USBN #164 July 1943 pp1-3
Regarding the passages in the "Promulgation of Universal Peace", the word "income" should be changed to "need" until such time as the text of the Master's address in the original is found and verified. This particular address. however, is not available at present. The second passage is obviously a mistake and should read: '•if his production exceeds he will pay a tax."
As already stated in a previous communication, the observance of the centenary of our Faith should be held in May, 1944, at which time the annual Convention should also take place; the friends should gather in the auditorium of the Temple on the 22nd of May, two hours and eleven minutes after sunset, which is the exact time of the Bab's Declaration. On that occasion they should also celebrate the completion of the exterior ornamentation of their Temple. This meeting, so historic in nature, will thus be both a dedication ceremony of the House of Worship, as well as a celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Faith. While gathered in the auditorium no addresses should be delivered, but appropriate selections from the revealed writings should be read, whether prayers, meditations, Tablets, the addresses of the Master or selections from the Bible or the Qur'an. Passages from the writings of the Bab should be a special feature of the readings selected for this occasion. Singing, whether by soloists or choirs, should form part of the program. The utmost care should be taken to insure that the standard of the vocal music should befit that solemn occasion. The Guardian approves the selection of some of the psalms of David as an evidence of the universality of the Faith which should be amply demonstrated on that occasion. In order to consummate that historic celebration on that day the Guardian suggests that a meeting should be held in the Foundation Hall immediately following the dedication ceremony in the auditorium. at which addresses should be delivered, and non-Baha'is be invited to take part. The program for such a meeting should be elaborate and carefully prepared, and every effort should be made to have men of capacity and eminence as well as well-known Baha'i speakers participate. The agenda of this meeting is left to the discretion of your Assembly, but the Guardian advises you. in view of its importance, to seek the suggestions of the believers before making your final decision. Any new features the friends or the Assembly may wish to add would be most welcomed by the Guardian. who feels that the significance of the Faith, its universality, its world-wide influence. its indestructible unity. its moving history, its world order. its first House of Worship. m the Western World. and its attitude to other Faiths should be clearly and eloquently set forth and explained.
In honor of this unique occasion the Guardian hopes to send a copy of the portrait of the Bab and some of His relics to be displayed for the first time to the assembled believers in the auditorium of the Temple on that memorable evening, after which they should be placed in a safe spot within the Temple together with the Hair of Baha'u'llah previously presented to the American believers. Under no circumstances should the portrait of the Bab be left exposed or hung on the wall of the Temple, nor should any copy of it be made. Only on very rare occasions should it be displayed, and whenever shown should be in no other place except the Foundation Hall of the Temple. Its display in the auditorium is permitted only for this occasion. No such portrait is to be found anywhere in the Baha'i world -with the exception of Haifa-nor is the Guardian contemplating sending any copy at present to any other Baha'i community. This indicates the importance he attaches to the Temple in America, which he feels is a befitting edifice to enshrine it. The utmost vigilance should be exercised that no copy be made of it in the future, or any attempts be made to reproduce it in any way.
This celebration, on the 22nd of May, 1944, is one feature of the festivities commemorating that historic event. The Convention period, during which these festivities are to be held, should be extended to at least a full week. during which the greatest publicity should be given to the events that are being commemorated. A banquet, at which distinguished friends, sympathizers and admirers of the Cause should be invited to be present, should be held in a befitting setting in the city of Chicago where the Cause was first established in America. In this connection, the Guardian would like to point out that that first center was, as affirmed by Dr. Khayrullah himself. established by him in 1894. Hence. it is justifiable to consider the establishment of the Faith of Baha'u'llah in the continent of America to have begun in 1894. The American believers will, therefore, be celebrating in May, 1944, at once the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Faith. the completion of the exterior ornamentation of the Temple, and the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Baha'i Faith in the Western hemisphere and, indeed, in the entire Western world. To this marvelous coincidence adequate recognition should be given during the dedication ceremony in the form of thanksgiving prayers, in the meetings held in the Foundation Hall of the Temple, at the sessions of the Convention, through the press, and over the radio.
