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(United Kingdom, 27 May)

“…by sticking to the path of learning that has been set,
by remaining obedient to the Will of the Universal House of Justice…
answers [to the many and varied challenges ahead] will come.”

This report is from the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom after their spirited national Convention:

Some 270 friends, including 84 delegates, attended National Convention from 24-26 May. Inspired by the Ridvan and 13 May messages of the Universal House of Justice…the delegates consulted on the exciting possibilities that now lie ahead for accelerating the teaching work and the progress of clusters.

Drawing on the learning about the intensive programmes of growth so beautifully and vividly captured in [the publication] “Attaining the Dynamics of Growth: Glimpses from five continents”, prepared by the International Teaching Centre [which can now be downloaded from the US website or purchased], delegates came forward to share their experiences and offer reflections on themes at the heart of the Five Year Plan — expansion, consolidation, reflection, planning and administration, and the acceleration of learning. The consultations were mature, focused and greatly enriched by the delegates’ own experiences of the teaching work, particularly in the field of direct, collective teaching…

…a most moving devotional for the believers in the Cradle of the Faith [was held], whose example of courage, fortitude and selfless obedience to the Universal House of Justice stirred Convention to its very depths…

Excellent children’s and junior youth and youth programmes ran concurrently with the main Convention programme, and Convention received a most impressive and spirited presentation from the youth in attendance…

The near future will, of course, bring its many and varied challenges and these will need to be addressed with faith, consecration and courage. Many of these dominated the proceedings at Convention:

What do we have to do to raise the number of effective teachers and teaching teams?

How do we involve more believers in the teaching work? How do we create a sense of movement and purpose in those less developed “B” and “C” clusters?

How can we transform a much higher proportion of our existing trained resources into active, audacious and tenacious teachers of the Cause?

How can we accelerate the learning about growth and transfer the relevant learning to clusters at a formative stage of development?

How do we work with receptive populations?

It is clear that it may take some time before we have the answers to these and other questions. What is equally clear, however, is that by sticking to the path of learning that has been set, by remaining obedient to the Will of the Universal House of Justice, those answers will come.

— National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom

‘Abdu’l-Bahá toured Europe for three months in 1911 and visited a second time in 1913. He is shown here at Clifton Guest House, Bristol, United Kingdom, in September 1911.

* * * * * *
We are striving with heart and soul, resting neither day nor night, seeking not a moment’s ease, to make this world of man the mirror of the unity of God. Then how much more must the beloved of the Lord reflect that unity? And this cherished hope, this yearning wish of ours will be visibly fulfilled only on the day when the true friends of God arise to carry out the Teachings of the Abhá Beauty—may my life be a ransom for His lovers!

One amongst His Teachings is this, that love and good faith must so dominate the human heart that men will regard the stranger as a familiar friend, the malefactor as one of their own, the alien even as a loved one, the enemy as a companion dear and close. Who killeth them, him will they call a bestower of life; who turneth away from them, him will they regard as turning towards them; who denieth their message, him will they consider as one acknowledging its truth. The meaning is that they must treat all humankind even as they treat their sympathizers, their fellow-believers, their loved ones and familiar friends.

– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá SWA 84
* * * * * *

(From “UK BAHA’I NEWS EMAIL SERVICE”)
(Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

The following is a digest of the 13 May letter of the House of Justice to the Baha’is of the World:

At midday on the second of May, the Tenth International Baha’i Convention drew to its close. Over the course of several days some one thousand delegates from over 150 countries had taken part in five consultative sessions that centred on the progress of the current global Plan. It was a source of inspiration and joy to note the wealth of experience that they brought to the discussions and the unity of thought that distinguished the comments put forward.

An historical analysis of efforts to establish intensive programmes of growth in different parts of the globe was presented to the delegates. What it demonstrates, above all, is how rapidly the process of learning that impels progress is accelerating worldwide.

At the Conference of Continental Boards of Counsellors [that immediately followed the International Baha’i Convention] observations made by these high-ranking officers of the Cause confirmed the efficacy of the strategies being put in place for the expansion and consolidation of the Faith.

The House of Justice ends their letter thus:

As we enter the third year of the Five Year Plan, we are delighted to announce that the number of intensive programmes of growth in operation has surpassed the 600 mark. However impressive this accomplishment, it pales before what remains to be achieved. We urge you, one and all,

to maintain your focus,

to strengthen your resolve and

to arise with even greater determination to carry forward the teaching work.

The Seat of the Universal House of Justice, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.

* * * * * * * *

As to the words—“Immediately after the oppression of those days”—they refer to the time when men shall become oppressed and afflicted, the time when the lingering traces of the Sun of Truth and the fruit of the Tree of knowledge and wisdom will have vanished from the midst of men, when the reins of mankind will have fallen into the grasp of the foolish and ignorant, when the portals of divine unity and understanding—the essential and highest purpose in creation—will have been closed, when certain knowledge will have given way to idle fancy, and corruption will have usurped the station of righteousness…
What “oppression” is greater than that which hath been recounted? What “oppression” is more grievous than that a soul seeking the truth, and wishing to attain unto the knowledge of God, should know not where to go for it and from whom to seek it?

Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán p. 29,31

* * * * * * * *

(Excerpted from letter of Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, 13 May 2008.)

(Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

…the couple looked to relocate…

Appropriately, they sought guidance from the Regional Bahá’í Council…

The Council’s homefront pioneering office sent them a list of priority clusters, and armed with that they set about listening to clusters’ needs and trying to “decide who we could be the most help to,” recalls Margie.

When the dust settled, Margie and Fariborz and two children still in high school found themselves in New Berlin in the B-stage Waukesha County cluster.

As for their own service, Margie and Fariborz, after much prayer, decided to start a musical fireside.

“The idea was the local Bahá’ís could show off their musical talent and invite their friends,” explained Margie. “Musical talent, however, is not a requirement, as many come just to enjoy the music.”

Each fireside begins with a potluck dinner and social hour. Then the musical portion starts with a prayer and the reading of Bahá’í writings on music.

“At the last fireside, there were three members of the community of interest who were very inspired, and at their follow-ups requested more information about the Bahá’í Faith and promised to be back,” reports Margie.

(“Homefront pioneers help ignite two clusters“, The American Bahá’í – Published: 4/4/2008 http://www.usbnc.org/tab/news/templates/layout1.aspx?articleid=2947&zoneid=3)

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