A Short History
The Baha’i Faith first became known in Ohio by way of a Chicago Insurance salesman named Thornton Chase, who mentioned his new religion to two colleagues in Union Mutual Life Insurance Company’s Cincinnati office during a visit in 1898 or 1899.
Chase, one of the first four Americans to study the faith, enrolled in 1895. His hometown Baha’i community of Chicago dispatched another Baha’i back to Cincinnati after Chase’s visit there. That visitor offered a class in January 1899, and five people enrolled in the faith, giving birth to the first Baha’i community in Ohio.
Acceptance of the faith required then, and today, belief in Baha’u’llah as God’s messenger for this age and in His teachings that there is one God who has educated mankind continuously through the ages, that humanity in all its diversity is but one race, that men and women are equal in the eyes of God, that science and religion are in harmony, and that every human soul progresses toward God through life and after death. (Religion In Ohio, Profiles of Faith Communities, p.351)
A Short History continued…
*Abdu’l-Baha, (1844-1921), eldest son of Baha’u’llah and His chosen successor, was known as an ambassador of peace, a champion of justice, and the leading exponent of a new Faith. He was awarded a knighthood by the British Mandate of Palestine for his humanitarian efforts during WWI. Through a series of epoch-making travels to Africa, North America and Europe,`Abdu’l-Bahá–by word and example–proclaimed with persuasiveness and force the essential principles of his Father’s religion. Upon his death ten thousand people–Jews, Christians, and Muslims from all denominations–gathered on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land to mourn his passing. Today he is embraced by more than 5 million Baha’is as the perfect Exemplar of what it means to be a Baha’i.
In 2021 the Bahá’í community will mark the Centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. At the time of His passing His mortal remains were laid to rest within a vault of the Mausoleum of the Báb. It was envisaged by Shoghi Effendi that this would be a temporary arrangement. A Shrine was to be erected, of a character befitting the unique station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, at the appropriate time. Design concept for the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Baha Unveiled September 20, 2019. Updates on construction of Shrine of ‘Abdu’l‑Baha.