As to this particular Convention itself, the Guardian feels that the Baha'is in Central and South America should be invited to participate and to send, if possible, one representative from each country. These representatives would have the right to deliberate and participate in all the discussions of the Convention, only, naturally, for that year. They would not, however, exercise the right to elect the National Assembly which will be restricted to the delegates from the United States and Canada. In a sense the Convention will represent the entire community of the followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the Americas, gathered to celebrate, in the newly completed Temple, the centenary of their Faith, and commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its inception in the Western Hemisphere.
As the number of local Spiritual Assemblies in North America is steadily increasing, and will soon reach a point when it will be impracticable to apportion the 171 delegates among them, and as the number of delegates should not at present be further increased. the Guardian considers it advisable to introduce a new basis for election on the occasion of this historic Convention. This new principle will enable all Baha'is. whether belonging to communities that have an Assembly or to groups, and even all isolated believers, to participate in the election of delegates for the national Convention. Such a step has become necessary in view of the fact that the number of the Baha'is in localities where there are only groups or isolated believers has increased to such an extent as to constitute more than half of the total number of believers living in localities where there is a Spiritual Assembly. All the Baha'is will participate, through this new method, in the election of the national delegates - a step that will greatly increase the electorate, and broaden the basis of Baha'i representation. The unit will, henceforth. have to be regarded as the State or Province, rather than the locality in which the believers reside. In other words, the hundred and seventy-one delegates will have to be apportioned among the States oi the U.S.A. and the Provinces of Canada, in direct proportion to the number of believers residing in each one of them. The Baha'is in each State and Province must either through correspondence or, preferably, by coming together whenever feasible, elect from among all the believers in that State or Province, the number of delegates allocated to them by the National Spiritual Assembly. In those States where there are numerous local Baha'i communities it may be found advisable to divide each one of them into districts. allocating to each district a portion of the delegates assigned to that State, and in direct proportion to the number of believers Jiving within the specified district. It is for the National Assembly to consider the most efficient methods whereby all the American believers will henceforth be able to participate in the election of their delegates. This method will promote Baha'i solidarity in every State and Province, and, by bringing together the believers. enable them to function more efficiently and harmoniously, and promote the work of the Cause that lies ahead. No more befitting occasion could be found on which to initiate this measure than when the Baha'i representatives of North, Central and South America are gathered to celebrate such historic events in the annals of the Cause.
In connection with these celebrations the Guardian would advise your Assembly to consider the following suggestions:
1. Baha'is unable to participate inthe festivities in Chicago and Wilmette should be urged to observe befittingly these anniversaries in their respective localities. Articles in the press, radio broadcasts. invitations to well-known friends and admirers of the Cause. the showing of the Master's film, the playing of the record of His voice, banquets, exhibitions of the Temple models, etc.. should characterize these festivities.
2. The special attention of the friends and visitors, during this celebration should be directed to the fact that the event marks also the hundredth anniversary of the birth of 'Abdu'l-Baha. This should be emphasized in the addresses delivered in the special anniversary publication, the souvenir pamphlets, the articles for the press and the radio broadcasts.
3. A special anniversary publication should be issued under the supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly and following the general lines indicated in the memorandum submitted by them to the Guardian.
4. The preparation of a smaller souvenir pamphlet, adorned by the Paris photograph of the Master and an artistic reproduction of the Temple, containing a brief outline of the salient events of the first Baha'i century, and prefaced by a short statement of the aims and purposes of the Faith, attractively bound and to be presented to the distinguished guests participating in these celebrations.
5 Special instructions to the Baha'is of Central and South America to celebrate the occasion and to gather at the exact time of the Bab's Declaration, and to give as wide a publicity to the event as their resources permit.
6 The appointment of a special committee as soon as possible to insure the carrying out of the necessary measures. under the close supervision of the National Assembly, for the proper execution of these plans.
7. An effort should be made to give publicity to this event and its celebration through national radio broadcasts, and, if feasible, to broadcast the ceremony from the auditorium of the Temple.
The Guardian hopes to send a color film of the Holy Shrines and gardens in 'Akka and Haifa to be shown to the friends at the Convention and circulated amongst the various centers.
In conclusion, he wishes to assure you, one and all, of his special prayers for the success of the mighty efforts which he is sure you will exert to insure the triumph of the Seven Year Plan, as well as the glorious celebrations which must consummate the first Baha'i century.
March 28, 1943