At this auspicious hour, marking yet another milestone in the progress of the divinely-guided, world-embracing, steadily consolidating Community of the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, I feel once again impelled to share with the elected representatives of the vast majority of its avowed supporters, assembled on the occasion of the convocation of the twenty-four Bahá'í Conventions being held simultaneously in the American, the European, the Asiatic, the African, and the Australian continents, the latest evidences of its resistless march along the path traced for it by both its Founder and the appointed Center of His Covenant.
The year that has just expired, signalized, at the hour of its birth, by the emergence of three regional spiritual assemblies, on the northern fringes, in the heart, and at the southern extremity of the long dormant African continent, and ushering in the third phase of a decade-long, world-encompassing Spiritual Crusade, has, as we look back on the triumphs and trials that have marked its course, accelerated, to a notable extent, the two parallel processes of integration and disintegration associated respectively with the rising fortunes of God's infant Faith and the sinking fortunes of the institutions of a declining civilization.
Indeed, as we gaze in retrospect beyond the immediate past, and survey, in however cursory a manner, the vicissitudes afflicting an increasingly tormented society, and recall the strains and stresses to which the fabric of a dying Order has been increasingly subjected, we cannot but marvel at the sharp contrast presented, on the one hand, by the accumulated evidences of the orderly unfoldment, and the uninterrupted multiplication of the agencies, of an Administrative Order designed to be the harbinger of a world civilization, and, on the other, by the ominous manifestations of acute political conflict, of social unrest, of racial animosity, of class antagonism, of immorality and of irreligion, proclaiming, in no uncertain terms, the corruption and obsolescence of the institutions of a bankrupt Order.
Against the background of these afflictive disturbances--the turmoil and tribulations of a travailing age--we may well ponder the portentous prophecies uttered well-nigh fourscore years ago, by the Author of our Faith, as well as the dire predictions made by Him Who is the unerring Interpreter of His teachings, all foreshadowing a universal commotion, of a scope and intensity unparalleled in the annals of mankind.
The violent derangement of the world's equilibrium; the trembling that will seize the limbs of mankind; the radical transformation of human society; the rolling up of the present-day Order; the fundamental changes affecting the structure of government; the weakening of the pillars of religion; the rise of dictatorships; the spread of tyranny; the fall of monarchies; the decline of ecclesiastical institutions; the increase of anarchy and chaos; the extension and consolidation of the Movement of the Left; the fanning into flame of the smouldering fire of racial strife; the development of infernal engines of war; the burning of cities; the contamination of the atmosphere of the earth--these stand out as the signs and portents that must either herald or accompany the retributive calamity which, as decreed by Him Who is the Judge and Redeemer of mankind, must, sooner or later, afflict a society which, for the most part, and for over a century, has turned a deaf ear to the Voice of God's Messenger in this day--a calamity which must purge the human race of the dross of its age-long corruptions, and weld its component parts into a firmly-knit world-embracing Fellowship --a Fellowship destined, in the fullness of time, to be incorporated in the framework, and to be galvanized by the spiritualizing influences, of a mysteriously expanding, divinely appointed Order, and to flower, in the course of future Dispensations, into a Civilization, the like of which mankind has, at no stage in its evolution, witnessed.
Parallel with this process of progressive deterioration in human affairs, now visibly gathering momentum outside the pale of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and recalling the convulsions which, on a far more restricted scale, seized a declining empire in the opening centuries of the Christian era, far less spectacular in its manifestation, has been the process of integration, as demonstrated by the increasing cohesion, the multiplication, and the reinforcement of the foundations, of the institutions of the embryonic Bahá'í World Order, which, now, under the impact of the forces released by a World Spiritual Crusade, deriving its authority from the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and launched for the express purpose of executing the Divine Plan bequeathed by Him to His followers in the evening of His life, is contributing, unnoticed by a generation forgetful of its God, and already in the shadow of His Visitation, to the building up, slowly but irresistibly, of that Ark of human salvation, ordained as the ultimate haven of a society destined, for the most part, to be submerged by the tidal wave of the abuses and evils which its own perversity has engendered.
