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Taiwan Bahá'í Chronicle:
An Historical Record of the Early Days of the Bahá'í Faith in Taiwan

by Barbara R. Sims

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Chapter 11


11. The First Local Spiritual Assembly of Taipei

Keith and Edith Danielsen-Craig, the second couple to pioneer to Taiwan, arrived April 11, 1958 to settle in Taipei. Their arrival and the enrollment of Mr. Pershing Wang made it possible to form the Local Spiritual Assembly of Taipei, which was the second Local Spiritual Assembly in Taiwan. The nine members were Mr. Pershing Wang, Mr. Yuan Hsu-chang, Mrs. Edith Danielsen-Craig, Mr. Keith Craig, Mr. Gellan Wang, Mr. Yuan Mein-hsien (Mason), Hsiao Tsan-chang (Johnson), Mr. Hong Li-ming (Jimmy), and Mr. Shih Hung-mok. Mrs. Danielsen-Craig was chairman and Mr. Hong was secretary. Mr. Hong, originally from Chia-yi, was in the army but was released from it the following year and left Taipei.

(click for larger picture)
The first Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Taipei, 1958

We can identify the following. Seated from the left: Mr. Keith Craig, Mr. Yuan Mein-shien (Mason) and Mrs. Edith Danielsen-Craig. Standing: second from the left Mr. Yuan Hsu-chang, Mr. Gellan Wang, Mr. Hsiao Tsan-chang (Johnson) and Mr. Hong Lee-ming (Jimmie). We have ascertained that the top far left and bottom far right are Mr. Pershing Wang and Mr. Shih Hung-mok but we do not know which is which.


Mrs. Edith Danielsen-Craig was designated a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh as she was the first Bahá'í to pioneer to the Cook Islands (1953), which was one of the unopened areas mentioned by the Guardian at the launching of the Ten Year Crusade.

In Taipei there was much activity after the arrival of the Danielsen-Craigs. They stayed for three years until 1961, devoting all energies to the advancement of the Faith. In 1960 Mrs. Danielsen-Craig wrote about the first youth to enroll, Wang P'u-sheng (Steven), brother of Pershing Wang. She said he was a quiet, thoughtful boy who was "filled with the love of Bahá'u'lláh."

In 1959, due to a change in the administrative area, which had the effect of removing some of the Bahá'ís from the city limits, the Local Spiritual Assembly was not able to form. Nor could it the year after. In 1961 things had progressed to a point where the Bahá'ís could elect an assembly, but not the year after that.

In 1963 assisted by the arrival of pioneers Mr. and Mrs. Enger, they were able to elect the assembly but its status was lost the following year. Then in 1965 an assembly was elected and that status has continued. Taipei had steady enrollments but much of the problem stemmed from the fact that the active Bahá'ís tended to move out; many left Taiwan to continue their studies in the U.S. But then many of the Bahá'ís were quite internationally minded so it is not surprising that they would try to advance their education by moving to another country.

Tainan also had a moving population of Bahá'ís but always managed to elect the local assembly, from 1956 on. Much of this was undoubtedly due to the steadfastness and stability of Mr. and Mrs. Suleimani. They were always there, teaching, deepening, making new friends, from the beginning in 1954 to the end of their lives.
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