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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 9

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9. The First Bahá'í Summer School


September 28 - 30, 1957 the first Taiwan Summer School was held. About 20 Bahá'ís attended from four localities: Taipei, Tainan, Tsoying and Chia-yi. Mr. Philip Marangella represented the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia (in Tokyo) and Auxiliary Board Member Carl Scherer came from Macau. Mr. Shen Chien of Chia-yi, a friend of Mr. Huang Hsi, became a Bahá'í during the summer school. Mr. Huang had become a Bahá'í sometime earlier. There were now two Bahá'ís in that town.

The Bahá'ís were so inspired by the summer school that they sent a cable to the Guardian. He replied, "Deeply appreciate message assure attendants fervent prayers success deliberations deepest love Shoghi."

(click for larger picture)
The first Bahá'í Summer School in Taiwan was held September 28-30, 1957 in Tainan at the Eastern Garden Hotel.

In the first row at the right are Mr. Suleimani and Auxiliary Board Member from Macau Mr. Carl Scherer. Behind him is Mr. Philip Marangella representing the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia. Mrs. Suleimani is standing next to him.

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As the Faith was not registered, official government permission was necessary to hold the summer school. Since November of 1955 the Tainan group had been trying to obtain official recognition of the Faith. According to Mr. Suleimani, they visited the Tainan mayor's office, the Social Department of the Provincial Government in Taipei, and the Interior Ministry of the central government in Taipei. The Social Department head explained that there was freedom of religion in Taiwan for religious groups which were officially recognized, but that to date only Christianity, Buddhism and Islam had this status. An appeal was made in December, 1956 to the Interior Ministry, and Hand of the Cause Mr. Kházeh with the Suleimanis visited the ministry in the spring of 1957, but official recognition was not immediately granted. Nevertheless, permission was later given to hold the Summer School.

The Passing of the Guardian

In November 1957 the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, passed away. It was so unexpected that the Bahá'í world, while faithfully and diligently carrying on the Ten Year Crusade, was in a state of shock.

There were several letters back and forth between the Tainan Local Spiritual Assembly and the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia in Tokyo concerning this great loss. The Tainan Local Spiritual Assembly, in addition to having special prayer meetings after being informed of the tragic situation, arranged for memorial services in Tainan, Taipei and Tsoying. One of the believers in Chia-yi, Mr. Huang, joined the Tainan memorial services and took back the spirit to the other Bahá'í who couldn't attend. The memorial services included prayers in three languages and the reading of a description of the Guardian's first twenty-five years as written by Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhiyyih Khánum in The Bahá'í World, Vol. XI.

The Taiwan community sent a cable of condolence to Rúhiyyih Khánum which she answered saying that she deeply appreciated their message.


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Following the first Summer School, Mr. Marangella accompanied by Mrs. Tu visited the Pescadores. They are shown here introducing the Faith to Mr. Fan, principal of a government school at Mahkong.
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