VICTORY OVER ECCLESIASTICAL FORCES
The fourth year of this Ten-Year Crusade, endowed with such tremendous potentialities, has witnessed, in the Cradle of the Faith, and in direct consequence of the strenuous, the concerted and persistent efforts exerted by the champion-builders of this embryonic World Order, holding aloft the standard of an unconquerable Faith in the American and European continents, and reinforced by the voice of men of eminence in both the East and the West, and, particularly, by responsible officials, occupying high positions in various agencies of the United Nations, a victory over the ecclesiastical forces leagued against it and a fanatical population determined to extirpate it root and branch--a victory which must rank as one of the most striking among those won in the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation. The numerous properties, serving, for the most part, as the administrative headquarters of the Faith, and scattered throughout the provinces of that sorely tried land, outstanding among which is the House of the Báb in Shiráz--the holiest spot in that country, the scene of the birth of His Revelation, and the ordained Center of Pilgrimage--have, pursuant to orders issued by the central authorities in Tihrán, been returned to their owners, despite the protests of a relentless and powerful clergy, the agitation of a hostile population, and the importunate demands made by prominent members of the Legislature to outlaw and disendow the Faith, confiscate its literature, raze to the ground its principal edifices, deport its chief supporters, and root it out of the provinces. A firm and categorical assurance has, moreover, been given by the Chief Magistrate and the head of his Cabinet to the national representatives of the Persian Bahá'í Community that their national administrative headquarters in Tihrán, together with all its furnishings, books and documents, which have thus far been kept intact in that edifice, will be restored.
Whilst so conspicuous a victory was being registered by a persecuted Faith in the land of its birth over the combined forces of its traditional adversaries, its stalwart standard-bearers, in both hemispheres, have, in accordance with their solemn pledges, given at the time of the inception of the Ten-Year Crusade, been pursuing their historic task of enlarging the orbit, and of consolidating the institutions, of a rapidly maturing Administrative Order.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF WORLD CRUSADE
The number of territories included within the pale of the Faith, embracing all the sovereign states and chief dependencies of the planet, has now, in consequence of this prodigious effort, been raised to two hundred and fifty-one, as a result of the opening of the island of Anticosti, in the North Atlantic Ocean, by the Knight of Bahá'u'lláh, Mary Zabolotny, of the arrival of a pioneer in Mafia Island, off the coast of Tanganyika, and of the news received recently of the presence of a few followers of the Faith in the Soviet Republics of Tadzhikistan and of Kirgizia, almost doubling, within the space of four years, the total number of territories opened in the course of eleven decades of Bahá'í history. Of the hundred and thirty-one territories listed in the Ten-Year Plan, only Spitzbergen, Nicobar Islands and the Chagos Archipelago, as well as eleven territories, which are either incorporated in the Soviet Union or are included within its orbit, remain to be opened by the band of intrepid warriors intent upon enlarging the limits, and spreading far and wide the fame, of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. Every single territory of the hundred and twenty, mentioned by the Author of the Divine Plan in His memorable Tablets, is now opened to His Father's Faith, proclaiming the exemplary fidelity of His followers to the dearest wishes expressed by the Center of the Covenant in those Tablets.
The total number of localities where the followers of the Most Great Name now reside has, as a result of their unprecedented scattering over the surface of the globe, exceeded the forty-two hundred mark, representing an increase of no less than a thousand centers in the course of the last two years. Of these localities--foci of the warming and healing light of an all-conquering Revelation-- over a hundred are now established in Australasia, over a hundred and ten in the British Isles, over a hundred and ten in the Goal Countries of Europe, over a hundred and ten in the Dominion of Canada, over a hundred and thirty in Latin America, over a hundred and thirty in Germany and Austria, over a hundred and forty in the Indian subcontinent, over two hundred and ten in the Pacific area, over five hundred and fifty in the African continent, over nine hundred and eighty in Persia, over fourteen hundred and sixty in the United States of America.
The northernmost outpost of the Faith has now been pushed far beyond the Arctic Circle, as far as 76 degrees latitude, in consequence of the arrival of William Carr, a Canadian believer, in Thule, Greenland, a settlement situated three degrees above Arctic Bay, Franklin, the most northerly center hitherto established in the Bahá'í world.
The number of local spiritual assemblies organized in all the continents of the globe, constituting the broad and indestructible foundation of the edifice of a rising Order, now exceeds one thousand, an increase of more than a hundred in the space of a single year.
The number of islands now within the pale of the Faith, situated in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Oceans as well as in the Mediterranean and the North Sea, is now over a hundred, seventy-four of which have been opened since the inauguration of the World Spiritual Crusade, including five islands, situated in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and not listed as objectives of the Ten-Year Plan.
The number of languages into which the continually expanding literature of the Faith has been and is being translated has risen to two hundred and thirty, representing an increase of forty in the course of one year. Seventy-five of these languages are included in the ninety-one named in the Ten-Year Plan, while sixty-six have been added to those originally specified in the provisions of that same Plan. Of this widely disseminated literature seven books have been lately presented by an adherent of the Faith residing in Christchurch, New Zealand, to the officer in charge of the American Antarctic Expedition for its library, while others have been dispatched, beyond the Antarctic Circle, as far south as the Expedition's base, at McMurdo Sound, 77 degrees latitude, on the shores of the Ross Sea.
