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“These sessions followed the indicated policy of presenting historical and religious topics in line with Bahá’i Faith. This practice
seems to bring a large attendance of folk from the valley, which is, in turn, one indication of the fairly widespread recognition given to
this center of study. As in the past, public meetings were held at the county seat of Santa Rosa, twenty-five miles away.
“The session of July 4-16, 1938, offered two courses,
The Unfoldment of World Civilization
The Rise and Expansion of
The first defines the New, and
the second entails an account of the old Dispensation.
“For the first course, the concepts of civilization and culture were analyzed in an ethnological sense, as well as in the
light of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s distinction between material and divine civilization. The forms of culture, its laws and
institutions were defined; and the evidences of cycles set forth. Our time as the period of maturity for the human race,
and the realization by man of mankind’s oneness was affirmed as the cardinal message of Bahá’i Faith and the spiritual
basis of the World Order of Bahã’u’lláh.
rivals, setting the stage for the divine Manifestation of the Christ. The early spirit of Christianity was accented; the
primitive Church was described; the development of theocracy was traced; and the significance of the period known as
‘The Dark Ages’ was told. At the close of this cycle, the trend is towards the secularization of thought, the rise of an
independent science, and the increasing division of Christendom into sectarianism and modernisms. The culmination is
the divorce between religion and daily life.
Exhibit in Public Library, Yonkers, N. Y.
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
“Friends from Los Angeles to Vancouver,
Canada, and from as far East as Maine collaborated on the teaching staff. Among
them were Mr. George Latimer, Mrs. Charles
Bishop, Miss Charlotte Linfoot, Miss May
McKenna, Professor Forsyth Ward, Mrs.
Rouan Carter, Mr.
Yazdi, Mr. Irvin
Somerhalder, Mr. and Mrs. Seto, Mr. and
Mrs. Schopfiocher, Miss Virginia Orbison,
Mrs. Joyce Lyon Dahl, Miss Marion Holley,
Mrs. Beulah Lewis.
“Miss Agnes Alexander of Honolulu shared her pilgrim’s visit with the friends. For years she has been serving the
Cause in Japan, and visited the School en route home
—the long way around. Another traveler was Mr. Mark Tobey, on leave of absence from Dartington Hall, Devonshire,
England. His courses on art appreciation stressed the relation of beauty to life—which is not new
—and of the artist to the community— which is new, necessitating as it does the use of concepts inherent in the
Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. The theme was continued by Mr. Tobey in his talks of the following summer.
“In 1939, the School gained a week, July
2-23. The first course, The Spiritual Unfoldment of Humanity, posited religion as the source of mankind’s creativeness.
Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá’i Faith were studied as progressive Revelations of one Religion from God,
established by His Prophets. To the Bahá’i Faith, the last in point of time, it is given to establish God’s Kingdom on
“The second course, Bridges of Human Relationship, treated the sciences as ways of approaching man and the world.
Physical science, political science, sociology, and psychology were searched for their contributions to human welfare,
and their points of contact with spiritualized man. Race relations and religion were recreated in the light of Bahá’i
“An innovation at Geyserville in
was the specialized activities for the youth, summarized as The Young Ba/nfl in
the World Today, and held in conjunction with the regular session. Under the direction of Marion Holley, with Virginia
Orbison and Marzieh Carpenter as colleagues, a group activity was maintained. Its constructive
value can be sounded by a letter of those summer days:
‘What I really learned is that the human animal responds to environment. We created one in which the young people could work
work! Besides two classes a day, there were afternoon projects daily, resulting in newspaper publicity three times,
contacts (about twenty-five), a pageant which was really effective, the best public meeting of all, a symphony night with comments,
decorations for the dance, entertainment and a meeting for six or seven visiting youth over one weekend, and many contributions to
the regular session by way of reading aloud and discussion. Also, the whole class came down to give the School a demonstration of
method, for my talk at the regular session. Yes, I learned about the human being—but I also learned that it is awfully strenuous.
The School maintained by the British Bahá’is in 1939 has been reported by the National Spiritual Assembly:
“The Bahá’i Summer School is the most important institution in England for teaching the Cause of Bahá’u’llIh. More ambitious in
every way than the three previous ones, the fourth Summer School brought correspondingly greater and more encouraging results.
More than a hundred people visited it, indicating its steadily increasing interest to both believers and enquirers. The spirit of real
friendship, sympathy, and understanding engendered amongst such a widely diverse group of individuals, was convincing proof of the
unifying power of the Teachings of BahI’u’lláh.
