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Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Australia, 1971 reprint
  • Pages:
  • 140
Go to printed page GO
Pages 122-127

Letter of July 24, 1955

Haifa, Israel,
July 24, 1955
Mr. James Heggie, Secretary,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia and New Zealand.
Dear Bahá’í Brother:
Your letters of July 27, August 5, and November 16, 1954, and January 21, and July 5, 1955, with enclosures, have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He is very happy over the progress which has been made in the area under your Assembly’s jurisdiction during the past year. 123 The news of the purchase of the Hazíratu’l-Quds in Auckland was most welcome. The acquisition of this building is really one of the pre-requisites for the formation of the National Assembly of New Zealand; he hopes that the impetus this has given to the work of the Faith there, combined with the devotion of the Bahá’ís will speed the formation of local Assemblies, which alone constitute the necessary firm foundation for the National Body, a Body which will be one of the direct pillars supporting the International House of Justice. He urges, therefore, your Assembly to give all the teaching help it can to New Zealand; and to encourage the believers there to do their utmost to achieve their goals.
The wonderful spirit the pioneers from Australia and New Zealand have shown is a source of pride to the Guardian. Aleady they have garnered many rich prizes for the Faith in the form of such romantic, remote and inaccessible isles as Tonga, the Solomons and the Society Islands. Their determination, devotion and courage are exemplary in every way; and he hopes they will persevere, and not abandon their posts.
It must be made quite clear to the Bahá’ís that opening a new territory or a new town for that matter, meritorious as it is, is nevertheless only the first move. The consolidation of the Bahá’í work undertaken there is the most important thing of all. Victories are won usually through a great deal of patience, planning and perseverance, and rarely accomplished at a single stroke.
He was very glad to see that your Assembly had promptly gone to the aid of Mr. Blum. Without the support you gave him so generously and quickly, he might well have been forced to abandon this important post, which would have indeed been a great defeat to our work.
He was very happy to receive the Samoan and Tongan pamphlets. However restricted in size, such pamphlets as these are a great asset to the literature of the Faith, and enable the teaching work to progress more rapidly. He hopes that the pioneers will bear this in mind; and if they find any languages that would be of real use to their teaching work, and can get a small pamphlet translated into them, they will endeavour to do so.
As he already cabled you, of the extra 3,000 Dollars which you had left over in the Hazíratu’l-Quds Fund for New Zealand, 124 he wishes you to keep half for the teaching activities carried out under your jurisdiction, and forward the other half to England for the work there, as they are in need of assistance in carrying forward the many important tasks allotted to the British National Spiritual Assembly.
The purchase of the Temple site—reasonable in sum, reasonable in area, and excellent in position—brought great joy to his heart.
He is indeed proud of the achievements of the believers of Australia and New Zealand, and the well-balanced, intelligent and persevering manner in which they go about their business.
He hopes that the private bill you are planning to have passed in the Upper House, and which will give the Bahá’ís legal recognition, will go through successfully. In view of the precedent of the Canadian Parliament when a special Act was passed, legalizing the status of the Bahá’ís in that country, he feels that you should not have much difficulty in Australia.
He is hoping that, after the Riḍván elections, good news will reach him of the formation of many more new Spiritual Assemblies in both Australia and New Zealand. The multiplication of Bahá’í Centers is, at the present stage of the development of the Cause, of the greatest importance. In the first place, it means that news of the coming of Bahá’u’lláh is being made available to a greater number of the population; and in the second place, it broadens the foundation of the national institutions which must elect the International House of Justice. Believers in centres that possess a relatively large voting list should bear in mind that at this time it is highly important and acceptable in the sight of God to disperse and carry the Message to new Centres, both outside the country and within it.
Your Assembly should bear in mind the necessity, in the future at any rate, of having firmly grounded local Assemblies in all of the States of Australia and New Zealand; and also the importance of increasing the representation of the minority races, such as the Aborigines and the Maoris, within the Bahá’í Community. Special effort should be made to contact these people and to teach them; and the Bahá’ís in Australia and New Zealand should consider that every one of them that can be won to the Faith is a precious acquisition.
As he surveys the progress being made throughout the Bahá’í 125 world, he is particularly pleased with that achieved in the Antipodes. The soundness, healthiness and vigour of the Bahá’í Community “down under” is a source of great joy to him, and he feels is an example to the Bahá’ís in other continents of the globe.
He remembers the members of your Assembly and all the dear Bahá’í pioneers and those labouring at home in his prayers in the holy Shrines, and supplicates that you all may be richly blessed, and render the Faith devoted services.
With warm Bahá’í love.