The number of incorporated spiritual assemblies, whether local or national, in all the continents of the globe, has now swelled to one hundred and ninety-five, more than ninety of which are situated in the United States of America. Outstanding among those that have been recently registered are the assemblies of Bern, Switzerland; Frankfurt, Germany; Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Brisbane, Australia; Scarborough, Canada; Aligarh, India; Mastung, Pakistan; Huncayo, Peru; Cochabamba, Bolivia; Colombo, Ceylon; Kuala Lumpur, Malaya; Asmara, Eritrea; Monrovia and Bomi Hills, Liberia; Tuarabu, Gilbert and Ellice Islands; Baro-bai-Amantai, Indonesia; and Simatalu Saibi, Simatalu Ulu, Sipipajet, Mentawai Islands.
Of the forty-nine National Haziratu'l-Quds enumerated in the Ten-Year Plan all but three have already been established, involving the expenditure of over five hundred and seventy thousand dollars, raising thereby the value of all the edifices, serving as the national administrative headquarters of the Faith in all the continents of the globe, to over two and a half million dollars.
Of the fifty-one countries in which, in accordance with that same Plan, national Bahá'í endowments are to be purchased within the space of a decade, as many as forty-nine have achieved their goals, through the expenditure of a sum estimated at more than one hundred and thirty thousand dollars.
The number of sovereign states, dependencies, as well as territories, federal districts and states of the United States of America, where the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate is recognized is now over thirty, the latest additions being Vietnam, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Indonesia and Liberia. The number of countries, states as well as cities of the United States, where the Educational Authorities have recognized the Bahá'í Holy Days now exceeds forty-five, among which are included Israel, the British Isles, Samoa, Liberia, Tanganyika, the states of Victoria and of South Australia. Mention in this connection, moreover, should be made of the recognition officially extended by the authorities of H. M. Kitalya Farm Prison in Uganda to its recently converted Bahá'í inmates to observe these same Holy Days.
THE QIBLIH OF A WORLD COMMUNITY
In the Holy Land--the Qiblih of a world community, the heart from which the energizing influences of a vivifying Faith continually stream, and the seat and center around which the diversified activities of a divinely appointed Administrative Order revolve-- following upon the termination of the construction of the Báb's holy Sepulcher, marking the closing of the first chapter in the history of the evolution of the central institutions of a world Faith, a marked progress in the rise and establishment of these institutions has been clearly noticeable. The remaining twenty-two pillars of the International Bahá'í Archives--the initial Edifice heralding the establishment of the Bahá'í World Administrative Center on Mt. Carmel --have been erected. The last half of the nine hundred tons of stone, ordered in Italy for its construction, have reached their destination, enabling the exterior of the building to be completed, while the forty-four tons of glazed green tiles, manufactured in Utrecht, to cover the five hundred square meters of roof, have been placed in position, the whole contributing, to an unprecedented degree, through its colorfulness, its classic style and graceful proportions, and in conjunction with the stately, golden-crowned Mausoleum rising beyond it, to the unfolding glory of the central institutions of a World Faith nestling in the heart of God's holy mountain.
Simultaneous with this striking development, the plan designed to insure the extension and completion of the arc serving as a base for the erection of future edifices constituting the World Bahá'í Administrative Center, has been successfully carried out. The dilapidated house, situated in the close neighborhood of Bahá'u'lláh's Shrine, recently acquired from the Development Authority of the State of Israel, because of its historic associations, has been restored. Negotiations, moreover, have been initiated with that same Authority for the acquisition of two plots to the north and south of the Shrine, for the purpose of safeguarding its precincts from a further extension of the new settlements springing up rapidly in the plain of `Akká. Steps have also been taken to register the title-deeds of a centrally located plot, originally owned by a Covenant-breaker, and abutting on the International Archives, in the name of the Israel Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles. A further blow has been struck at the remnants of the implacable enemies of `Abdu'l-Bahá, the breakers of His Father's Covenant, still living in the immediate vicinity of the holiest shrine of the Bahá'í world, through the destruction of a row of ruinous sheds which had been under their control, through orders issued by the Municipal Authorities of `Akká. And, lastly, an expropriation order has been published in the Israel Official Gazette by the Treasury Department of Israel related to buildings enclosed within the Haram-i-Aqdas, aiming at the eviction of these same enemies from the outer Sanctuary of Bahá'u'lláh's Sepulcher, following upon the evacuation by them of the Mansion at Bahjí after two score years of occupancy, and which, when carried out, will mark the final cleansing, after more than sixty-five years, of the immediate surroundings of the holiest Spot in the Bahá'í world.
