May 24, 2021 MATUNDA, Kenya — A luminous presence in Matunda Soy, Kenya, the first local Bahá’í House of Worship in the continent of Africa was dedicated at an opening ceremony Sunday morning.
The chorus of “Make my prayer, O my Lord, a fountain of living waters” sung by a local choir resonated deeply within the people who had gathered at the dedication ceremony, and represented thousands of people nearby and across Kenya celebrating a momentous step in the spiritual journey of their people.
The House of Worship—referred to in the Bahá’í writings as a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, meaning “Dawning-place of the Praise of God”—has a unique reality. It stands at the heart of the community, is open to all peoples, and is a place where prayer and contemplation inspire service to society.
Here is a link to a video of the event: https://youtu.be/iGMrPJzT9Xs
Sunday’s opening ceremony included remarks from Townshend Lihanda, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors in Africa whom the Universal House of Justice named as its representative to the event. Mr. Lihanda read a letter of the House of Justice addressed to the gathering, which stated: “…at a time when the world is caught in the midst of uncertainty, the efforts of the friends throughout Matunda Soy and beyond have culminated in the raising of this beacon of hope, a cause for jubilation and great joy.”
The Universal House of Justice stated that the completion of the project in just three years and under difficult circumstances “is a testament to the vitality, resourcefulness, and determination of the Kenyan people.”
Others in attendance included government officials, village and district chiefs, local dignitaries, representatives of local and national Bahá’í institutions, the architect and other representatives of the construction team.
Mourice Mukopi, the chief of the group of villages where the temple is located, said, “The most important thing about the Bahá’í temple is that it welcomes everyone from different religions to come and worship.”
The National Spiritual Assembly is delighted to share with you a message from the Universal House of Justice addressed to those who gathered on May 23 to celebrate the inauguration of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Matunda Soy, Kenya—the first local Mashriqu’l-Adhkár on the African continent—an occasion the Supreme Body calls a “day of immense historic significance.”
The message and its translations are accessible through the links below:
- Supreme Body on Inauguration of Local Bahá’í House of Worship in Matunda Soy, Kenya (PDF) (English)
- Supreme Body on Inauguration of Local Bahá’í House of Worship in Matunda Soy, Kenya (PDF) (French)
- Supreme Body on Inauguration of Local Bahá’í House of Worship in Matunda Soy, Kenya (PDF) (Spanish)
- Supreme Body on Inauguration of Local Bahá’í House of Worship in Matunda Soy, Kenya (PDF) (Swahili)