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THE BAHA’I WORLD
communion of the passive worshiper. It cannot afford lasting satisfaction and benefit to the worshiper himself, much less to humanity
in general, unless and until translated and transfused into that dynamic and disinterested service to the cause of humanity which it is
the supreme privilege of the Dependencies of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár to facilitate and promote. Nor will the exertions, no matter how
distinterested and strenuous, of those who within the precincts of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will be engaged in administering the affairs
of the future Bahá’i Commonwealth, fructify and prosper unless they are brought into close and daily communion with those spiritual
agencies centering in and radiating from the central Shrine of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.
. . .
For it is assuredly upon the consciousness of
the efficacy of the Revelation of Bahi’u’llãh, reinforced on one hand by spiritual communion with His Spirit, and on the other by the
intelligent application and the faithful execution of the principles and laws He revealed, that the salvation of a world in travail must
A fundamental principle has thus been given a new application in the development of the Bahá’i community—a principle established
by Bahá’u’lláh, and not found in any prior age.
On October 3 the Guardian thus characterized the Assembly’s action in a cabled message: “Hail historic act signahzing auspicious
conjunction (in) heart (of) North American continent (of the) institutions (of) Uairatu’l-Quds (and) Mashriqu’lAdhkár, (the) twin foci
(of) steadily evolving American Bahi’i community life. (The) former henceforth regarded as national Seat upon which all
administrative channels (of) Bahá’i activity must increasingly converge. (The) latter permanently recognized (as) ordained Source
from which rays (of) spiritual guidance will radiate. Upon (the) vigorous, constant inter-action (of the) dynamic forces which these
complementary institutions embodying administrative machinery and incarnating (the) Soul (of the) Bahá’i community can release
(the) effectual prosecution (of the) Seven Year Plan as well as (the) success (of) ultimate World Mission unquestionably depends. May
community responsible (for the) establishment (of) these nascent institutions progressively contribute (to) acceleration (of) their
growth and derive fullest benefit (from) their eventual fruition.”
“Events of such capital institutional significance,” the Guardian informed the Bahá’is of the West in his general communication dated
December 21, 1939, “as only future happenings, steadily and mysteriously unfolding at the world center of our Faith, can adequately
demonstrate,” were constituted by the transfer of the “sacred remains of the brother and mother of our Lord and Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
to Mount Carmel and their final interment within the hallowed precincts of the Shrine of the Mb.”
That communication, published under title of
The Spiritual Potencies of That Consecrated Spot,
has been one of the blessings
and portents of the Bahá’i year. By that dramatic contrast which is one of the essential characteristics of the Cause of God in all
epochs, we were able to perceive the hallowed and miraculous element of spiritual life in the sacrificial devotion rendered to
Bahá’u’lláh by the Purest Branch and the Most Exalted Leaf, in such complete opposition to the element represented by those who,
having once believed, turn back in denial and betrayal of their trust. Moreover, the Guardian parted for us the veils of mystery
sufficient to enable us to realize that the institutions of the Faith unfold only to the degree that they are nourished by the blood of those
who both know and adore their Author. A divine civilization draws nigh to men as men draw nigh to God.
How mysterious to the materialist is this statement which the Guardian included in the letter:
“. . .
The conjunction of the resting-place of
the Greatest Holy Leaf with those of her brother and mother incalculably reinforces the spiritual potencies of that consecrated Spot
. . .“
Or these words:
.At this troubled stage in world history the association of these three incomparably precious souls who, next to the
three Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, hands, teachers and
administrators of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, in such a potentially powerful spiritual and administrative Center
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
is in itself an event which will release forces that are bound to hasten the emergence in a land which, geographically, spiritually and
administratively, constitutes the heart of the entire planet, of some of the brightest gems of that World Order now shaping in the womb
of this travaihng age.”
It is good for us, dear friends, to pause frequently and realize that the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is a mystery, an ocean of significance and a
sea of creative power, not a creed, not a church, not a civilization alone. Through our capacity to revere the followers who stand high
above ourselves we may, let us hope, draw nearer to that supreme mystery than we can by employing our reason alone.