Nor can I dismiss this subject related to the progress achieved in the development of Bahá'í international institutions in the Holy Land without a special reference to the continual extension and embellishment of the international endowments of the Faith in the plain of `Akká and on the slopes of Mt. Carmel, the value of which now exceeds five million two hundred thousand dollars, as well as to the ever-swelling crowds of visitors flocking to the Bahá'í Shrines in both of these places, and particularly to the number of those entering the Tomb of the Báb which, during a single day, in a three-hour period, has exceeded a thousand.
THE TEN-YEAR PLAN IN THE UNITED STATES
In the United States of America, the cradle and citadel of the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, the elected national representatives of the American Bahá'í Community, acting as the representatives of the International Bahá'í Community, charged with the defense of the cause of their persecuted brethren in the cradle of the Faith, have energetically pursued their efforts, through representations made to the United Nations officials and agencies in New York and Geneva, through their contact with high-ranking officials of the American State Department and through measures of publicity in the American Press, all culminating in the victory won over the adversaries of the Faith, to which reference has been made earlier in these pages.
The landscaping of the Temple area, including the operation of the nine fountains, as envisaged by `Abdu'l-Bahá, has been completed at a cost of two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. The number of visitors who, since public guiding has been instituted, have flocked to the doors of this Mother Temple of the West, now standing amidst such attractive surroundings, has exceeded seven hundred thousand, whilst more than three thousand have entered its doors in the course of a single day. Authorization has moreover been recently given by the Wilmette Village Board for the construction of the Home for the Aged, the first Dependency of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár. The value of national and local endowments owned by, and under the control of, that community, whose members have so spontaneously and effectively championed the cause of the persecuted and the down-trodden, and so generously contributed to their relief in the past, is now four and a half million dollars. The number of American Indian tribes with which contact has been established in the Western Hemisphere--an achievement in which the members of this Community have played a leading role--is now over forty-five. No less than eighteen American Indian tribes are now represented in the Bahá'í communities of that same hemisphere, mainly as a result of the assiduous endeavors exerted by the members of this Community. The number of territories, federal districts and states where official authorization for the conduct of Bahá'í marriages has been obtained is now twenty-eight, whilst the number of localities, in that same country, where the Bahá'í Holy Days are officially recognized is one short of forty.
IN THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
In the African continent, where the momentum gained in the process of propagation of the Faith and the consolidation of its newly-born administrative institutions has exceeded the rate of progress achieved in every other continent of the globe, and particularly since the emergence, a year ago, of three regional spiritual assemblies, the number of the adherents of the Faith, including those in the newly-opened islands off the eastern and western coasts of that vast continent, is now well over thirty-five hundred, over three thousand of whom are Negroes. The number of localities where the followers of Bahá'u'lláh reside is over five hundred and fifty. The number of tribes represented in these flourishing communities has reached one hundred and ninety-seven. The number of languages into which Bahá'í literature has been and is being translated is over seventy, whilst the number of local spiritual assemblies, constituting the bedrock of a solidly established Order, is approaching one hundred and fifty.
IN THE PACIFIC AREA
In the Pacific area, where Bahá'í exploits bid fair to outshine the feats achieved in any other ocean, and indeed in every continent of the globe, now competing for the palm of victory with the African continent itself, preliminary measures have been undertaken for the formation of no less than three of the thirteen national and regional spiritual assemblies which are to be established in the course of this year's Ridván festivities. These three assemblies, the seats of which are to be located in Japan, in Indonesia and in the Dominion of New Zealand, are destined to function in regions where the yellow, the brown and white races predominate, and in which the majority of the inhabitants belong either to the Buddhist, the Muslim or Christian Faiths. In so vast and promising an area, blessed by the labors of two Hands of the Cause of God, the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside, which in the concluding years of the Apostolic Age of the Faith, had barely reached ten, has now swelled to over two hundred and ten, scattered over no less than forty islands. It already boasts over seventeen hundred believers of the brown race alone, more than fifty local spiritual assemblies, five national Haziratu'l-Quds, three Bahá'í schools, twenty-one incorporated local spiritual assemblies, four states where Bahá'í national endowments have been established, a site purchased for its first projected Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, three territories where the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate is recognized, and three others where Bahá'í children have been allowed to observe the Bahá'í Holy Days, as well as the translation of Bahá'í literature into no less than fifty of the languages current among its indigenous population. It, moreover, prides itself on the initiation of teaching activities in no less than a hundred of the four hundred islands constituting one of its numerous southern archipelagos.
