Baha'i and mighty

If you want to find Toronto’s Baha’i community, follow the ace singing into Flemingdon Park.

{josquote}The success of the religion is likely due to its anti-tribal nature.{/josquote}

It’s a safe bet that not all Baha’i gatherings in Toronto are as musically inclined as the one that meets in a Flemingdon Park apartment each Sunday evening. In fact, if you closed your eyes during one of their recent devotional services, you could almost imagine that the low, husky voice off to the right was Stevie Nicks. Meanwhile, the excitable, fluttering soprano soaring in from the other side of the room respectably channeled a young Aaron Neville. Singing the prayers of their faith, the dozen voices didn’t sound so much like a spiritual choir as they did a collection of headliners, each displaying their own personal flair. They could no doubt pull off a terrific “We Are the World” at XO Karaoke on Bloor.

{josquote}...the groups meet weekly to read from a standardized book of stories and songs that are meant to provoke discussion about morality.{/josquote}

And one glimpse at this young, mostly twentysomething group suggests they pretty much are the world. The Baha’i and friends of Baha’i who collect in North York’s Flemingdon Park—Toronto’s most multi-lingual neighbourhood—represent a constellation of nations, stretching from India and Iran to El Salvador, Haiti, and Colombia. There’s a young woman from Florida who also attends Catholic church, a man from the neighbourhood who identifies as Jewish, and a number of Muslims, too. “Once, we had a Zoroastrian come,” said Lomeharshan Lall, a 26-year-old from Guyana and one of the three roommates who hosts.

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