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Baha’i Book Fair to celebrate oneness of humanity

An upcoming book fair hosted by San Diego’s Baha’i community will showcase the power of prayer and spirituality for people of all faiths.

The San Diego Baha’i Book Fair will be held May 16 through 20 and will be the first of its kind in the United States. Authors will appear at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Costa Verde shopping center to discuss their work May 16 to 18. The fair will continue at the San Diego Baha’i Center located at 6545 Alcala Knolls in Linda Vista.

The Baha’i community in San Diego is among the largest in the country, with more than 800 followers living in the city of San Diego. The Baha’i Faith is considered by some to be the newest major religion in the world.

“We believe in the oneness of religion, God and humanity,” said Jane Senour of the San Diego Baha’i Center. “We believe that all the various manifestations have come from one God. We believe humanity is all one, and if we would all believe that, we would have no fighting.”

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All of the authors who will be featured at the book fair are Baha’i and have had their work published by Baha’i Publishing, but the foundations of their work can speak to almost all spiritual people, Senour said.

“Prayer is a universal spiritual principle of God,” Senour said. “We all want to have our relationships and be happy, joyful entities.”

The fair’s first featured author will be Pamela Brode, who will speak about her book, “Power of Prayer: Make a Joyful Noise.” She will appear on May 16 at 7 p.m. The book demonstrates how prayer can help people overcome individual challenges and in effecting social change.

“It’s a concept of such importance to people right now,” Senour said.

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On May 17 at 7 p.m., the featured author will be Heather Cardin, who will discuss her book, “Partners in Spirit.” The book incorporates Cardin’s interviews with over 40 married couples who share how spiritual foundations can help both prospective marriage partners and those who have been married for years.

“She talked to all kinds of couples, not just Baha’is,” Senour said. “So there is certainly a broader context there.”

On May 18 at 7 p.m., Richard Thomas and Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis will discuss “Lights of the Spirit.” The authors have chronicled the role played by people of African descent in the emergence of the Baha’i Faith in North America.

Drawing on a wide range of sources including personal essays, letters and journals, the authors bring to light a diverse group of people including lawyer Louis Gregory, poet Robert Hayden, jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie and others.

The book fair shifts from La Jolla to the Baha’i Center in Linda Vista on May 19 and 20. Brian Lepard will appear May 19 at 11 a.m. to discuss his book, “Hope for a Global Ethic.” In it, Lepard argues that different societies have much more in common than they may think, beginning with a profound, historic belief in religion, and that our fearful and often suspicious view of other people may be overcome by exploring shared beliefs.

“It’s about how to get along in the world without killing so many people,” Senour said.

At 5 p.m. May 19, John Medina will discuss his book, “Faith, Physics and Psychology.”

“John talks about how they all relate - those are universals,” Senour said.

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Sunday, May 20 will be a grand finale event at the San Diego Baha’i Center devoted to open conversation with the authors. In addition to answering any questions the audience might have, the featured authors will discuss how they became Baha’i.

“They will also talk about how they became authors,” Senour said. “We thought that might be of interest to people exploring a creative environment of their own.”

Senour stressed that the event is open to the public, regardless of faith.

“That’s the whole point,” she said. “These books are broader in concept than just Baha’is - we wanted to offer them to the whole community. Barnes and Noble has sponsored the event because they, too, saw the broader context.”

The Barnes and Noble at Costa Verde Shopping Center is at 8560 Genesee Ave. Call (858) 457-7561 for more information. The San Diego Baha’i Center is at 6545 Alcala Knolls. Call (858) 268-3999.