Each Bahá’í sees him or herself at once as a member of a local, national, and global community of adherents. Every effort is made to ensure that, at each of these levels, communities remain vibrant and open to all people; great care is taken to avoid the pitfalls of exclusivity. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá counsels us: “See ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends, for love and unity come hard when ye fix your gaze on otherness. … For each of the creatures is a sign of God, and it was by the grace of the Lord and His power that each did step into the world; therefore they are not strangers, but in the family; not aliens, but friends, and to be treated as such.”
The Bahá’í community came into existence gradually—from the handful who first heard the message of The Báb, to the enthusiastic band of followers of Bahá’u’lláh in cities and villages throughout nineteenth century Persia, to a global community of millions today, with members in more than 100,000 localities in virtually every country and territory around the world.
You can read more about the Bahá’í approach to community and community-building, on the open nature of Bahá’í community life, and on the relationships that Bahá’ís strive to forge between individuals, communities, and institutions, in the article titled “Community”, which is found within the “What Bahá’ís Believe” area of this website.
History of the Bahá’í Faith in Tucson
The first Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Tucson was formed in 1948.
William Sears’ Gravesite
The Tucson Baha’i community is home to the final resting place of Hand of the Cause of God, William Sears. His gravesite is located at East Lawn Palms Cemetery at 5801 E. Grant Rd. Tucson, AZ 85712. Hours: 8am – 6pm (Oct. – Apr.); 8am – 7pm (May – Sept.)
Birth: Mar. 28, 1911 – Death: Mar. 25, 1992
Hand of the Cause William Sears was appointed a Hand by Shoghi Effendi (Guardian of the Baha’i Faith) in the last contingent of Hands prior to Shoghi Effendi’s death in 1957.”Bill” Sears was a United States television and radio personality. He was an extremely popular author in the Bahá’í community. His published works include Thief in the Night, God Loves Laughter, The Wine of Astonishment, All Flags Flying, A Cry from the Heart, and many others.
William B. Sears, 80; High official in Baha’i faith William Bernard Sears, one of the highest officials of the Baha’i faith, died here yesterday after a heart attack. He was 80. Sears, a Tucson resident since 1984, was one of four surviving members of the Hands of the Cause of God, custodians appointed by Baha’i founders to propagate the faith and protect the community. Baha’i is a religion with about 5 million members worldwide. “There will be literally hundreds of thousands of memorial services all around the world, in every city where Baha’is reside,” said David Hadden, a Baha’i who had known Sears since 1945. “He was a wonderful human being whose whole interest was the advancement of humanity, a humorist and writer who taught everyone that religion is something that should be viewed with love and laughter and joy and gladness,” Hadden said. Sears wrote 11 books, most of them about the Baha’i faith. His most popular book is “God Loves Laughter,” published in 1960. Sears was born in Duluth, Minn., on March 28, 1911. During the Depression he worked as a radio announcer in Chicago, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. In the late 1930s he went to work for WCAU, a Philadelphia radio station. He was a well-known Philadelphia sportscaster in the 1940s and moved into television sports in the early 1950s. “The Bill Sears Sports Show,” which appeared on WCAU television, won an Emmy as best sports show of 1951, said Sears’ wife, Marguerite. Sears abandoned radio and television in 1953 to spread the Baha’i faith, first in South Africa, then in about 60 other countries. He was named to the Hands of the Cause of God in 1957. The Baha’i faith was founded in the mid-19th century by Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri, known as Baha’u’llah. Principal among Baha’i teachings are the unity of religions and the unity of mankind. Baha’is believe that all the founders of the major religions were manifestations of God and agents of a progressive divine plan for the education of the human race. Only the founder, his eldest son and his eldest grandson were authorized to select the members of Hands of the Cause of God. Thirty-five people were appointed to Hands of the Cause of God during their lifetime, and a few were named to it posthumously, Hadden said. Only three members remain, he said. In addition to his wife, Sears is survived by two sons, William Sears Jr. of Simi Valley, Calif., and Michael Sears of Johannesburg, South Africa; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.