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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 380-387

Letter of 30 August 1957

30 August 1957
Dear Bahá’í Brother:
Your communications with their enclosures and material sent under separate cover have all arrived safely, and the beloved 381 Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf and to acknowledge receipt of your letters dated: July 24, 27 and 31, August 24, 27, and 30, September 7, 26, 27, and 28, October 5, 13 (signed by all members), and 15, November 5 (signed by Dorothy Ferraby), and 28 (three), and December 14, 18, 27, and 28, 1956, and January 8, 16, 20 (one undated), and 22nd, February 4, 6, 8, 11, 19, 21, 23, and 27, March 7, 8, 13, and 18 (two), May 6, 9, 21, (two), June 3, 11, 14, 19 and 25, July 12, 16, (two), 19, 21, 26, and August 2, and 5 signed by Ernest Gregory (see endnote) .
As a number of questions raised in your letters have been answered by cable or through the National Assembly Secretary, I will not go into those again here.
He was interested to see the Tablets which Dr. Moayad located in Cambridge, and appreciated having copies of them.
It has been a great pleasure to have had so many members of the British Bahá’í community here last winter and spring as pilgrims.
He is immensely proud of the work which has been accomplished during the last year, of the remarkable spirit of dedication which animates the entire community, and which invariably produces, at an hour of crisis, a strong and healthy reaction on the part of the community to rush reinforcements to its weak Assemblies, when they are in danger of dissolution.
He realises that the enforcement of the general rule that an Assembly must function within civic limits has caused considerable havoc in Britain, as well as other countries. However, it enables the friends, through splitting up into smaller communities, to have before their eyes the appetising prospect of forming yet another Spiritual Assembly, all on their own, so to speak. It gives more believers the opportunity to serve on these Administrative Bodies, challenges the teaching activities of them all, and stimulates them to fresh efforts in the hope of early victory.
The news of the success of your Convention this year; the fact that the community was able to manoeuvre its finances into a position of equilibrium, a position, incidentally, which it should make every effort to maintain; the large number of friends who attended the beautiful memorial meeting held for the dear Hand of the Cause, George Townshend, also pleased and encouraged our beloved Guardian. 382
He was pleased to hear from Rhodesia of the incorporation of the Salisbury Assembly, which seems to be in the nature of a foundation for the future incorporation of all Spiritual Assemblies throughout the Rhodesias. This is yet another valuable service which your Assembly has been instrumental in rendering the Faith in Africa.
He thanks your Assembly for the coloured photographs of the Hazíratu’l-Quds and also for the film of the Summer School which you sent him. He was very pleased also to receive copies of the Irish pamphlets, and hopes the Gaelic translation will soon be out.
As regards your question about printing in books the approval of the National Assembly, he thinks that, if in certain circumstances this seems inadvisable, there is no objection to omitting it. The approval of the National Body should be sought for all Bahá’í publications, so as to protect the Faith from unofficially disseminating information which may in some respects be false or inaccurate. Once this has been done, it is not so essential for the fact to appear in the book, if it will mitigate the effects of the book and decrease its sales….
The death of the Hand of the Cause, George Townshend, is a great loss to the British community as it not only deprives them of their most distinguished member, their unique Hand, but also of a most inspiring and faithful co-worker and a distinguished Bahá’í author. His latest book has been read with great interest by the Guardian, and he hopes your Assembly is ensuring its wide distribution to various religious leaders in Britain. If opposition to the Faith can be aroused through this book, it will be the greatest service that dear George Townshend has ever rendered. It was always his hope that, through his pen, sparks would fly and begin the conflagration in whose light the Faith would shine forth in all its splendour. Let us hope that this last service of his will indeed prove to be the vital spark setting off this process of opposition which will inevitably lead to a wide recognition and acceptance of the Faith.
The Guardian hopes that during the present year the home Assemblies will not only be maintained and groups prepared for assembly status next Riḍván, but that it will be possible to reinforce the work in the islands off the shores of the British Isles. The sooner a nucleus of local people is established in these goal 383 places the sooner will the pioneers be able to move on to new fields and to lend their assistance to the teaching work either on the Home Front or in the Pacific area.
Please assure the dear pioneers that he greatly admires their steadfastness of purpose, their self-sacrifice and their exemplary spirit, and that he particularly prays for them in the Holy Shrines.
As regards the future work in the Pacific: It is entirely premature at this time for your Assembly to think about the work there. The Home Front and the work in the neighbouring islands around Great Britain, as well as those allotted under the Ten Year Plan to your Assembly in the Mediterranean, must receive the concentrated attention of your Body, its Committees and the believers. When the time comes to become active in the Pacific area, you may be sure he will let you know!
He feels that the urgent need now is to get out “Some Answered Questions”, which is one of the most important books for a proper study of the Faith. When this has been printed, the next publication of the Master’s Works can be considered….
As to your question about the words used in the marriage ceremony; the two versions mean practically the same thing, and either may be used. 1
It is most regrettable that the Caravan should have gotten hold of …; if this situation is stirred up too much it will only enable Ahmad Sohrab to make a big fuss and get more publicity. In view of this the Guardian feels your Assembly should be watchful and seek out, if possible, a suitable person and a suitable opportunity to call to her attention the facts that the Bahá’í Faith, so widely spread and acknowledged, has nothing to do with the Caravan which is a purely opportunist organisation and so loosely knit together as to have almost no power of influencing people one way or another. To do the wrong thing in a situation such as this would be worse than to do nothing.