Finally, the Bahá’i year now drawing to a close has been made significant through the martyrdom of May Maxwell while engaged in
serving the cause of Inter-America teaching at Rio de Janeiro. This event was interpreted by the Guardian in his cablegram of March
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s beloved handmaid, distinguished disciple May Maxwell (is) gathered (into the) glory (of the) Abhá Kingdom. Her
earthly hfe, so rich, eventful, incomparably blessed, (is) worthily ended. To (the) sacred tie her signal services had forged, (the)
priceless honor (of a) martyr’s death (is) now added. (A) double crown deservedly won. (The) Seven Year Plan, particularly (the)
South American campaign, derives fresh impetus (from the) example (of) her glorious sacrifice. Southern outpost (of) Faith greatly
enriched through association (with) her historic resting place destined remain (a) poignant reminder (of the) resistless march (of the)
triumphant army (of) Bahá’u’llah. Advise believers (of) both Americas (to) hold befitting memorial gathering.”
The next day came this cablegram from Ruhiyyih Khánum with its incomparable fragrance of heroic sacrifice and faith:
“Humbly grateful beloved mother answered Guardian’s call, turned southward (and) sacrificed (her) life (for the) Holy Faith. Beg
prayers (her) dacghter may follow her footsteps.”
In the presence of so many and so glorious evidences, testimonies and portents, can we
not glimpse something of the Guardian’s intent as he cabled these words received January 16, 1940: “The fateful forties, pregnant
(for) weal (and) woe (are) ushered in. (The) American believers enter them firmly rooted (in the) fertile soil (of the) administrative
order (and) bountifully nourished (by the) vital sap (of the) animation (of) its institutions, spreading its sheltering shadow (to the)
farthest corners (of the) Western Hemisphere. Centenary (of the) Birth (of the) Faith (is) approaching. Victories unsuspected (are)
within reach (of) community. (The) sooner (they are) achieved, (the) sharper (the) contrast offered (with) distracting miseries
afflicting (a) generation (which) Faith alone can (and) must eventually redeem.”
The newly-elected National Spiritual Assembly, meeting directly after the Convention, had before it the Guardian’s cabled advice
received April 28, 1939: Settlement (of the) Central American republics (is) next step (in) progressive, systematic penetration (of)
Latin America. Upsurge (of) Bahá’u’lláh’s impelling Spirit can not, will not, be stemmed (nor) impeded. Methodical advance along
(the) line traced (by) pen (of) ‘Abdu’l-Baha irresistible. Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba,
Dominica (and) Haiti immediate objectives. Though politically unsettled, religiously intolerant, socially backward (and) climatically
inhospitable, these unexplored territories hold forth inestimable prizes (for) audacious adventures (in the) path (of) Bahá’i service.
Dearly-beloved Martha’s unrivalled experience, indomitable faith (and) indefatigable labors will soon reinforce (the) powers released
(for) contemplated campaign. Task admittedly laborious, hour laden with fate, privilege incomparable, precious divinely-promised aid
unfailing, reward predestined immeasurable. Appeal all believers, white and Negro alike, (to) arise (and) assume rightful
responsibilities. Urge prolongation (of) sessions (of) Convention (to) enable delegates (to) exercise (their) inalienable right (to)
dehberate (and) formulate recommendations designed (to) aid incoming National Assem
THE BAHA’L WORLD
bly resolutely (to) prosecute (this) momentous enterprise. Fervor (of) prayers inten sified.
In the light of this message, and the opportunities afforded by the remarkable progress in Temple construction during the two previous
years, the Assembly prepared and reported the following plan of action for the third year of the Seven Year Plan:— Now the National
after studying the recommendations of the delegates and the reports of committees, presents to the American Bahá’i community the
schedule of tasks deemed vitally important for the third year of the Seven Year Plan, the 96th year of the Bahá’i Era.
laid before the believers is $150,000.00. Of this,
is required for International and Administrative
Activities, including property maintenance and committee budgets other than teaching; to be devoted to teaching in North and South
America, $40,000; and for continuance of Temple construction through the Bahiyyih Khánum Fund, the amount necessary to maintain
the schedule is $75,000.
