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Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Australia, 1971 reprint
  • Pages:
  • 140
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Pages 129-133

Letter of June 13th, 1956

Haifa, Israel,
June 13th, 1956.
Mr. James Heggie, Secretary,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia and New Zealand.
Dear Bahá’í Brother:
Your letters of November 17, and December 12 and 31, 1955, and January 6, February 22, April 24, and May 27, (two), with enclosures have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was happy to receive the pamphlets which you have had translated and forwarded to him, and which is certainly a welcome addition to the teaching work in the Pacific area.
He was also pleased to see that you have found a friendly architect, who will cooperate in submitting plans for the future 130 Temple in Sydney. He is eagerly looking forward to receiving them. Since writing this, they have been received. He was also glad to hear that another site had been procured.
Repercussions of the Chicago Temple are felt everywhere, and the same is becoming increasingly true of the Shrine. One single edifice, raised to the glory of Bahá’u’lláh, shines like a beacon and attracts the hearts of the people; no doubt many seeds are sown just through the act of people visiting these edifices—seeds which in the future will germinate. It is because of this that he is very eager to have the Australian one commenced as soon as circumstances permit.
As regards the question the Auckland Assembly has asked about vivisection, there is nothing on this subject in the Bahá’í teachings. At a future date such matters will no doubt be taken up by the International House of Justice.
He is very anxious to have as many local assemblies incorporated as possible; and was hence very pleased to hear that your Assembly is energetically prosecuting this part of the Ten Year Plan in both Australia and New Zealand.
The visits of the Australian friends to different centers in Australia and New Zealand, as well as Mr. Featherstone’s trip to some of the Pacific Islands, have been much appreciated, and he feels sure that marked results will be forthcoming. Although you who labour in that distant continent may often feel that your work is progressing but slowly, the Guardian, from the prospective that he has here at the World Center, is well pleased with the perseverance, the devotion and the achievements of the Australian and New Zealand friends; and he is proud of their spirit, and feels sure that they will accomplish their goals.
He was very happy to hear that Mr. Marques has obtained permission to remain in Timor. His background makes him a very important pioneer for that area; and he is happy that your Assembly was able to make it possible for him to remain.
The matter of the areas under the jurisdiction of a local Spiritual Assembly is one which the National Assembly must study, and apply the principles laid down by the Guardian; namely, that within a municipal area, where the people resident in the area pay taxes and vote, the Assembly can be elected, and holds jurisdiction. Anyone living outside of that area is not a member of that Community, and cannot enjoy the administrative 131 privileges of that Community. Although this will affect your Assembly roll, it will place the work of the Faith on a much sounder basis, and increase the number of Centers where Bahá’ís reside throughout Australia, which is an important phase of the work in any case. It will challenge the friends to work harder to create new Assemblies and make up for those dissolved; and he feels sure that in the near future the Bahá’ís will be very proud of the results they have achieved through this change.
He is delighted to hear that the New Zealand friends are so eagerly carrying on their work in preparation for their National Assembly next year. Their coming of age, so to speak, will be a source of pride to all their fellow National Assemblies, and they will form a welcome addition to the pillars which must ultimately sustain the International House of Justice.
Regarding the question of capital punishment, provision is made for it in the Aqdas, but this is not the time to go into details. When the Aqdas is promulgated and the House of Justice comes into being will be the time to go into these matters in greater detail. For the present they should be given no publicity.
Assuring you all of his loving prayers for the success of the work you are doing.
With warmest greetings,
R. Rabbani.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
My heart overflows with gratitude, and my admiration is heightened, as I contemplate the range and quality of the achievements of the devoted and valiant adherents of the Faith in the Antipodes, who have in recent years so greatly embellished the record of their services and contributed so remarkably to the progress of the institutions of a divinely appointed Administrative order in that far-away continent.
The entire Bahá’í world beholds with pride and admiration the great victories won by the Australian and New-Zealand communities, both in their homelands and in so many islands of the Pacific Ocean, and shares my confidence that their historic accomplishments, particularly since the inception of the Ten-Year Plan, are but a prelude to still nobler exploits and still mightier victories. 132
Their exemplary loyalty to the Faith they have so eagerly embraced, their keen enthusiasm, their persistent endeavours, their willingness to sacrifice, their inflexible resolve to surmount every obstacle, their unity and solidarity, their optimism and courage, are assets which I greatly value, and for which I cannot but feel deeply grateful.
Much indeed has been achieved by these stalwart defenders and promoters of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh! To an extent which they themselves cannot estimate their individual and collective achievements, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity, have compensated for the enforced inactivity and the disabilities suffered by their sorely tried brethren in Persia. The first and second phases of the Ten-Year Plan owe, to a very notable degree, their success to the impetus which the splendid initiative and remarkable resourcefulness displayed by the members of these communities has lent to the onward march of the Faith in that continent. In more than one way these communities, through their consecrated efforts and the tangible results they have achieved, have set an inspiring example to their sister communities in both the East and the West. The Author of the Divine Plan, Himself, who during the closing years of His ministry, witnessed the awakening of that vast continent, rejoices over and applauds the rapidity with which the light of His Father’s Faith has spread over and enveloped that continent and its neighbouring islands.
Much, however still remains to be achieved before the laurels of total and complete victory are claimed.
The precarious situation in some of the newly opened territories allotted to your assembly must be given first consideration and should be speedily remedied. Any, and every nucleus formed in those islands must be vigilantly safeguarded, and, if possible, constantly enlarged and consolidated.
Special attention, during the opening year of the third phase of the Plan, must be prayerfully accorded to the extension and consolidation of the homefront, with particular emphasis on the rapid increase in the number of the adherents of the Faith, and the multiplication of isolated centres, groups and assemblies. The process of incorporation, so long held in abeyance, must be accelerated by every means possible.
A supreme effort must be made, in the course of the current 133 year, in conjunction with the Indian National Spiritual Assembly, to bring to an early and successful conclusion the translation of Bahá’í literature into the languages listed in the Plan, thereby assuring the attainment of one of its vital objectives.
Particular attention should be devoted to the urgent needs of the New Zealand Bahá’í community, through the formulation of a plan which will enable it to swell the number of its administrative institutions, enlarging and reinforcing thereby the foundations on which its forthcoming National Assembly must ultimately rest.
The goals which both communities are called upon, at this crucial hour in the evolution of the Plan, to achieve have been clearly defined and repeatedly emphasized. The task, however, is vast and arduous. The effort that must needs be exerted by the rank and file of the believers is immense. The challenge that must needs be met is severe. The promise of eventual victory, if the army of Bahá’u’lláh’s Crusaders persevere in their mission, is clear and unmistakeable.
The need of the present hour, as these communities enter upon the third, and, what promises to be, the most brilliant phase of a World Spiritual Crusade, is a still greater consecration to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh in all its aspects, and a renewed dedication in all the divers fields of Bahá’í activity.
That the members of the Australian and New Zealand communities will unanimously rise to the present occasion, that they will not allow any consideration whatever to deflect them from their high purpose in the days to come, that they will expend every ounce of energy for the attainment of these shining goals, is the deepest longing of my heart and the object of my ardent prayers.