Gavin Butler

In 2010 I came across the Bahá’í Faith whilst idly flicking through What I Believe – A Young Person’s Guide to the Religions of the World, a reference book my wife and I had bought for our children. There was a very brief entry about the Faith, but the opening line caught my attention: “We believe in the oneness of the human race”. I was fortunate enough to have attended an international school in the Canary Islands, where I lived from my birth in 1975 to the age of 14, with pupils from 24 countries, so I have always seen myself as a ‘global citizen’, and have always been appalled by prejudice.

The next step was to do an online search, and read the information on Wikipedia. I discovered that the Bahá’í Faith encapsulated some of the ideas I already held dear to me, such as working to serve my fellow people, the importance of education, the importance of family, the abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty, and the establishment of a universal language to enable understanding between peoples. I had formed these beliefs through my study of psychology at the University of Wales, Swansea between 1994 and 1997 and by many late night conversations with fellow students of other disciplines.

Being somewhat stunned by what I had read I ordered some books and embarked on a period of study, with perhaps Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era being most influential to me at that stage. It gradually dawned on me that society could be transformed through faith and culture, not through politics as I had previously thought.

The deeper my understanding grew, the more I wanted to see what it was like to practise the faith, so in October 2010 I got in touch with the Public Information Office who put me in touch with the Sandhurst/Crowthorne/Bracknell community. I first met Brian Stanley, who was able to answer any questions I had. Then it was time to start attending unity feasts. Being from a non-religious background I had difficulty initially in accepting the existence of God and found the practice of prayer to be quite alien to me, but in time my understanding and knowledge deepened. After feeling the warmth and unity of the Friends I decided to declare in November 2010.

My wife, although not a Bahá’í, agrees with the social principles of the Faith and has been very supportive of me in my journey. Also I will hopefully inspire my three children, currently aged 7, 5 and 3, to embark on a spiritual path, and attend children’s classes as soon as they can.

Since then I have attended events with both the Sandhurst and Camberley communities, and attended my first summer school in 2011, albeit for only one day.

Although my job as service delivery manager for a dial-a-ride bus company and being a father of young children leaves me with very little spare time to engage in other core activities, hopefully I am doing all I can to spread the joy of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation and to serve my community.

Gavin Butler

September 2011