interfaith understanding and tolerance.

Scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, the event is sponsored by the Baha’is of West Hartford and the Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding (CCIU).

The celebration, which is free and open to the public, will feature an African-American spiritual choir, a troupe of Hindu dancers, the sacred sounds of Tibetan singing bowls, prayers from many faiths, and a talk about the common themes in all religions.

“The idea behind World Religion Day is to foster understanding and communication between the followers of all faiths and to call attention to the fundamental harmony that can be found in the spiritual principles of all religions,” said Karen Anderson, co-organizer of the event.

“The intention is that for one day a year, all religions should be celebrated, appreciated, and respected, despite their differences,” said Anderson, who is a board member for the CCIU and a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of West Hartford.

Rev. Dr. Alvan Johnson Jr., co-chair of the CCIU, added, “Every single religion of the world’s religions has an imperative to be in close relationship with our neighbors, in one way or another.

“And with warfare all over the Globe, Europe, Middle East, Africa – the world is not in the process of loving our neighbor,” said Johnson, retired from the Bethel AME Church in Bloomfield. “So any and every event that we can sponsor to promote love between neighbors is critically important for our day and our time.”

World Religion Day was founded in 1950 by the Baha’i community of the United States as an effort to affirm the beauty, love, and peace of all the world’s religions. It has since taken on a life of its own and is celebrated in numerous countries.

The celebration this year in West Hartford will feature a diverse program, including:

  • Music by Shir Joy, directed by Laura Deutsch, a singing group associated with Congregation Beth Israel.
  • Music by Nzinga’s Daughters, a seven-woman performance ensemble that fosters appreciation of a multicultural society and deepens public understanding of the history and cultural achievements of Africa and the African Diaspora.
  • A performance of the Ardhnarishwar, a traditional Hindu dance, by six young women in the Kathak tradition.
  • Healing sounds from Tibetan Singing Bowls, from Kelvin Young, founding member of Toivo, a peer-run, recovery-based, holistic healing center in Hartford.
  • Music from Jewish Cantor Sabrina Lipton.
  • Prayers and sacred readings from a diversity of world religious traditions, including the Baha’i Faith, Christianity, Jainism, and Islam.
  • A talk by Frank Robinson Jr., a member of the Regional Bahá’í Council of the Northeastern States.

Congregation Beth Israel is located at 701 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford. Refreshments will be served.

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