These activities include the following items: Training of teachers; Spanish correspondence; bulletins in
English and Spanish; a Reference Library; translation and publication of Bahã’i literature in Spanish; projects for settlement of new
countries; publicity for Latin-American press.
Teaching in North America.
Under this general title the American believers are responsible for the maintenance of a large
number of facilities and activities. These must be properly coordinated and made to function vigorously in concentration of effort
upon the common aim. Among the items to be noted are:
A. The development of administrative communities in the areas which still lack a Spiritual Assembly.
B. World’s Fair Exhibits. These are in active operation, and are producing lists of interested persons.
C. State Fair Exhibits. A traveling exhibit is in preparation, and schedule of Fairs is being developed to the extent of our financial
D. Teaching literature—a field which can be greatly developed. It includes special bulletins, study outlines, the series of teaching
literature pamphlets, the use of THE BAs-tA’I
Vol. VII, etc.
E. Establishment of Latin-American activities in the United States and Canada. The Latin-American communities in many of our
cities offer a remarkable teaching opportunity, and a beginning is to be made during the current year.
F. Special projects by the National Teaching Committee.
G. Development of groups and isolated believers by the Regional Teaching Committees.
H. Radio. Publicity.
Local Assembly extension teaching.
Recently purchased historical site where the four Bahã’i martyrs of ‘Iraq, Iran, lie buried.
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
K. Summer Schools.
L. Bahi’i amity. The function of the race amity activities of former years is to be enlarged in order to fulfill the
Guardian’s instructions concerning all minorities.
M. Youth activities. Child training.
IV. Temple Construction. The annual budget contemplates the completion of the exterior decoration by 1942, and the
success of this schedule of operations represents a vital aspect of the Seven Year Plan. For the coming years, the
following task is assigned:
A. Completion of gallery contract.
B. Completion of first story models contract.
C. Completion of first story molds contract.
D. Completion of purchase of quartz needed for first story.
E. Begin casting and application of external decoration to first story. This item has paramount importance, for delay in
beginning this part of the work would interfere with the schedule adopted for the Seven Year Plan.
Progress of Temple Work
By August, 1939, had been completed the first great achievement in Temple construction under the Seven Year Plan—
the exterior decoration of the gallery section. This is one of the most beautiful units of the entire scheme, and its
completion has enhanced the appearance of the House of Worship incomparably.
Without waiting for the accumulation of all the funds required for the first story level, the Assembly provided sufficient
funds to the Temple Trustees in August to make possible a contract calling for the exterior decoration of the nine first
story pylons to one-third their height. This work was finished well before the date of December 31, 1939, which the
contract called for.
The current year has seen likewise the completion of the contracts for models and molds required for exterior
decoration of the first story, the purchase of the quartz needed for casting the first story units, and the purchase of steel
and wire also required.
This means that all the preliminary work has been done leading up to the casting and application of the units on the first
story, the final stage in this part of the Temple construction; the other work to be accom plishe
being the construction of the external stairs which are to rest upon the sloping deck of the foundation; some metal
work, the nine entrance doors and grill work on certain windows; and such treatment of grounds and the interior of the
edifice as may be decided on conclusion of the Seven Year Plan.
The National Spiritual Assembly laid before the Bahi’i community in February, 1940, a plan, approved and endorsed
by Shoghi Elfendi, calling for the funds needed to place the contract for the casting and application of the first story
units, $95,000, plus $30,000 the estimated cost of the stairs, less the sums already expended amounting to $19,183.22,
or a total of $105,816.78. Of this amount the Assembly reported that $50,000 would be required by April, 1940, the
balance being payable during 1941. The essential purpose of this plan was to make possible the completion of all the
work called for under the Seven Year Plan by 1942, two years ahead of schedule.
