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High Endeavours: Messages to Alaska

  • Author:
  • Various

  • Source:
  • Alaska, 1976 edition
  • Pages:
  • 79
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Pages 35-38

(42) June 30, 1957

(42) June 30, 1957
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Alaska
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer the letters received, with enclosure, from the Assembly’s Recording Secretary and from the Secretary, and dated as follows: May 4, 7, 29 and June 11.
He is very happy to see the eagerness with which this new historic Body has embarked upon its tasks, and he wishes you to know that he is particularly pleased with the Alaska Community. He admires the lively spirit animating it and which indeed has animated it for years—the spirit of optimism and joyous service, and its determination and courage. He has recently heard many fine things about the friends there and the work they are doing from Mrs. Florence Mayberry, all of which have encouraged him to cherish the very highest hopes for the future of the work in that vast territory.
He hopes your Assembly will devote special, constant attention to encouraging the friends in their teaching work, and facilitate their tasks. As the new National Assemblies are being formed, he feels it incumbent upon him to issue a word of warning to avoid rules and regulations and tying the believers’ work up in red tape. Over-administration can be even worse for the Faith at this time than under-administration. The believers are, for the most part, young in the Cause, and if they make mistakes it is not half as important as if their spirit is crushed by being told all the time—do this and don’t do that! The new National Body should be like a loving parent, watching over and helping its children, and not like a stern judge, waiting for an opportunity to display his judicial powers. The reason he points this out to you is that constantly, for the past twenty years and more, he has been pointing this out to the old and tried National Assemblies, and he does not want the younger bodies to make the same mistakes. Individual cases should be dealt with as they arise, according to the Teachings, of which the believers have quite sufficient available to handle all of their problems at this time, and no more additional rules and regulations need be introduced.
The friends should be helped to overcome their problems, deepen in the Faith, and increase their unity and their love for each other. In this way you will find that your work goes ahead speedily, and that the National Body is like the beating of a healthy heart in the midst of the Community, pumping spiritual love, energy and encouragement out to all the members. 36
As regards the question you asked about a Summer School, there is no reason why a property should either be rented or bought for this purpose. You can arrange to hold a Summer School in any suitable place where the friends can find accommodation, and a hall can be rented for its sessions. This is what they have done in England for many years to great advantage. It is a simple and economical way of holding the School. The primary purpose of the School is to deepen the knowledge of the friends in the Teachings, to enable them to consort, as Bahá’ís, with each other, and to confirm any contacts who may have attended. The School may be held during the winter season or any other time of the year.
As regards local endowments, these can be a piece of land, or a building offered or purchased in any place in Alaska. However, as the friends have six years in which to accomplish their Plan, and the most important work of all is the teaching work, he would not advise that they begin by spending their money on these projects, unless somebody has a piece of land or a building which they wish to give. The site for the Temple is much more important. It should be near the capital of Alaska within easy distance, or preferably in it, so that the friends can gather there, when the Temple is built for their services. If the twenty-acre National Endowment is suitably close to the city, it can be used as the Temple site, and another piece of land, smaller in area, and anywhere in Alaska, be acquired as the National Endowment.
He is delighted to see that you are approaching your tasks with so much enthusiasm, and awaits news of wonderful victories from that promising northern territory.
He feels your Assembly should bear in mind, and call to the attention of the friends, the importance of the Iron Curtain territories not yet open. Whoever feels the urge to dedicate themselves to arising and going to one of the satellites or republics of the Soviet Union, should be encouraged to do so.
He hopes to receive much good news during the coming months of the progress of the work there, and assures you all of his prayers for your success.
With loving greetings,
R. Rabbani
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Alaska signalizes the erection of yet another pillar designed to support, and reinforce the foundation of the future Universal House of Justice, 37 and marks a milestone of far reaching significance in the history of the evolution of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the North American continent. I rejoice at this remarkable evidence of the vitality of the Faith which animates the members of the small yet highly promising community of His followers in that far off northern region of the globe, a region destined to play an important role in shaping the spiritual destinies of the great Republic of the west of which it forms a part, and to contribute, in no small measure, to the establishment of the institutions of His World Order throughout the American continent.
The task now facing this highly promising, spiritually dynamic community, at the hour of its emergence as an independent member of the embryonic World Bahá’í Commonwealth, is truly formidable; the responsibilities which it valiantly shoulders, at this crucial hour in its evolution are sacred, heavy, manifold and inescapable. The tests and trials which it must, sooner or later, experience in the course of its unfoldment and consolidation will severely challenge its spirit and resources. The path which it must tread ere the full evidence of its latent capacities are manifested will be long, tortuous and stony. The indomitable faith which now so powerfully animates its members, however, will, beyond the shadow of a doubt, enable them to overcome whatever obstacles may confront them in the future, and ensure the ultimate attainment of their high destiny.
The Six Year Plan, to which this community is now committed, and which should be regarded as the chief and immediate instrument designed to ensure the triumphant conclusion of the initial stage in the unfoldment of its destiny, must be energetically prosecuted however great the sacrifices involved, and must receive the concentrated, the continuous and prayerful consideration of its national elected representatives. All must participate in furthering its interests and in ensuring its ultimate and complete success.
Every effort must be exerted to increase steadily the number of avowed adherents of the Faith in that Territory, to multiply its centres, to consolidate its local Assemblies, to incorporate the firmly grounded amongst them.
The establishment of Bahá’í endowments and of a summer-school, and the incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly itself, must be simultaneously and efficiently carried out. Steps must likewise be taken to obtain recognition of the Bahá’í Marriage Certificate and of the Bahá’í Holy Days from the civil authorities concerned. Nor must the vital 38 obligation of converting as speedily as possible, both the Eskimos and the American Indians, who, as time passes, must assume a notable share in the diffusion of the Faith and the establishment of its rising Order in these regions, be, under any circumstances neglected; and last but not least, the selection and purchase of a site for the Mother Temple of Alaska, in the city of Anchorage or its suburbs, must be carefully considered and suitable action taken at the earliest opportunity.
The endeavours which the highminded, youthful hearted, deeply consecrated members of this community will exert must be such as to excite the unqualified admiration of their fellow believers in Bahá’í communities in both Hemispheres. The sacrifices which must be made will, no doubt, if they rise to this occasion, merit the applause of the Concourse on high and draw forth a still fuller measure of the promised blessings of the Author of the Divine Plan Himself.
That the members of this community may neither falter nor fail, that they may set an example worthy of emulation of their fellow-workers in all continents of the globe, that they may achieve such feats, in the course of the attainment of their high objectives, as shall eclipse the past achievements of their spiritual brethren in the North American continent and throughout Latin America, is the object of my constant prayer for them in the Holy Shrines as well as my heart’s most cherished desire.