*Today’s post is part of a series of weekly posts focusing on the Seven Wonders of Illinois. As a reminder, be sure to take part in our Seven Wonders Photo Contest.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette. I had seen many photos of the beautiful Temple and was looking forward to seeing it in person. As the car wound its way along Sheridan Road I was surprised when the bright white structure suddenly appeared alongside lovely homes and an abundance of trees – wow – it’s just magnificent.
If you’re a photo buff you’ll love this place, where you can hardly take a bad photo–they all look great! (I took this photo with my little cell phone a few days ago.) But pictures don’t do it justice. The www.bahaitemple.org website has a link to a 360-degree virtual tour of the interior and exterior. But even the virtual tour doesn’t give you a true sense of the beauty and peacefulness you’ll find.
The auditorium (worship area) of the Baha’i House of Worship and gardens are open every day from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. and the visitors center and bookstore (downstairs) are open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Brief prayer services,known as devotional programs, are held in the auditorium daily at 12:30 p.m. They only last about 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes on Sundays when the choir sings. There’s no clergy in the Baha’i Faith and the prayers and readings for the devotional programs are chosen from the Sacred Texts of the major world religions, including those from the Baha’i Faith, and read by volunteers. If you want to be a reader, call the staff at the Temple at: 847-853-2300 and ask to talk with Bridgette.
There’s a sign on the spacious lawn that says, “All are welcome” and this isn’t just a passing phrase – it’s true! There’s no congregation associated with the Temple. It was actually built by the Baha’is as a place of worship and private meditation for everyone in the community – not just members of the Baha’i Faith.
Once you visit, you’ll know why this sacred space was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois. As described in the ABC-7 News report when the designation was announced in 2007, “The Baha’i House of Worship is an architectural gem glistening white against blue skies.”
Whether you come for the architectural beauty, the photo opportunities, or to find peace and tranquility, you won’t be disappointed.
Associate Director, Baha’i Temple