The Guardian’s approval, and his participation in the plan, was reported in a letter dated December 27, 1939:
“The Plan which your Assembly has suggested to raise the sum of fifty thousand dollars by next April, which will
enable you to place the necessary contracts for the final completion of the entire First Story ‘of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár,
meets with my unqualified approval. It was specially in order to initiate and encourage the progress of such a plan that I
felt impelled to pledge the sum of one thousand pounds in the memory of these two glorious souls who, apart from the
Founders of the Faith and its Exemplar, tower, together with the Greatest Holy Leaf, above the rank and file of the
“The interval separating us from that date is admittedly short. The explosive forces which lie dormant in the
international field may, ere the expiry of these fleeting months, break out in an eruption that may prove the most fateful
that mankind has experienced. It is within the power of the organized body of the American believers to further
demonstrate the imperturbability of their faith, the serenity of their confidence and the unyielding tenacity of their
THE BAHA’i WORLD
At the time of this writing about one-half the $50,000 has been made available, and the continuance of the construction work is
The Penetration of Latin America
Nothing in the history of the Faith in America compares with the response which has been made to the Guardian’s appeal for
settlement of pioneer teachers in Latin- American countries.
By March, 1940, it is possible to record the following impressive list of American teachers either settled in or on their way to various
countries in Central and South America. In addition, Spanish translations of a number of Bahá’i texts are either completed in
manuscript or on the press for publication; and plans for additional settlements as well as the return of Mrs. Frances Benedict Stewart
to South America for a prolonged stay are nearly completed.
Mathew Kaszab, Nicaragua.
Mrs. Louise Caswell, Mrs. Cora Hitt Oliver, Panama.
Gerrard Sluter, Guatemala.
Mrs. Amelia Ford, Mrs. Gayle Woolson, Costa Rica.
John Eichenauer, Jr., Clarence Iverson, San Salvador.
Antonio Roca, Honduras.
Mr. and Mrs. John Shaw, Jamaica.
Mr. and Mrs. Philip Marangella, Cuba.
Margaret Lentz, Dominican Republic.
Lenora Holsapple, Brazil.
Wilf rid Barton, Uruguay.
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Laws, Chile.
Mr. and Mrs. Emeric Sala, Priscilla Rhodes, Venezuela.
John Stearns, Ecuador.
Thus a vast and far-reaching project has been firmly established, its aim the realization of the Guardian’s plea for Bahá’i groups in all
countries of Central and South America by the end of the first century of the Bahá’i Era. Mrs. Stewart’s second journey to South
America had great results in forming permanent groups in Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and in Chile. The Spiritual Assembly of
Mexico City is taking an active part in the important work of Spanish translation as well as in extending the Cause in Mexico. The
visit made by Mrs. Thomas
Collins to Mexico City during the past year forged firmer bonds of unity and cooperation between the Bahá’is of that
city and their co-workers in North America. Finally, the element of spiritual sacrifice and martyrdom has been brought
into the mighty task in the passing of Mrs. May Maxwell.
Consolidation of Teaching Work
in North America
A most powerful impetus has also been given to the teaching activities maintained during the year by the National and
Regional Teaching Committees, the local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals who have served as pioneers or
The record of pioneer settlements arranged during the past two years reveals the fact that all parts of the United States
and Canada now reflect the light of the new Revelation.
Honor Kempton, Betty Becker, Mrs. Joy Allen, Alaska.
Mr. and Mrs. A. K. Kalantar, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, Delaware.
Helen Grilling, Nevada.
Mr. and Mrs. D. T. McNally, Rhode Island.
Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Bidwell, Mrs. H. Emogene Hoagg, Miss Maud Mickle, Miss Wheeler, South Carolina.
Mrs. Marguerite Reimer Sears, Lloyd Byars, Utah.
Neysa Grace Bissell, C. Grant, Vermont.
Mr. and Mrs. 1-lilbert Dahl, Harold Hunt, Mr. Brandon, West Virginia.
Mr. and Mrs. Moore, Virginia.
Martha Fettig, Alabama.
Rezi Sunshine, Arkansas.
Marvin Newport, Iowa.
Mrs. Olivia Kelsey, Kentucky.
