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Bahá'í Chronology Canada: year 1893

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1893 11-27 Sep  The World Parliament of Religions, the largest of the congresses held in conjunction with the World Columbian Exposition, was the first formal inter-religious dialogue worldwide of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. The conference included new religious movements of the time, such as Spiritualism and Christian Science. The latter was represented by its founder Mary Baker Eddy. Rev. Henry Jessup addressing the World Parliament of Religions was the first to mention the Bahá’í Faith in the United States (it had previously been known in Europe. A number of Canadians who attended sessions at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Illinois in 1893 became Bahá’ís. Since then Bahá’ís have become active participants in the World Parliament of Religions. [OBCC1-2] [key] Chicago,IL World Parliament of Religions World Parliament of Religions
1893 (Late summer) Fourteen year old Edit Magee of London was sent by her parents to visit and aunt and uncle in Chicago, Mr and Mrs Guy Magee. He was the editor of the Chicago Tribune and had been in close contact with many of the leading figures of the Parliament of Religions. He was attracted by the quotation of E G Browne in the presentation of Dr Henry Jessup and further investigation led him to Ibrahim Kheirullah who was gathering a class of interested inquirers.
Edith's mother had raised her two daughters to share her passion to look for religious truth. Upon learning of the Faith Edith hurried home to share her findings with her mother and other relatives. Mrs Magee left immediately for Chicago, found Kheirullah and enrolled in his first class. She returned to London a Bahá'í and with her two daughters, Edith and Harriet formed the first Bahá'í group in Canada.
In 1902 Edit moved to New York to study music. When her father John Magee passed away her mother and sister Harriet followed her. All three women remained steadfast believers, active in the New York and Green Acre communities. Harriet became a friend of Abdu'l-Bahá's translator Ahmad Sohrab and his letters to her after His departure from America have become a valuable account of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's movements and activities.
Edit Magee became Mrs Edith Englis and spent her last years in Alexandria, Virginia with her son and daughter-in-law. [CBN September 1966 p6; OBBC1; BFA2p156] [key]
London,ON Edit Magee; Harriet Magee; Mrs Magee; Ahman Sohrab first Canadian Bahá'í ; first Bahá'í group.
1893 23 Sep First public reference in North America to the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Reference was made to it in a paper entitled `The Religious Mission of the English Speaking Nations' by Rev. Henry H. Jessup, a retired missionary from north Syria, read by Rev George A. Ford at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. [AB63–4; BBD2412; BBR57; BFA1:323; BW2:230; GPB256; SBBH1:76, 88, 202]
  • See AB63–4, BW2:169 for text.
  • The Magee family of London, Ester and daughters Edith and Harriet heard of the Faith for the first time. [OBBC1] [key]
Chicago, IL; London,ON Rev. Henry H. Jessup, Ester Magee, Edith Magee, Harriet Magee, Mrs Jonathon Magee, Rev George A. Ford, First public mention of the Faith in America.
1893 23 Sep Bahá'u'lláh’s recent passing in Akká was announced to the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, in connection with the World’s Columbian Exposition, 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World in 1492, Rev. George A. Ford of Syria read a paper written by Rev. Henry H. Jessup, D.D., Director of Presbyterian Missionary Operations in North Syria to the audience. In his paper Reverend Jessup called Bahá'u'lláh “a famous Persian Sage” and “the Bábí Saint” “the Glory of God” had died recently in Akká. Jessup described how Professor Edward Granville Browne of Cambridge University had visited and interviewed Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji just outside the fortress of Akka on the Syrian coast in April 1890 and that during those four interviews Bahá'u'lláh had expressed “sentiments so noble, so Christ-like” that the author of the paper, in his “closing words,” wished to share them with his audience. Jessup described Bahá'u'lláh as head of a group of Persians who “who accept the New Testament as the word of God, and Christ as the deliverer of man; who regard all natives as one, and all men as brothers.” Jessop closed his paper with these words,(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, page 256; (Jessup, Henry H., Ed. 1894. Neely, F. Tennyson Neely. 1894. “The Religious Mission of the English-Speaking Nations.” Neely’s History of the Parliament of Religions and Religious Congresses of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Chicago. pages 637-641.)

“That all nations should become one in faith, and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should, and differences of race, be annulled; what harm is there in this? Yet so it shall be. These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the “most great peace” shall come. Do not you in Europe need this also? Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this that he loves his kind.” -Bahá'u'lláh

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