KINSHASA, Democratic Republic Of The Congo — The steel superstructure for the 26-meter-high dome of the national Bahá’í House of Worship in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is nearing completion, marking a significant advance in the construction work.
Houses of Worship are described in the Bahá’í teachings as vital institutions that exemplify in tangible form the integration of worship and service. This reality is becoming ever more apparent in the DRC, both at the site of the temple and throughout that vast country.
Progress on the construction work and glimmerings of the emerging temple’s effect on the spiritual life of surrounding communities is provided in the gallery of images below.
Soon after the concrete structure of the ground floor and gallery level of the temple was completed (top), the structural steel elements needed for the dome superstructure arrived at the site (bottom).
Workers assembled the steel elements on the ground into large segments of the superstructure, which were then lifted into place. Shown here is the installation of the first segment.
The dome structure was raised in three main phases, each comprising a ring of nine segments. This structure rests on the gallery level, anchored to the nine concrete struts that also serve as stairs from the ground floor.
Seen here are the beams at the apex of the dome—some 30 meters above ground level—being installed. Remaining elements to complete the structure are now being added.
The outer walls of the temple’s ground level have also been built. They have been assembled from cinderblocks designed to create a tranquil atmosphere within the temple by allowing air to flow through while damping outside noise.
Work on the gardens and paths surrounding the central edifice has included construction of a fountain, a stream, and a reflecting pool along the approach to the temple.
Views of the reflecting pool and stream.
Construction of a visitors’ center at the entrance of the site was recently completed.
Pictured above is a covered outdoor gathering space next to the visitors’ center that will accommodate large groups of people and provide facilities for community activities.
In other developments at the temple site, a newly launched internship program has been providing young people from different parts of the country with the opportunity to develop their professional skills in fields such as project management, design, accounting, construction, and landscaping, while encouraging them to apply these skills in service to their communities.
Divine, one of the youth participating in the initiative says, “Women do not have as many opportunities in fields such as architecture, logistics, planning, and construction. This program is marvelous because it provides women with an opportunity to advance in these fields while serving alongside their fellow citizens.
“When people serve together, they learn to support and assist one another. As the temple promotes the principles of service and worship in our society, of putting others before oneself, the very character of the country will change.”
The two-month program includes classes facilitated by experienced professionals on and off site, and also includes study sessions in which participants discuss the needs of their communities and how they can be of service to their society.
Seen here is a group of young people enrolled in the program converting a free-standing room on the site into a house.
Before-and-after views of some of the auxiliary structures on the temple site that the youth renovated. Some former participants of the program have, after their return home, identified community spaces in need of repair and renovation, and are collaborating with other young people to pass on what they have learned through the program.
Regular gatherings for prayer are taking place at the temple site, drawing together people of diverse backgrounds and faiths.
People in communities throughout the DRC, inspired by the vision of Bahá’í Houses of Worship—referred to in the Bahá’í writings as a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, meaning “Dawning-place of the Praise of God”—are intensifying their activities toward the common good.