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Babo, Mrs. Dorothy Logelin, Pearl Berk, Louisiana.
Mrs. Marguerite Bruegger, North Dakota.
Mrs. Dwight Edson, Mrs. Kathryn Frank- land, Fred Kluss, Mr. Brandon, Texas.
Nayan Hartfield, Missouri, Mrs. Lorol Jackson, Montana.
Mrs. Beulah Proctor, Mr. and Mrs. G. Wade, Nova Scotia.
Rowland Estall, Manitoba.
Doris Skinner, Alberta.
Mrs. Kathryn Moscrop, Saskatchewan.
CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES
The activities of these consecrated teachers, the development of study groups, and the preparation of new groups for the formation of a
Spiritual Assembly, are reported in detail in the accompanying annual report of the National Teaching and the Regional Teaching
Committees. What emerges is the vital fact that the entire Bahã’i community has become penetrated with a new quahty of vigor and a
new determination to lay strong foundations for the new order ere the old crashes to the ground.
The many activities which, under various Committees, make up the teaching work in its entirety, can only be grasped if we follow the
Reports from all Committees. A word might be added here about the Bahá’i Exhibits maintained at the Expositions conducted at San
Francisco, New York and Toronto. In the beauty of the exhibits, the vast amount of hterature taken by visitors, the duration of the
effort and the contribution made by the many believers who gave their time to be in attendance day by day, these World Fairs, and the
Canadian National Exposition, mark a new and higher standard of participation in teaching activity in connection with public
enterprises. The experience gained by the Bahá’is themselves is perhaps no less important for the future than the interest aroused by
the several hundred thousand printed summaries of the Faith given to inquirers.
By March 1, 1940, authorization for formation of a local Spiritual Assembly on April 21 had been voted by the National Assemby to
groups in the following cities:
Waukegan and Madison, Wisconsin; Santa Rosa, Big Bear Lake, Beverly Hills and Burbank, California; West Haven, Connecticut;
Omaha, Nebraska; and Atlanta, Georgia. Apphcations had been received, not yet acted on, from Santa Barbara, California, and
Brookline, Massachusetts. These eleven new Assemblies will increase the number of local Assemblies in North America to 96.
Eighty- eight Assemblies were elected on April 21, 1939, since when the removal of members to other cities and other reasons have
dissolved the Assemblies of Moncton, New Brunswick, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Toledo, Ohio. From early in April, 1939 to March
10, 1940, a total of three hundred
and sixty-eight enrollments were reported by the local Assemblies, some of these representing transfers of membership from one
community to another. The report from Los Angeles was
from New York 36, from Chicago 22 and from Toronto 19. These
figures do not list those who enrolled as isolated believers or members of groups.
The guidance and strength which the American Bahá’is have received from Shoghi Effendi have enabled them to understand the true
character of these passing days, anticipate the trend of world affairs, and concentrate upon the most important spiritual task.
Space permits the recording of only some of the passages which during the year have been published in BAHA’i NEWS in their
entirety for the believers.
“The initial phase of the teaching work operating under the Seven Year Plan has at long last been concluded. They who pushed it
forward have withstood the test gloriously. By their acts, whether as teachers or administrators, they have written a glorious page in
the struggle for the laying of a continent- wide foundation for the administrative Order of their Faith. At this advanced stage in the
fulfillment of the purpose to which they have set their hand there can be no turning back, no halting, no respite. To launch the bark of
the Faith, to implant its banner, is not enough. Support, ample, organixed and unremitting, should be lent, designed to direct the course
of that work and to lay an unassailable foundation for the fort destined to stand guard over that banner.
“The National Spiritual Assembly, the National Teaching Committee, the Regional and local teaching committees, no less than the
itinerant teachers, should utilize every possible means calculated to fan the zeal, enrich the resources and insure the solidity and
permanency of the work, of those who, actuated by so laudable and shining a spirit of self-sacrifice, have arisen to face the hazards
and perils of so holy and historic an adventure. Indeed every believer, however humble and inexperiencd, should sense the obligation
to play his or her part in a mission that involves so very deeply the des-
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