About the Program
On February 8th, CCIU members were treated to a virtual exploration of the Baháʼí House of Worship and Faith, led by Steve Sarowitz. The program featured a series of videos, followed by a live, moderated question and answer session with Steve, who is a frequent guide at the Temple.
About the Baháʼí House of Worship for North America
One of only eight continental Baháʼí Houses of Worship in the world, the Baháʼí Temple in Wilmette, Illinois is dedicated to joining worship of God with service to humanity. It is the second Baháʼí House of Worship ever constructed and the oldest surviving.
The House of Worship is a magnificent domed structure surrounded by stunning gardens and fountains on a 6.97-acre plot of land. Its auditorium seats 1,191 people. The cladding is made of white portland cement concrete with both clear and white quartz aggregate. Many intricate details are carved into the concrete. Various writings of Baháʼu'lláh, the founder of the religion, are inscribed above the building entrances and inside the interior alcoves. Symbols of many religions can be found in each exterior pillar. At the top of each pillar is a nine-pointed star, symbolizing the Baháʼí Faith.
The Temple was designed by French-Canadian architect Louis Bourgeois (1856–1930). To convey the Baháʼí principle of the unity of religion, Bourgeois incorporated a variety of religious architecture and symbols. After a ground-breaking ceremony in 1912 to lay a cornerstone, construction began in earnest in the early 1920s and was delayed significantly through the Great Depression and World War II. Construction picked up again in 1947, and the Temple was dedicated in a ceremony in 1953.
The Temple has received numerous design awards, and is a prominent Chicago-area landmark. In 1978, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. A popular destination for tourists, it has been named one of the "Seven Wonders of Illinois" by the Illinois Office of Tourism.
About Steve Sarowitz
Steve Sarowitz is Founder of Paylocity (Nasdaq: PCTY), a leading U.S. provider of payroll and HR solutions. In addition, Steve also serves as CEO of Blue Marble, an international payroll provider, and as Director of Payescape, a UK payroll provider. He is also an international philanthropist with an interest in promoting unity by and promoting universal education and advocating for the elimination of racism, sexism, nationalism and religious prejudice. He also serves on the board of NCAT, an organization that builds state-of-the art training centers in urban areas. He and his wife have a family foundation which supports over 50 worthy causes worldwide, including programs helping orphans, foster children, refugees and many other people in need.
Steve graduated from University of Illinois in 1987 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. While at the U of I, he often ran barefoot through campus. He is still an avid runner, a member of the Chicago Area Runners Association Hall of Fame and a 3-time winner of the MSE Division of the Chicago Chase Corporate Challenge. Steve was raised Jewish and first heard of the Baháʼí Faith at the Jewish Student Center while a student at U of I. Many years later, he began studying the Baháʼí Faith and declared as a Baháʼí in February, 2015. Three days after declaring as a Baháʼí, a friend recommended that Steve make a film about the Baha’i Faith. Steve immediately began a new career in the film industry. He helped fund and promote the documentaries He Named Me Malala and Rosenwald. He served as Executive Producer for the award-winning documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. Steve produced and released ‘The Gate’, a groundbreaking documentary about the founding of the Baha’i Faith. His latest film, Clouds, about teen musician Zach Sobiech was released in October 2020.
Steve lives in Highland Park, Illinois with his wife, 2 children, 2 dogs and a turtle named Duchess. When he is not working or doing philanthropy, you can often find him guiding at the Baháʼí Temple in nearby Wilmette, Illinois.
To learn more about the Baháʼí House of Worship:
1124 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06107
. 36 West Putnam Avenue,
Greenwich, CT 06830