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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 73-76

Letter of Dec. 30th, 1948

N.S.A. of Australia and New Zealand, Secretary, Mrs. Mariette G. Bolton.
Haifa, Dec. 30th, 1948.
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
The letter written by our dear Bahá’í brother, Mr. Jim Heggie, as secretary at that time, and dated May 5th, as well as those written by you, and dated July 17th, Dec. 4th, 6th (two of this date), and 9th, together with their various enclosures, have been received, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer your assembly on his behalf.
He was very happy to hear of your meeting held in Melbourne, as he feels sure this was a great stimulus to the local community, and he hopes that circumstances will permit the N.S.A. to meet in other communities and inspire and encourage the friends in different parts of the country by this personal contact with them and their work.
In regard to the various matters raised in your letters: He would be pleased to receive reports of the Teaching Work, the Annual Convention and Annual Reports, and, of course, the minutes of your N.S.A. meetings.
He does not feel it advisable to combine more than one town area in an Assembly, as you have suggested might be done. It is better for the friends to move, if possible, into one town’s limits, and form their Assembly that way, or concentrate on their teaching work and wait until they have the requisite 9 members.
Unfortunately it is not feasible for the believers to elect or constitute an Assembly and also elect and send delegates to the Annual Convention of the same year, as both events take place in the Riḍván period.
The Guardian is striving to build up uniformity in essentials all over the Bahá’í World, and this frequently involves a small measure of delay in achieving our various goals set locally. But he considers it sufficiently important to warrant the sacrifices it sometimes involves:
In this connection he would like to mention your Local By-Laws: He feels that they should conform much more closely to the original one of the New York Assembly. What is absolutely essential was incorporated in those, and all other local assemblies being incorporated should follow this pattern as closely as local legal technicalities permit. This again is in order to maintain 74 international uniformity in essentials. It is not a question here of whether the By-Laws drawn up by your Legal Committee are not more up to date and do not represent the last word, undoubtedly they are and do, but if every country, when drawing up its Local By-Laws, continue this process of elaboration, in the end uniformity will be lost. The Eastern Assemblies have adhered to the original By-Laws so carefully that they have practically translated them word for word and adopted them. He feels sure Mr. Dive will understand this, and he would like you to please express to him his deep appreciation of the excellent work he has done in this connection, truly a labour of love to the Faith.
There is also another, perhaps even more pertinent reason, why he does not want anything more added to these New York By-Laws, and that is that he is everywhere urging the believers—the Americans included—to not add procedures and rulings to the Cause. He considers that what he has laid down in Bahá’í Administration is essential, but that practically everything else is secondary and he wishes the Assemblies, your own included, to deal with things with elasticity, as they come up, case by case, and not by continually passing new rulings to cover all similar cases.
The efforts being made by your Assembly to carry out the Teaching Plan for Australia and New Zealand, and the ever-increasing response of the believers in both places to this all-important work, greatly encourage and cheer him. He feels sure a very great future lies in store for our beloved Faith in those distant regions, but much more still remains to be done by the friends in order to complete this first, historic and vital, organized Plan of theirs. He feels sure they will see it through to victory; just as their brothers and sisters in other lands, working also on Plans of their own, are determined to achieve all their goals at the appointed time, so must they persevere and ensure a resounding victory for the Faith there in the Antipodes.
His loving prayers are offered in the Holy Shrines very often for the success of your work, and that God may bless you and all the members of the National Assembly in the discharge of your important duties.
With Bahá’í love,
Yours in His Service,
R. Rabbani.
P.S. I wish to also acknowledge receipt of the letter of your 75 Assembly’s Treasurer, dated Dec. 23rd, and to thank you, on behalf of the Guardian, for your loving contribution to the International Fund here in Haifa. He regrets the delay in getting this off to you, but has been too busy to attend to it owing to work in connection with the Shrine here. Kindly give the enclosed receipt to Mr. Tunks.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
Recent communications and reports from your Assembly have revealed, in a very striking manner, the magnificent progress achieved by the alert, the faithful, and truly distinguished communities of the followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The range of their labours, the rapid consolidation of their swiftly multiplying institutions, the soundness and solidity of the foundations, on which they are erecting these institutions, the exemplary loyalty they demonstrate, the solidarity and self-sacrifice, the courage and confidence they display in their incessant and manifold activities, prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Faith they love and serve so nobly and efficiently has at last been firmly and unassailably established in the Antipodes, and that its upholders and defenders in those far-away yet highly promising islands are contributing a notable and never-to-be-forgotten share to the onward march and unfoldment of its world Administrative Order.
I desire to offer the members of this high-minded, this resolute and dearly-beloved community, and particularly its elected representatives, my heartfelt congratulations on their splendid achievements which posterity will recognize as deeds that have truly enriched and adorned the annals of the Faith in the opening years of the second Bahá’í century.
As the processes impelling a rapidly evolving Order on the highroad of its destiny multiply and gather momentum, attention should be increasingly directed to the vital need of ensuring, by every means possible, the deepening of the Faith, the understanding and the spiritual life of the individuals who, as the privileged members of this community, are called upon to participate in this glorious unfoldment, and are lending their assistance to this historic evolution. A profound study of the Faith which they have espoused, its history, its spiritual as well 76 as administrative principles; a thorough understanding of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a deeper realization of the implications of the claims advanced by the Founders of the Faith; strict adherence to the laws and principles which they have established; a greater dedication to the fundamentals and verities enshrined in their teachings—these constitute, I feel convinced, the urgent need of the members of this rapidly expanding community. For upon this spiritual foundation must depend the solidity of the institutions which they are now so painstakingly erecting. Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Bahá’í institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever-present need, attention must at no time be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Bahá’í administrative institutions. That this community, so alive, so devoted, so strikingly and rapidly developing, may maintain a proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development, and march forward with rapid strides and along sound lines toward the goal of the Plan it has adopted, is the ardent hope of my heart and my constant prayer.
Your true and grateful brother,