THE MOTHER-TEMPLES OF THREE CONTINENTS
So brilliant and diversified a record of services to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, has been greatly enriched by the plans now initiated for the launching of an ambitious three-fold enterprise, designed to compensate for the disabilities suffered by the sorely-tried Community of the followers of His Faith in the land of His birth, aiming at the erection, in localities as far apart as Frankfurt, Sydney and Kampala, of the Mother-Temples of the European, the Australian and African continents, at a cost of approximately one million dollars, complementing the Temples already constructed in the Asiatic and American continents. One-third of this sum I, gladly and with a grateful heart, pledge at this auspicious hour, a sum which, when added to the funds already donated for this laudable purpose, amounting to one hundred and forty thousand dollars--over one hundred thousand of which represents the munificent donation of the Hand of the Cause, Amelia Collins--will constitute well-nigh half of the entire amount required to ensure the consummation of this stupendous, epoch-making undertaking.
The designs for these sacred Fanes, to be raised to the glory of the Founder of our Faith, and dedicated to the worship of the one true God, have, in the case of the Australian and African Temples, been already executed by the Hand of the Cause, Mason Remey, whilst the design for the German Temple has been completed by the German architect, Teuto Rocholl--all three of which will be exhibited, for the first time, to the assembled delegates at the thirteen historic Bahá'í National Conventions being held for the first time during this year's Ridván Festival. The excavation of the foundations of the African Temple has actually commenced, whilst plans and specifications are being prepared by a well-known firm in Kampala. The construction of the Australian Temple has, moreover, been placed in the hands of a reliable Sydney architect, who will have completed the detailed drawings and specifications by the first of Ridván, and contemplates beginning work on the foundations by next June and completing the building by March, 1959.
To the National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, more than a thousand in number, to groups as well as individuals, in every continent of the globe, and in whatever island they may be laboring in the service of this glorious Faith, I direct an earnest plea to arise, now that the prodigious task of the purchase of more than forty national Haziratu'l-Quds, and the establishment of Bahá'í national endowments in nearly fifty countries, has been triumphantly consummated and display, at this hour when the global Spiritual Crusade has just passed the third-way point, the self-same solidarity, generosity, tenacity and single-mindedness which they have consistently demonstrated since its inauguration four years ago, which have insured the success of some of the most arduous enterprises launched under the Ten-Year Plan, and which, in the decades preceding its inception, have brought to a glorious culmination the task of erecting the first two Mashriqu'l-Adhkars of the Bahá'í world.
KNIGHTS OF Bahá'u'lláh AND HEROIC PIONEERS
A special tribute, I feel, should be paid in this survey of worldwide Bahá'í achievements, to the heroic band of pioneers, and particularly to the company of the Knights of Bahá'u'lláh, who, as a result of their indomitable spirit, courage, steadfastness, and self-abnegation, have achieved in the course of four brief years, in so many of the virgin territories newly opened to His Faith, a measure of success far exceeding the most sanguine expectations. Such a success, reflected in both the numerical strength of these territories and the range and solidity of the achievements of the Bahá'í crusaders responsible for their opening and development, has surpassed to an unbelievable extent the goals set for them under the Ten-Year Plan.
To Uganda, opened on the eve of the Global Crusade, where the number of the avowed adherents of the Faith has now passed the eleven hundred mark, and the number of Bahá'í centers exceeds one hundred and eighty, to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and Gambia where the number of the believers has reached five hundred and three hundred respectively, must be added Mentawai Islands, where adult Bahá'ís now number over eleven hundred; the British Cameroons, with well-nigh three hundred adult Bahá'ís; Mauritius with over seventy; Basutoland with over fifty; Ruanda-Urundi and the Seychelles, each with over thirty; Spanish Morocco, Reunion Island, the French Cameroons, British Togoland, French Togoland, Sikkim, the Canary Islands, British Guiana, Cape Verde Islands, Ashanti Protectorate, Swaziland, South Rhodesia, each with over twenty; and Key West, French Equatorial Africa, Cook Islands, Balearic Islands, French Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Cyprus, Morocco International Zone, Samoa Islands, Mariana Islands, New Hebrides Islands, Solomon Islands, Portuguese Timor, Bechuanaland, Northern Territories Protectorate, Bahama Islands, and Brunei, each with between ten and twenty.
