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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 62-65

Letter of 29 January 1927

29 January 1927
Dear Bahá’í Friend, Mr. Simpson,
Thank you so very much for your clear good letter of Jan. 16th—Shoghi Effendi bids me say how much pleasure he always derives from the perusal of your letters—which are always expressed with such admirable clearness, and to the point. He has just now been discussing with me the various matters you mention.
He says that in one way we are not quite correct in the way we manage our elections for the National Assembly—Shoghi Effendi says that the intention is, that when once the 19 delegates have been elected by the friends of the respective centres in the proportions you mention, i.e. 12 delegates from among the London friends, five from the Manchester friends, and two from the Bournemouth group, that then, these 19 delegates assembled should choose by secret ballot from the whole body of the believers in Gt. Britain and Ireland, the nine friends they consider most suitable as members of the National Assembly. Heretofore, as I understand it, it has rather been our practice that the 12 London delegates elected six from the London friends—the Manchester five delegates elected two from Manchester and the Bournemouth delegates elected one from Bournemouth. But, Shoghi Effendi says, all the 19 delegates must clearly understand that they must select from the whole body of the believers in Gt. Britain and Ireland those 9 whom they consider the most fit and suitable members to constitute the National Assembly. Therefore it will be necessary to supply each of the 19 delegates with a complete list of all those believers in Gt. Britain and Ireland. From that complete list of course must be eliminated all those who from one cause or another are unable to serve on the 63 National Assembly. Also—Shoghi Effendi says that those 19 elected delegates should if possible meet during the Feast of Riḍván in London thus forming as it were a baby Convention! I had not realised before that the annual Bahá’í Convention in the U.S.A. consists solely of those delegates who had been chosen by their respective Centres in order that they may elect the 9 to form the National Assembly of that country. Did you understand this? I certainly did not. As Shoghi Effendi points out—it is quite possible that—e.g. in the future—7 members might be elected from the Manchester friends and only two from London! On the other hand—it is quite possible that all nine members chosen by the 19 delegates might be from the London group. Of course, on reflection one sees clearly that the proceedings must be as now described because in the future there may be 21 or 53 separate local Assemblies in Gt. Britain just as is now the case in the U.S.A.—and it would obviously be impossible for each of these Assemblies to elect one of their number to sit as their representative on the National Assembly. No doubt I ought to have understood this before—but I must confess I did not!…
It is very grievous that our dear Mrs. Cropper should have been so ill—we have all been praying for her recovery since we knew of it and I am thankful to hear she is now making steady progress.
Since writing to you I too have had a bad influenza cold that swept through our house. But I am now quite recovered I am glad to say.
With all best wishes to yourself.
Your sincere friend in His service,
Ethel Rosenberg
P.S. I have just remembered I have said nothing about the London area that should be included—Shoghi Effendi thinks it would save trouble if you drew your circle widely enough to include Mrs. Slade and her daughter! At first he inclined to agree with you that it would be best to take the middle one—the Postal Area—and make exceptions in favour of Mrs. Haybittel and her daughter. (Mrs. Ginman (see endnote) I hear from my brother has moved into town now) but it seemed to him that you might possibly have other friends residing or moving out to Surbiton etc., so that it might save you trouble in the future if you selected 64 the widest area? This is merely a suggestion on his part—as it will no doubt be decided at the meeting of the London Assembly. But with regard to the choosing by the 19 delegates of the nine members of the National Assembly, his instructions are quite definite and must not be departed from—as these instructions are as laid down by the Master in the Testament and other Tablets. Shoghi Effendi says you can even now soon select the day for the 19 delegates to come to London during Riḍván. By the way Riḍván begins exactly 31 days after the New Year so it starts almost always on April 21st and lasts for 12 days. I have recorded my notes on list enclosed.
Yours ever,
E. Rosenberg
Shoghi 1 Effendi emphatically urges that the 19 friends elected as delegates should meet together during Riḍván—Shoghi Effendi has sent you three copies of the Bahá’í Year Book, one for London, one for Manchester and one for Bournemouth.
Read and approved. Shoghi
Editor’s Note:
From December 1926 to April 1927, while the secretary who was then helping with the English correspondence was away from Haifa, Miss Ethel J. Rosenberg (addressed in letters by the Guardian as “My dear Rosa”), was on pilgrimage and kept up a lengthy and repetitive correspondence with George P. Simpson. In these letters from Miss Rosenberg are many instructions from the Guardian to the British National Assembly. The letter reproduced in this compilation, dated January 29th, 1927 is important for many reasons:
1. It is the only one from Miss Rosenberg which carried the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi where he “Approved” what had been written.
2. It outlined the principle for the election of the National Spiritual Assembly by delegates which the British N.S.A. had not then appreciated from the earlier letters of the Guardian (of 1923, 1294, 1925, later published in “Bahá’í Administration”).
3. It insisted upon Convention being held in London during Riḍván.
4. It clarified the need to have a recognised voting area for London but left the final decision to the local Spiritual Assembly of London.
As a result of this letter 13 delegates attended Convention and 4 voted by post; ten members were elected to the National Assembly (Guardian’s letter of May, 13th, 1927 refers), and the London area was defined as having a radius of 36 miles. 65
1. In a different handwriting from Miss Rosenberg’s.   [ Back To Reference]