He assures you one and all of his loving prayers for your success in all you do for the Faith.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers,
The year that has just elapsed, following upon the swift and 384 spectacular success achieved by the firmly grounded, the progressive and alert British Bahá’í community in the heart of the African Continent—a success attested by the triumphant emergence of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Central and East Africa—has witnessed a progress throughout the length and breadth of the Homefront, as well as in the northern islands in the neighbourhood of the British Isles, which, though not spectacular, nevertheless testifies to the earnestness, the devotion and the exemplary tenacity with which the members of this community are conducting, in all its aspects, the noble Mission entrusted to their care, and are grappling with the manifold problems involved in its prosecution.
This present and crucial year must be signalised in the annals of British Bahá’í history by a substantial measure of internal administrative consolidation and a noticeable expansion in the all-important teaching field, which will enable the members of this community, now standing on the threshold of a new and brilliant phase in the unfoldment of their Mission in foreign fields, to reinforce and broaden the base of their future operations beyond the confines of their native land.
The splendid work achieved, in such a short space of time, in a field so distant, and amongst a race so alien in its background, outlook and customs, must, if the significance of that Mission is to be properly assessed, be regarded as only a prelude to the series of future campaigns which the privileged members of the British Bahá’í community, residing and firmly rooted in the heart of a far-flung Commonwealth and Empire, will, if faithful to such a Mission, launch, in the years ahead, in the islands of the North Sea and of the Mediterranean, as well as in the remote territories situated in the Pacific area—campaigns which, in their range and significance, must throw into shade the feats performed in the African Continent.
To be enabled to rise to this occasion, to ensure the energetic, the systematic and uninterrupted conduct of so vast and diversified an enterprise, amidst peoples and races fully as promising, and even more remotedly situated, and presenting them with a challenge more severe than any which has faced them in the past, the small band of the ardent, the high minded, the resolute followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, charged by Destiny and by virtue of the enviable position they occupy, with so glorious a responsibility for the future awakening of the great masses, living under the shadow of, or whose governments are directly associated with, the British Crown, must needs in the 385 years immediately ahead, acquire greater coherence, increase more rapidly in numbers, definitely emerge from obscurity, plumb greater depths of consecration, enrich its store of administrative experience, become definitely self-supporting, and associate itself more closely, through the body of its elected representatives and its future Hands, with the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies on the European mainland and in all the other continents of the globe, and particularly with the Hands already appointed in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
The sooner these prime requisites, so essential for a further unfoldment of the mighty potentialities inherent in so splendid a Mission, are fulfilled, the sooner will the call be raised for the opening of a new chapter in the history of British Bahá’í achievements overseas.
The rapid multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, particularly in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Eire; the incorporation of firmly grounded local spiritual assemblies; a greater measure of publicity; a wider dissemination of Bahá’í literature; a quick and substantial rehabilitation of the vitally important national Fund; a firmer grasp of the essential verities of the Faith; a more profound study of its history and a deeper understanding of the genesis, the significance, the workings, and the present status and achievements of its embryonic World Order and of the Covenant to which it owes its birth and vitality—these remain the rock-bottom requirements which alone can guarantee the opening and hasten the advent, of that blissful era which every British Bahá’í heart so eagerly anticipates, and the glories of which can, at present, be but dimly discerned.
Now, of a certainty, is not the time for the members of this gallant band, so thinly spread over the length and breadth of its island home, and reaching out, so laboriously yet so determinedly to the inhospitable islands fringing its northern and western coasts, to dwell, however tentatively, on the nature of the tantalising task awaiting them in the not distant future, or to seek to probe into its mysterious, divinely guided operation. Theirs is the duty to plod on, however tedious the nature of the work demanding their immediate attention, however formidable the obstacles involved in its proper execution, however prolonged the effort which its success necessitates, until the signs of its ultimate consummation, heralding the launching of what is sure to be the most spectacular phase of their Mission, are clearly discerned.
A responsibility, at once colossal, sacred and highly challenging, 386 faces not only the body of the elected representatives of this community, but each and every one of its members. As the world spiritual Crusade, to the successful prosecution of which the British followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have, singly and collectively, so markedly contributed, approaches its mid-point, the evidences of this indispensable quickening of the tempo of Bahá’í activity all over the British Isles and the islands situated in their neighbourhood and far beyond their confines, must become more manifest and rapidly multiply. The admiration and esteem in which a community, relatively small in numbers, strictly limited in resources, yet capable of such solid and enduring achievements, is held by its sister and daughter communities in every continent of the globe, far from declining must be further enhanced. The historic process originated as far back as the year which witnessed the formulation of the Six Year Plan on the occasion of the Centenary of the Declaration of the Báb in Shíráz, which gathered momentum, as a result of the inauguration of the Two Year Plan which followed the Centenary of the Báb’s Martyrdom in Tabríz, which received a tremendous impetus, in consequence of the launching of the Ten Year Crusade, commemorating the centenary celebrations of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s Mission in Ṭihrán—such a process must, as the centenary celebrations designed to commemorate the Declaration of that same Mission in Baghdád approaches, be so markedly accelerated, and yield such a harvest, as will astonish the entire Bahá’í world, and give the signal for the inauguration, by those who have so spontaneously set this process in motion, more than a decade ago, of a blissful era designed to carry the chief builders of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Order, throughout the unnumbered, the diversified and widely scattered Dependencies of the British Crown, to still greater heights of achievements in the service and for the glory of His Faith.
May they, as they forge ahead along the high road leading to ultimate, total and complete victory, receive as their daily sustenance, a still fuller measure of the abounding grace, promised to the believers of an earlier generation by the Centre of the Covenant, the Author of the Divine Plan, Himself, on the occasion of His twice-repeated visit to their shores, and which has been unfailingly vouchsafed to themselves, in the course of over three decades, since the birth of the Formative Age of the Faith and the rise of its Administrative Order in their homeland.
Shoghi 387
1. The two versions are: “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God”, and “Verily we are content with the Will of God”.   [ Back To Reference]