CONFERENCES AND INSTITUTES
Nor should reference be omitted in these pages to the surprisingly numerous conferences and institutes which, in the course of the last twelve months, have been organized by the enterprising, the indefatigable and vigilant members of Bahá'í communities in various parts of the world, supplementing the multiple activities carried on with such splendid vigor in the course of the prosecution of the Ten-Year Plan. A mere enumeration of these institutes and conferences will serve to reveal their diversity and scope, and demonstrate the earnestness with which their organizers and participants are discharging their primary obligation to propagate their Faith:
The first Southeast Asia Teaching Conference in Djakarta, Indonesia; the first All-Taiwan Teaching Conference in Tainan; the Korean Summer and Winter Conference in Kwangju; the Indo-China Teaching Conference in Saigon; the Japanese National Teaching Conference in Kyoto; the first American Indian Teaching Conference in Northern Arizona; the American Indian Teaching Conference in Los Angeles, California; the Alaskan Teaching Conference in Fairbanks; the Hawaii-wide Teaching Conference in Honolulu; the Western Canada Summer Conference in Banff; the Maritime Teaching Conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; the Teaching Conference in Beaulac, Canada; the French Teaching Conference in Mentone-Garavan; the third Italian Teaching Conference in Rome; the third Swiss Teaching Conference in Basel; the Teaching Conference in Romanshorn; the Teaching Conference in Neuchatel; the Iberian Teaching Conferences in Barcelona; the first Austrian Teaching Conference in Gosau; the Teaching Conference in Frankfurt; the Regional Convention in Stuttgart; the Teaching Conference in Stockholm; the Benelux Regional Teaching Conferences in Brussels and in The Hague; the Nordisk Teaching Conference in Moss, Norway; the Northwest Teaching Conferences in Liverpool, Blackpool and Manchester; the Midlands Teaching Conference in Birmingham; the Southeast Teaching Conferences in London and Reading; the Scottish Teaching Conferences in Edinburgh and Glasgow; the Northern Ireland Teaching Conference in Belfast; the Northeast Teaching Conference in Leeds; the Southwest Teaching Conferences in Portcawl, Torquay and Cardiff; the British Northern Isles Teaching Conference in Lerwick, Shetland Islands; the South India Teaching Conference in Bangalore; the Pakistan Teaching Conference in Karachi; the South Australian State Teaching Conference in Adelaide; the New South Wales Regional Teaching Conference in Sydney; the Australian Post-Convention Teaching Institute in Sydney; the New Zealand Teaching Conference in Wellington; the New Zealand Regional Teaching Conference in New Plymouth; the Regional Teaching Conference in Hobart, Tasmania; the Canary Islands Teaching Conference in Las Palmas; the first Colombian Teaching Conference in Bogota; the Peruvian Teaching Conference in Lima; the first Mexican Teaching Conference in Mexico City; the Cuban Teaching Conference in Havana; the Haitian Teaching Conference in Port-au-Prince; the Honduran Teaching Conference in Honduras; the Guatemalan Teaching Conference in Guatemala; the Dominican Teaching Conference in Ciudad Trujillo; the Jamaican Teaching Conference in Kingston; the El Salvador Teaching Conference in Santa Ana; the Nicaraguan Teaching Conference in Managua; the Costa Rican Teaching Conference in San Jose; the Panamanian Teaching Conference in Panama City; the Annual Study Institute of Brazil in Rezende; the Teaching Conferences of the British Cameroons in Mutengere, as well as a large number of similar conferences and institutes too numerous to mention held throughout the United States of America.
To these highly praiseworthy accomplishments, in which an increasing number of the promoters of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, whether teachers or administrators, have shared in recent years, must be added an even more impressive list of enterprises, none of them specified as part of the Ten-Year Plan, and which stalwart upholders of His Cause, driven by an irresistible impulse to further enlarge its limits, multiply its assets, consolidate its foundations, and noise abroad its fame, have initiated and conducted at a steadily accelerated pace since the launching of the World Spiritual Crusade.
Indeed the multiplicity, variety, scope, and significance of these enterprises have impelled me to tabulate and record them for posterity on a specially prepared map, designed to present graphically the achievements supplementing the tasks already performed in pursuance of the provisions of the Ten-Year Plan. A bare recital of these additional victories won, in such rapid succession, over so vast a field, by the band of Bahá'u'lláh's crusaders, will amply demonstrate the unquenchable enthusiasm, no less than the inflexible resolve and boundless devotion, animating His followers in the pursuit of their high calling.