“The School was opened by Lady Blomfield, who, as always, brought the spirit of the Master close to each one of us by her vivid and
beautiful descriptions of many of the precious incidents which occurred during His stay in her house, in London. A cable was then
sent to our beloved Guardian, to which he sent an inspiring reply.
“The lectures were of high standard and though comprehensive, followed an orderly course, beginning with a survey of the nature of
the present world struggle, then tracing the growth and development of man as an individual and mankind as a collective body,
presenting the main problems con-
THE BAHA’I WORLD
fronting the world today and offering the solutions of Bahá’u’lláh, outlining the Bahá’i vision of a New World Order and culminating
in the presentation of the Word of Bahá’u’lláh as the focus of all power.
“Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Baha have emphasized the importance of art in the hfe of man. Bahá’u’lláh tells us that sanctified and
detached souls ‘constitute the animating force through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest,’ and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
tells us that the Sun of Truth, shining on the mind of the artist, is mirrored forth in great works of art. Therefore an experiment was
made this year in inviting a larger number of non-Bahá’i speakers than previously, to lecture on their own specialized branches of art
the dance, drama, music and the crafts. The result was strikingly significant. At least four different lecturers came to the conclusion
that in their particular field art had reached a standstill owing to the poverty of human creativeness
—a convincing proof that the artistic spirit needs the new creative impulse of Bahi’u’llãh.
“The peak of Summer School was reached at bank holiday week-end, August 5-7, when the greatest attendance was
recorded and the radiance of the gathering was so apparent as to arouse comment. It was during this week-end that the
National Spiritual Assembly received its Incorporation Certificate. Archdeacon Townshend’s challenging book The
Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of India and Burma, Mr. W.
Grant, late editor of the Rangoon Times and a proven
friend of the Faith, Chief Jono Kenyatta of Kenya, the eminent anthropologist, were among the distinguished visitors.
Mr. Wm. Kenneth Christian and Miss Virginia Setz were welcome visitors from America. Mr. Christian gave an
interesting description of the Summer Schools in America.
The Souvenir Feast of Unity of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá observed annually at Evergreen Cabin, West Englewood, New Jersey and celebrated
this year 1939 on Saturday, June 24.
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
“The setting of School was most delightful. Beautiful spacious grounds, with ample facilities for games, in the heart of a lovely
countryside; an ideal place for relaxation and for study.
“Most of those present must have been conscious of the nearness of the final stages of the world struggle. They must have had too,
intimations of the greatness of the privilege, and of the responsibility, of being identified with a nascent world faith in an age of doubt
and fear. Summer School is a growing, consolidating institution, becoming established in a rapidly crumbling world. It has provided
once again an incentive to activity and cooperation among the Bahâ’i communities. ‘We shall make efforts to maintain
The second annual session of the School founded by Mr. and Mrs. Bolton at Yerrinbool, New South Wales, has been described by the
School Committee as follows:
“The second Bahá’i Summer School in Australia was held at ‘Bolton Place,’ Yerrinbool, N. S. W., from January 7th to January 15th,
1939. It was most gratifying to see the increased numbers over last year. Friends from distant cities commenced arriving at Yerrinbool
on January 7th and by 11 a. m. on Sunday, January 8th, all friends from afar and locally had congregated at ‘Bolton Place.’ At 11:30 a.
m. the Chairman, Stanley Bolton, called all to attention, asking Mr. 0. Whitaker to say the prayer, ‘For All Nations.’ Mrs. Mariette
Bolton extended a welcome to all present. The following cable was then joyously read from our Beloved Guardian:
‘Assure attendants Summer School special prayers success urge intensely study teachings deepen spirit Bahá’i fellowship extend
“Letters of greetings were then read from the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand, the local Spiritual Assembly
of Sydney, Mr. and Mrs. Hyde Dunn, the Australian pioneers, Miss Margaret Stevenson, Miss E. Blundell, and Miss D. Burns and
Miss F. Dc Lisle of Auckland, New Zealand, Mrs. A. Miller of Perth, Western Australia, Miss Greta Lamprill and Miss Jensen of
Hobart, Tasmania, Mrs. M. Dixon and Mrs. Wheeler of Melbourne, Miss Effie
Baker of Victoria and Mrs. Maysie Almond of Adelaide, South Australia.
“The Chairman then called upon Mrs. Dewing of Auckland, New Zealand, Miss Dorothy Dugdale and Miss Ethel Dawe of Adelaide.
These three ladies extended personal love and greetings from their respective communities. The meeting of welcome then closed with
a prayer for unity after which all gathered together for a community luncheon.
