DENISON — A local faith community will be celebrating a special birthday this weekend. Baha’is of Denison and Sherman will mark the 200th birthday of the founder of the Baha’i Faith with a dinner gathering and fellowship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at 722 Deleon in Denison.


Baha’u’llah, the founder of the faith, was born in 1817. The teachings ofBaha’u’llah are the principles of there being only one God, the oneness of religion, the oneness of the human family and the elimination of prejudice, the equality of women and men, the harmony of science and religion.


“Baha’u’llah was a spiritual teacher who announced in 1863 that he was the bearer of a new revelation from God,” a press release by Baha’is of Sherman and Denison said. “His teachings have spread around the world, forming the bases of a process of social transformation and community building which is unique in its global scope and the diversity of participants.”


Baha’is believe that work done in the spirit of service to humanity is the highest form of worship, Baha’i Denison community member Louise King Said said.


“We regard prayer, offered in private and in the company of others, as essential spiritual nourishment, providing positive inspiration for personal and social change,” Said said.


Baha’is also believe in the importance of education, spiritual and otherwise, and independent investigation of truth.


“Our activities between meetings often include devotional gatherings, study circles, children’s classes, junior youth empowerment programs, holy day celebrations and other undertakings,” Said said.


Meeting for a Baha’i feast every 19 days, the local Baha’i community gathers in individual homes or a Baha’i worship center if one is available. A feast consists of the reading of sacred writings and prayers, consulting about the activities within the Baha’i community, and fellowship.


“We believe the writings of the Bab, forerunner of the Baha’i Faith, and Baha’u’llah were revealed by God, and are therefore sacred,” Said said. “We have no clergy or sacraments, and we practice very simple rituals for life transitions such as marriage. At life’s end, we believe that one’s soul lives on and enters the spiritual world.”