DYNAMIC POWER OF FAITH
The opening of the Sovereign states of Laos and of Cambodia and of the islands of Trinidad, of Corisco, of Fernando-Po, of Pemba and of Mafia; the acquisition of sites for the construction of the future Mother-Temples of Argentina, of Brazil and of Libya; the sum recently allocated for the purchase of a site for the erection of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the British Isles; the launching of the twin far-reaching enterprises designed to culminate in the establishment of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkars of Africa and of Australasia; the founding of Bahá'í Schools in the New Hebrides Islands, in Mentawai Islands and in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands; the establishment of Bahá'í burial grounds in Libya, Burma and Tanganyika; the formulation of supplementary plans by the newly emerged regional spiritual assemblies in Africa, and by the Bahá'í communities of the Seychelles and the Sudan; the acquisition of land for the Bahá'í summer schools of Egypt, of Iraq and of Chile; the establishment of Bahá'í endowments in the Aleutian Islands, in Swaziland, in Mentawai Islands, in Spanish Morocco, in Basutoland and in Liberia; the acquisition of local Haziratu'l-Quds in Gambia, in the Aleutian Islands, in Uganda, in Spanish Morocco, in the British Cameroons, in Algeria and in French Morocco; the translation of Bahá'í literature into thirty-one African, seven American Indian, and twenty-eight miscellaneous languages; the purchase of Bahá'í historic sites in the City of Adrianople; the founding of an Indian Cultural Institute in Chichicastenango, Guatemala; the transfer of the remains of the Báb's infant son from a mosque in Shiráz to the Bahá'í burial ground in that city--these proclaim, in no uncertain terms, the splendid initiative and the dynamic power of the faith of the bearers of the Gospel of the New Day, as well as their unyielding determination to exceed, by every means in their power, the bounds of their prescribed duties and responsibilities assumed under the Ten-Year Plan, and to enhance, through every channel open to them, and over as wide a range as their circumstances permit, their share of service in the collective task now being prosecuted with such exemplary heroism, on the whole surface of the planet, for the world-wide triumph of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh and the ultimate redemption of all mankind.
SOLEMN RENEWAL OF DEDICATION
Dearly-beloved friends: The opening of the second year of the third phase of a ten-year long Crusade, marking the passing of a little over one third of its duration; coinciding with the closing of a period rendered memorable by the achievement of so many of its goals, as well as by a succession of victories won in fields beyond its scope; significantly ushered in by the emergence of no less than thirteen national and regional spiritual assemblies in four continents, with a jurisdiction embracing more than forty territories of the globe, in the election of which over three hundred delegates representing more than one hundred and thirty local communities will participate; and over the inauguration of which no less than thirteen Hands of the Cause of God will preside--the opening of so auspicious a year must be signalized by a solemn renewal of dedication, on the part of all who are participating in this colossal, world-girdling enterprise, and indeed by the entire company of those who profess the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh--a dedication which, as the year pursues its course, will be reflected in acts the brilliance of which will eclipse the shining exploits achieved since the inception of the Crusade, and, indeed, since the commencement of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.
The preeminent task of teaching the Faith to the multitudes who consciously or unconsciously thirst after the healing Word of God in this day--a task so dear to the heart of `Abdu'l-Bahá; at once so sacred, so fundamental, and so urgent; primarily involving and challenging every single individual; the bed-rock on which the solidity and the stability of the multiplying institutions of a rising Order must rest--such a task must, in the course of this year, be accorded priority over every other Bahá'í activity.
"If they arise to teach My Cause," Bahá'u'lláh Himself, revealing the secret of success for the propagation of His Faith, has declared, "they must let the breath of Him Who is the Unconstrained, stir them, and must spread it abroad on the earth with high resolve, with minds that are wholly centered in Him, and with hearts that are completely detached from, and independent of, all things, and with souls that are sanctified from the world and its vanities. It behooveth them to choose as the best provision for their journey reliance upon God, and to clothe themselves with the love of their Lord, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious. If they do so, their words shall influence their hearers."
TASKS FOR THE CURRENT YEAR
The historic work initiated, at the price of so much sacrifice, in more than one hundred territories of the globe, must not only be jealously safeguarded, but continually expanded, and wisely consolidated. A determined effort must be made to insure, as speedily as possible, the resettlement of the territories which Bahá'í pioneers have been forced to abandon, and the opening of the three virgin islands situated in the North Sea and in the Indian Ocean, as well as the six Republics of the Soviet Union and the five territories included within the Soviet Orbit. Particular attention should be paid to the all-important task of broadening and consolidating the foundations of the newly emerged national and regional spiritual assemblies, as an essential preliminary to the formation of additional ones designed to buttress the fabric of a steadily expanding Administrative Order. Simultaneous with the acceleration in the process of individual conversion, the equally pressing need of safeguarding local spiritual assemblies from dissolution and of increasing rapidly their number, must continually be borne in mind, as the most effectual means for the strengthening of the structural basis of the Administrative Order of the Faith. Complementing this laudable task, strenuous efforts must be exerted for the purpose of multiplying the existing groups and isolated centers in all the continents of the globe, insuring thereby the early attainment of the goal of five thousand Bahá'í centers