The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of St. John's

Contact Information

Phone: (709) 722 6630


Origins of the group: Origins of the group: Although St. John's was visited briefly by Canadian and American Bahá'ís in the late 1920s, the first Bahá'í to live in Newfoundland was Lloyd Gardner, a Canadian stationed at the Naval Hospital for six months in 1945, who gave radio talks on the Bahá'í Faith. A Bahá'í community has existed on the island since 1949 when three Canadian believers settled as pioneer teachers in St. John's. One of them, Doris Skinner, remained until 1955 and was instrumental in bringing the Bahá'í Faith to the attention of many people. The first Newfoundlanders to become Bahá'ís were William Howell and Millicent Penney in St. John's. Mary Michelin of Northwest River was the first believer in Labrador, which was opened to the Faith in the early 1950s. As the Bahá'í communities grew large enough, elected administrative bodies called Spiritual Assemblies, were formed in St. John's (1969, incorporated 1970) and other communities. Currently there are Assemblies in St, John's, Mount pearl and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Bahá'ís are found in a dozen communities across the island, and in four localities in Labrador. Together they represent a variety of religious backgrounds and Newfoundland origins, including Innu and Inuit.

Highlights of group's history: The community is particularly pleased that the Religious Studies texts for all grades as developed by the provincial Department of Education includes much Baha'i accurate material. Over the years the community has been able to make contributions to public policy by submissions to Government such as to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Delivery of Programs and Services in Primary, Elementary, Secondary Education (1991) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy with the submission "Reducing Poverty in Newfoundland & Labrador: Working Towards a Solution" (2005). Bahá'í marriages were also recognized by the Provincial Legislature in 1982. A Bahá'í marriage consists of the spiritual union between two partners who are devoted to each other, as well as devotion to the will of God.

Present Goals of your group: The group's main focus is to continue their gradual expansion throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as continuing their efforts to be recognized as a global community in Canada and beyond.

Life in St. John's/in NL: The Bahá'í community has noted that while the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has gradually opened up and become more culturally aware and sensitive to others' religious beliefs, this is a gradual process that takes time.


Membership: The membership of the Bahá'í community in St. John's is quite diverse. The religion itself practices the oneness of the world of humanity and the local community reflects that. For example, within the northeastern Avalon Peninsula, the group is made up of various ethnicities including Aboriginals, Native Canadians, Hindus, Persians, African Americans as well as fourth generation Bahá'ís. English is the predominant language used by the local group however Persian and French are used regularly as well. There are approximately 100 Bahá'ís in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Leaders and contacts: There are no leaders within the Bahá'í' faith because there is no clergy. An assembly of nine is elected on April 21st by members anonymously voting for those they feel would best represent their community. All members are eligible for election, there are no nominations and no campaigning. Also, there are no spiritual leaders either. Bahá'ís feel that all individuals are responsible for their own independent investigation of reality and truth. Those interested in learning more about the local community can visit the website listed above, or can contact the telephone and email address listed above.

Facilities: The group has no permanent physical location, rather the venue shifts between the homes of its members. Anyone interested in attending a service can do so by utilizing the aforementioned telephone number and email address listed above.


Information: Information: Information about the group can be found at their website. There is no newsletter, however those interested in obtaining information regarding the services and events can consult the address above to be added to the email list.

Schedule of Events: Time and place of worship is dependant on the number of people who may be attending. The location of the service will be provided to those on the email list.