“Sunday afternoon, January 8th, at 2:30 p. m., all the friends with the residents of the local community assembled at the Yerrinbool
Public Hall to listen to a lecture given by Mrs. 0. Routh, the subject being
Although a very hot
day everyone was most attentive to the Message. The Chairman for the afternoon, Mr. 0. Whitaker, then extended to everyone present
a welcome to attend the Summer School sessions. After the lecture Bahá’i literature was distributed, after which all assembled outside
the hall for a photograph.
“Commencing on Monday morning, January 9th, and continuous until January 15th, the program arranged by the Yerrinbool Bahá’i
Summer School Committee, was followed. A number of the friends from all over Australia and New Zealand who were unable to
attend the school most generously contributed by sending in papers to be read which were enjoyed to the fullest extent. Those sending
in papers were Mr. Miller, Mr. David Miller, Miss Gretta Lamprell, Miss E. Blundell, Mr. 0. Whitaker, Miss M. Rowling, Miss Dc
Lisle, Mrs. M. Almond, Mrs. M. Dixon, Miss Burns.
“The sessions opened each morning at 9:30 a. m. with 15 minutes for devotions followed by the subjects for 2 hours.
“On Monday evening, January 9th, the friends visited the home of one of the local community at which time all details of program
were discussed followed by prayer. On Tuesday afternoon, January 10th, at the invitation of an investigator, the friends journeyed to
Mittagong, 7 miles from Yerrinbool, where they had been invited to attend a conference of the Student Christian Movement held at
Frensham College, one of the State’s leading Oolleges for ladies. There
THE BAHA’ WORLD
were three hundred in attendance and the Bahá’is were invited to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dams of Bowral where they had invited a
number of friends, 20 in number, among them being a noted clergy and a representative of the local newspaper. Questions and
answers were the topics of the evening’s discussion.
“On Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p. m. all the friends gathered at the home of one of the local community to hsten to a radio
broadcast by Miss Ethel Dawe, one of our attendants at the Summer School. In the evening a round table discussion took place
followed by prayers. On Friday evening,
January 13th, the local community held a social function in their Hall to which all the Bahá’is were invited. All had a most enjoyable
evening in spite of excessively hot weather. On Sunday morning at 10 a. m. the local children were all invited to ‘Bolton Place’
regular Rose Garden Sunday School. The visiting Bahá’is spoke to the children. On Sunday afternoon a community picnic was held at
which 63 were present. A real Bahã’i community spirit was demonstrated and all enjoyed themselves with peace, love and harmony.
This concluded the Bahá’i Summer School for 1939 which in every way showed an increase on our previous year.”
THE INTERNATIONAL BAHA’t BUREAU
HE maintenance of this Bahâ’i center has been a signal spiritual victory for the Faith, one achieved by Mrs. Anne
Lynch who under apparently insuperable difficulty has continued to discharge its functions with heroic courage.
One by one its normal areas of contact and correspondence have been cut off by the international difficulties, but the
Bureau has concentrated the important task of printing translations of Bahá’i books and pamphlets and at the same time
has served not only visitors from other lands who came to the Bureau but also those who were still able to
communicate by letter. Furthermore, during the year ending April, 1940, it produced the first Bahá’i publication in the
In 1939 the Bureau brought out a German translation of Bahd’u’lldh and the New Era by
E. Esslemont, making
available the latest revised text which had been in process of publication in another country of Europe until Bahá’i
activities were batned. Copies of this important work were distributed far and wide, and those obtained by the
American Publishing Committee have made possible a number of valuable teaching opportunities both in North and
In 1940 the Bureau issued the Polish trans latio
made by Lidia Zamenhof of the same work, after solving innumerable problems in a miraculous way. Among the 17,000 young men
of Polish nationality interned in Switzerland copies of this translation were given wide circulation through the forty-eight Camp
Libraries maintained for these internees. Two copies of the book were presented to each of these Libraries.
The Swiss translation of a pamphlet entitled
made possible by the donation given by a Bahá’i of
Zurich, Leo Bernhard, brings one more of the world’s language groups into the orbit of the sun of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. The
pamphlet, prepared after correspondence with the Guardian, consists of a compilation on the history and teachings of the Faith,
preceded by an introductory statement written by Mr. Semle.
A large number of inquiries were received after the first publicity on this pamphlet appeared in a paper of Zurich.
The Bureau in 1940 also mimeographed and distributed widely a number of Tablets and passages from Bahá”i writings translated into
French, German and Russian. A monthly teaching bulletin for German-reading Swiss has been maintained.
CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES
DONATION OF LAND IN SOUTHERN PALESTINE
DONATION of property made by Natib Halabi has been transferred to the Palestine Branch of the American
National Spiritual Assembly. Mr. Halabi, at the time Secretary of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of Damascus,
wished to present a tract of approximately 10,000 sq. metres to the Cause, and at the Guardian’s request had the
property recorded for ownership by the Palestine Branch.
In previous volumes of this biennial record the origin and development of the Palestine Branch of the American
Assembly has been described. It holds title to a number of tracts in the vicinity of the Shrines on Mount Carmel
purchased by individual American believers for the protection of the Faith and transferred to this Bahá’i religious
society administered by the Guardian as its recorded agent and representative.
THE WORLDWIDE BAHA’i COMMUNITY
of spiritual reality at this time of world destruction and world renewal may well ponder the fact that
followers of Bahá’u’lláh by 1940 were to be found in more than sixty countries of East and West. Swiftly the universal
character of this Faith is being demonstrated by the universality of its membership. In many of these countries the
Bahá’i community is small and weak in numbers, in others it has attained a certain degree of power and experience for
The testimony afforded by the spread of Bahá’i literature is most impressive. By 1940
E. Esslemont had been translated into thirty- five languages. Furthermore it has been transcribed into Braille texts
for the blind in English, Esperanto and Japanese.
Incorporated or legally recognized National Spiritual Assemblies exist in North America, Egypt, the British Isles, India
and Burma. Incorporated local Spiritual Assemblies existed by April, 1940, in twenty- seven cities of North America,
and in Sydney, Auckland, Adelaide, Poona, Bombay, Daidanav, Mandalay, Rangoon, Calcutta, Delhi and Karachi.
Plans for the incorporation of at least eight other local Assemblies were also under way in the United States and Canada
which can be reported in the next biennial record. Most of the Central and South American countries now have Bahá’is.
A true world commonwealth is coming into being. No one can survey the vast number of signs and evidences of its
gathering power and its unified spirit without a
feeling of reverence and elation that such a Cause actually exists on the earth. Though the evidences, examined one by
one, appear trivial in comparison to activities and undertakings of the old order, nevertheless their combined weight is
the very essence of proof to the sincere that Bahi’u’lláh has revivified mankind and given the human soul new life and
As Shoghi Effendi wrote in
The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lldh:
“Let no one, while this System is in its infancy, misconstrue its character, belittle its significance or misrepresent its
purpose. The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this
day. The Source from which it derives its inspiration is no one less than Bahá’u’lláh Himself. Its shield and defender
are the embattled hosts of the Abhá Kingdom. Its seed is the blood of no less than twenty thousand martyrs who have
offered up their lives that it may be born and flourish. The axis round which its institutions revolve is the authentic
provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’lBahâ. Its guiding principles are the truths which He Who is the
unerring Interpreter of the teachings of our Faith has so clearly enunciated in His public addresses throughout the West.
The laws that govern its operation and limit its functions are those which have been expressly ordained in the Kitáb-i-
Aqdas. The seat round which its spiritual, its humanitarian and administrative activities will cluster are the
Mashriqu’l— Adhkár and its Dependencies. The pillars that sustain its authority and buttress its
THE BAHA’T WORLD
in Window of Red Bank Red Bank, N.
Register, the Local Paper of
Temple Model Displayed by Louhelen Summer School at the Flint, Michigan,
Temple Model on Exhibition in a store in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Temple Model Displayed
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
structure are the twin institutions of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice. The central, the underlying aim which
animates it is the establishment of the New World Order as adumbrated by Bahá’u’lláh. The methods it employs, the standard it
inculcates, incline it to neither East nor West, neither Jew nor Gentile,
Bahã’i year now drawing to a close has witnessed the stage of definite crisis in human affairs, the vanishing of hopes to avert
catastrophe by human power, a great progress in the achievement of the Seven Year Plan, the Guardian’s inspiring action in
associating the revered name of the Greatest Holy Leaf with Temple construction, his renewed and stirring call for pioneers in the
teaching field, and his spiritual gift and blessing to all American Bahá’is through the general letter dated December 25, 1938. Such
events and conditions, more sharply contrasting the old order with the new, make us realize that North America has become the
theatre in which is being enacted a scene of transcendent importance in the majestic unfoldment of God’s Faith upon earth.