R. Rabbani.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The achievements that have distinguished and enobled the record of services rendered by the valiant, fast expanding, steadily consolidating, richly endowed, highly promising Bahá’í Communities in the Antipodes have brought intense joy to my heart, and have, no doubt, excited the admiration of the members of their sister communities throughout the Bahá’í world. The contribution which, severally and collectively, the organized followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the Australian continent, in New Zealand and in Tasmania, are making towards the progress of the Ten-Year Crusade in so many of its aspects, ever since its inception, is truly exemplary and augurs well for their future development and triumph under the provisions of this momentous Ten-Year Plan.
The steady increase in the number of believers, of isolated centres, groups and assemblies evokes my deep and heartfelt admiration and gratitude. The purchase of the site of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in the Antipodes is a service that has greatly enhanced the prestige of the Faith, and consitutes a historic victory worthy to rank as a distinct milestone in the history of its progressive unfoldment throughout Australasia. The purchase of the Hazíratu’l-Quds in Auckland, as the future headquarters of the New Zealand National Spiritual Assembly, is another accomplishment that merits the highest praise. The opening of the virgin territories assigned, under the Ten-Year Plan, to the elected representatives of these communities has, furthermore, demonstrated the readiness of the members of these communities to speedily and worthily achieve the goals of this dynamic Plan in this particular and vital sphere of collective Bahá’í endeavour. 126 The assistance extended by these same representatives to their brethren in the Indian sub-continent in connection with the translation of Bahá’í literature into the languages allotted to them, under this same Plan, affords, moreover, further evidence of their alacrity, their devotion, their watchfulness in promoting, in every way possible, the manifold interests of their beloved Faith at this crucial stage in its development and consolidation.
Laden with such victories, conscious of the future brightness of their mission, fully relying in the efficacy of that celestial aid which has at no time failed them in the past, it behoves them to rededicate themselves, during the opening months of the last year of the second phase of this world encompassing Crusade, to the tasks they have so splendidly initiated. The scope of their activities, now ranging out far into the South Pacific Ocean, must rapidly widen. Their determination to fulfil their tasks must never for a moment falter. Their vision of the glorious destiny bound up with the triumphant accomplishment of their collective enterprise must remain undimmed. Their willingness to sacrifice unstintingly until every single objective of the Plan has been achieved must, under no circumstances, be allowed to weaken. Their unity and solidarity in the pursuit and attainment of their immediate as well as distant objectives must, at all times, continue unimpaired. The prizes they have won, at the expense of so much sacrifice, in the islands neighbouring the Australian continent, as well as in those lying further from its shores in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, must not, however strenuous the effort required, be jeopardized. The opening of the one remaining island as yet unopened among those alloted to them under the Ten-Year Plan must be speedily undertaken. The translation of Bahá’í literature into the few remaining languages which still require the concentrated attention of their elected representatives must in no wise be neglected. The process of Bahá’í incorporation, constituting one of the most vital features of their collective enterprise, must be accelerated—however formidable the obstacles which stand in their path. The establishment of Bahá’í endowments in the Dominion of New Zealand is yet another responsibility devolving upon their elected national representatives, a responsibility which should be discharged prior to the emergence of an independent national assembly in that distant and promising island. 127
Whilst these immediate goals are being steadily and resolutely pursued, attention should, likewise, be particularly directed to the vital need for the constant multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, as well as to the necessity of increasing, to an unprecedented degree, the number of the avowed adherents of the Faith who can directly and effectively contribute to the broadening of its foundations and the expansion of its nascent institutions. Particularly in the Dominion of New Zealand, where a pillar of the future Universal House of Justice will soon be erected, must a fresh impetus be lent to this vital process which can alone reinforce the foundations on which this projected institution must ultimately rest.
The Community of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the Antipodes is approaching a milestone of great significance in the course of its development through the emergence of this major institution, destined to play a notable part in the evolution of the administrative Order of the Faith in the Pacific Area.
Fully aware of their high and inescapable responsibilities at this crucial stage in the expansion and consolidation of their institutions, challenged and stimulated by the tragic and heartrending tidings reaching them from Bahá’u’lláh’s native land, where a wave of persecution of uncommon severity has swept over His followers in both the Capital and the provinces; conscious and appreciative of the blessing of freedom so cruelly denied their oppressed brethren in the cradle of their Faith; and determined to offset by their exertions the losses sustained by the Faith in that land, the members of this privileged, this valiant and forward marching community must display, in the months immediately ahead, such a spirit of devotion and of self-sacrifice as will outshine the brilliance and glory of their past and present achievements.
Theirs is an opportunity which they can not ignore or neglect. Theirs is a duty which if worthily performed will no doubt draw them closer to the throne of Bahá’u’lláh, and considerably enrich their share of inestimable blessings stored for them in the Abhá Kingdom. May they by their response to the call of the present hour prove themselves worthy of the high mission with which they have been entrusted.