in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. The three remaining Haziratu'l-Quds, the last two national endowments, the one remaining Temple site, must, despite the present obstacles and the complications that have arisen, be speedily acquired, whilst the unexpected setback in the purchase of the Temple site in Frankfurt must be overcome. The important two-fold task of translating and of publishing Bahá'í literature, constituting so vital an aspect of the Plan, must be diligently pursued and rapidly completed. The construction of the Home for the Aged --an institution designed to inaugurate the Dependencies of the Mother Temple of the West--must without further delay be commenced. The process of incorporating firmly grounded local as well as newly formed national and regional spiritual assemblies must be given an unprecedented impetus in every continent of the globe. The no less essential obligation to establish the remaining Bahá'í Publishing Trusts must likewise be discharged. Strenuous efforts must be exerted to vindicate the independent character of the Bahá'í Faith through obtaining recognition by civil authorities, in as many countries, states and localities as possible, of both the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate and the Bahá'í Holy Days. Nor should any effort be spared, however severe the challenge, to insure the acquisition and preservation for posterity of the few remaining historic sites in the Cradle of the Faith, and particularly those associated with the incarceration and execution of its Herald in Adhirbayjan. The equally meritorious project of transferring the remains of the Father of Bahá'u'lláh, of the mother and of the cousin of the Báb to the Bahá'í burial ground in the vicinity of the Most Great House, must receive the continued and prayerful attention of those on whom this sacred responsibility primarily devolves. In particular a determined effort must be made, now that no less than nine of the fifteen republics constituting the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are included within the pale of the Faith, and especially by those Bahá'í communities situated on the periphery of this vast territory, to establish a nucleus, however small, in each of the six remaining republics, all of which are now confined to the European continent, as well as in each of the two islands and of the three satellites included within the Soviet Orbit, thereby decisively contributing to the consummation of one of the most challenging objectives of this world-embracing Crusade.
Supplementing these manifold and pressing duties, which the audacious prosecutors of this vast Crusade are now, with such modest resources, and despite the smallness of their numbers, so nobly discharging, over so large a portion of the globe, and at so turbulent a stage in the affairs of mankind, is the no less vital obligation to insure through a still more spectacular demonstration of world-wide Bahá'í solidarity and self-sacrifice, the means whereby the three monumental Edifices, each designed to serve as a house for the indwelling Spirit of God and a tabernacle for the glorification of His appointed Messenger in this day, may, without any interruption, be raised and dedicated, in the European, the African and Australian continents, and contribute their share to the world-wide celebrations of the Centenary towards which every Bahá'í heart is eagerly straining.
Great are the strides that have already been made, and phenomenal the success achieved, by the prosecutors of a thrice blessed Crusade--a Crusade so closely associated with the epoch-making Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, utilizing as its agencies the laboriously erected institutions of an efficiently functioning, divinely-appointed Administrative Order, and linking, as it forges ahead, two historic centenaries commemorating the Birth and the Declaration of the Mission of the Founder of our Faith. The tasks that still remain to be accomplished, however, are truly formidable. Above all, the homefront, that must serve as a base, and act as a reservoir for the supply of a steady flow of pioneers and resources for the multiple organized operations of a continually expanding Crusade, and which, alas, in several countries, distinguished by an outstanding record of service to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has been progressively declining, must, at whatever cost, and within as short a time as possible, be revitalized, extended and consolidated. More than ever its manpower must rapidly increase, the administrative machinery it utilizes, and on which it relies, for the effectual discharge of its Mission, must be assiduously perfected, and, most important of all, its spiritual driving force must be constantly reinforced through a firmer grasp by the individuals, ultimately responsible for its progress, of the distinguishing verities and fundamental purposes of their Faith, through a fuller dedication to its glorious Mission, and through a closer communion with its animating Spirit.
THE GUARDIAN'S APPEAL TO ALL Bahá'íS
I appeal, as I close this review of the superb feats already accomplished, in the course of so many campaigns, by the heroic band of the warriors of Bahá'u'lláh, battling in His Name and by His aid for the purification, the unification and the spiritualization of a morally and spiritually bankrupt society, now hovering on the brink of self-destruction, for a renewed dedication, at this critical hour in the fortunes of mankind, on the part of the entire company of my spiritual brethren in every continent of the globe, to the high ideals of the Cause they have espoused, as well as to the immediate accomplishment of the goals of the Crusade on which they have embarked, be they in active service or not, of either sex, young as well as old, rich or poor, whether veteran or newly enrolled--a dedication reminiscent of the pledges which the Dawn-breakers of an earlier Apostolic Age, assembled in conference at Badasht, and faced with issues of a different but equally challenging nature, willingly and solemnly made for the prosecution of the collective task with which they were confronted.
May this Crusade, on which the privileged heirs and present successors of the heroes of the Primitive Age of our Faith have so auspiciously embarked, yield, as it speeds on to its mid-way point, such a harvest as will amaze its prosecutors, astonish the world at large, and draw forth from the Source on high a measure of celestial strength adequate to insure its triumphant consummation.