To attain a full inward realization of that truth, to fit ourselves, individually and collectively, for service to the Divine Will at the
turning point in human history, taking our stand entirely within the spirit and activity of the Faith and leaving behind the false hopes
and doomed desires of the worldly life—this, indeed, constitutes the essence of the significance of the year that ends; and the
historical record of that period has real value only as it may contribute to our capacity for deeper experience, purer vision and more
vahant action. History, to the Bahá’i, is not a tie with past human limitations but an increasing possibility to attain a future conforming
to the Will of God.
This Bahá’i year was born in the response made by the believers assembled at the last Convention to the Guardian’s words, “draw
nigh unto Bahá’u’lláh that He may draw
neither rich nor poor, neither white nor colored. Its watchword is the unification of the human race; its standard the ‘Most Great
Peace’; its consummation the advent of that golden millenium—the Day when the kingdoms of this world shall have become the
Kingdom of God Himself, the Kingdom of Bahã’u’lláh.”
nigh unto them,” to Shoghi Effendi’s presentation of locks of Bahá’u’lláh, to the cablegram reporting the ascension of the Holy
Mother, Munirih Khánum, and to the sudden and unexpected death of Mrs. Grace Ober while reporting her teaching activities.
The National Spiritual Assembly as its fundamental action and policy for the year reported a general plan based upon the Guardian’s
cablegram of July 4, 1937, outlining the five successive steps necessary for completion of the Temple work, and including a Teaching
budget and plan appealing for that “more burning enthusiasm”
. . .
and “higher sense of solidarity” which the Guardian had evoked.
For continuance of Temple construction the Assembly established a budget item of $75,000.00, one-half the estimated cost of the
exterior decoration of the first story.
For Teaching activities in North and South America, an item of $30,000 was included in the budget. Setting forth the teaching policy
as adopted in consultation with the Teaching Committee, the Assembly published in BAHA’i NEWS for July, 1938, a statement
emphasizing settlement by pioneers, the development of definite projects, concentration by Regional Teaching Committees on isolated
believers, groups and study classes, the extension of local Assembly teaching, and a call for individual initiative under administrative
The Inter-America Committee was extended, its functions more clearly defined, and necessary funds allotted for Mrs. Frances
Stewart’s journey to South America, the re A
SEMBLY OF THE BAHA’tS OF T
UNITED STATES AND CANADA 193 8-1939
suits of which have been so fruitful to the Cause.
A schedule of meetings was adopted which included one new city, Knoxville, Tennessee, and two established Bahá’i
Centers never previously visited, Urbana, Illinois, and Los Angeles, with plans for public meetings and regional
conferences in each.
Some of the more important incidents of the year are briefly presented as follows:— Evidences of Progress
The Assembly Roll for the year as published in BAHA’f NEWS reported the recognition of eight new Assemblies and
the re-establishment of two former ones. The new Assemblies are: Glendale, Arizona; Sacramento, California;
Moncton, New Brunswick; Toronto, Ontario; Maywood, Illinois; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
and St. Lambert, Quebec. Rochester, New York, and Topeka, Kansas, regained their Assembly status.
Even more significant in the Divine Plan was the formation of a Spiritual Assembly at Mexico City by a community of
believers, all natives of that country, the first signal victory won by the Inter-America Commit-
tee. Mr. Pedro Espinosa has been invited to attend the 1939 Convention as the guest of the National Spiritual Assembly, thus creating
a closer bond with our co-workers in Mexico.
To contribute to the deepening of our spiritual life, two departments have been conducted in BAHA’i NEWS this year, “The Charter
of the New World Order,” prepared by Mrs. Dorothy Baker, and “Draw Nigh Unto Bahá’u’liáh,” compiled by Mrs. Della Quinlan.
The moving picture film of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá taken in Brooklyn during 1912, carefully preserved ever since by Mr. Roy Wilhelm, has
been placed in the custody of the Archives Committee.
A translation of the French footnotes in
made by Dr. and Mrs. Perigord of Los Angeles, with the approval of
the Guardian, is being printed as a supplement to that volume, the cost having been met by a generous special donation.
The Guardian, who approved the reprinting of
some years ago, has recently advised certain revisions before a
new edition appears.
The fund of $1,000 set aside for the
Some of the Bahá’is attending the annual convention of the Bahá’is of the British Isles, London, 1939.
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
Memorial to Keith Ransom-Kehler in Isphahan has been transmitted to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran through Shoghi
Effendi, as conditions in Iran now appear to make it possible to proceed with the construction. The design, made by the late Myron
Potter of Cleveland, was illustrated some years ago in BAHA’f NEws and also in one volume of THE BAHA’i
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