THE BULLETIN OF THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY
Office of the Secretary169 CHRISTOPHER STREET, NEW YORK CITY
Calendar. Baha'i Feast at Green Acre Inn, Saturday Evening, July 4th; Convention Sessions, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 6th, 7th and 8th. Public meetings of Baha'i Congress, daily, Sunday to Wednesday, July 5 to 8. If so voted by the delegates, the Convention can be extended one or more days.
Railroad Fares. Tickets should be purchased to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Bus service from Portsmouth to Green Acre. Write to Miss Roushan Wilkinson for information about special reduced fares.
Accommodations. Free camp sites for motor parties bringing tents. Cooperative Kitchen provided by National Spiritual Assembly to supply free cooking facilities and food at cost, so that no believer need miss the Convention on account of the expense. Cottage rooms, single, from $3 per week; double from $5. Room and board at The Crossways, $17 or $18 per week; at Bittersweet Cottage, from $18; at Fellowship House, from $28; at Green Acre Inn, single rooms with board, $24 to $40: double rooms with board, $38 to $50. Board at Green Inn. $14 per week; breakfast 75c, luncheon 75c. dinner $1.50. Meals at cost during first two weeks of July at Golden Cock Tea House.
Important Note. Make Baha'i Feast ($1.50 per person) and also room reservations in advance, if possible, through Miss Ronshan Wilkinson, 35 Congress Street, Boston, Mass., until June 20th. After June 20, care Green Acre Inn, Green Acre, Eliot, Maine. Reservations for the Feast must be received before June 30th. In applying for rooms, state approximate cost you desire to pay and whether with or without board.
SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE BAHA'IS OF UNITED STATES AND CANADA.
"I am deeply convinced that if the annual Convention of the friends in America, as well as the National Spiritual Assembly, desire to become potent instruments for the speedy realization of the Beloved's fondest hopes for the future of that country, they should endeavor, first and foremost, to exemplify, in an increasing degree, to all Baha'is and to the world at large the high ideals of fellowship and service which Baha'u'llah and the beloved Master repeatedly set before them."
Dear Baha'i friends:
By a thousand avenues, visible and invisible, the reality of the heavenly kingdom is rapidly entering the arena of human action and thought. Even those who know not its manifest source have become aware of what mighty powers are striving to regenerate humanity in this day, and there is not one soul, no matter how unconscious it may be, but has become an instrutnent either for the destruction of the old evil or the promotion of the new, divine good.
So resolutely have liberal minds the world over taken up the task of establishing the fundamental Baha'i principles that it is possible even for the sincerest believer occasionally to ask himself what the little company of Baha'is can accomplish comparable in importance with the effort of these well-endowed and noble men and women. But no group or association of individuals anywhere in the world has our special and unique privilege of creating that complete, unbreakable unity which is born of God. Clearly before our feet we may from day to day perceive those paths of conscious faith leading upward from the darkness of earth’s sad battleground to the heavenly dwelling place of the Most Great Peace. Pass though they may dire places and grievous tests avoided as calamities by the spiritually ignorant among mankind, nevertheless, we know that these paths were marked by the feet of the True One, and none who treads them to the end will miss the cup of abundant joy.
The foundation of conscious service which we are constructing now must be firm enough to uphold in future those gracious and majestic institutions which Baha'u'llah ordained for humanity as guardians and protectors of the supreme law of love. First and foremost comes the relationship one to another of the members of the same local Assembly; next, the larger relationship of the local Assemblies made possible by their National Spiritual Assembly - last of all, the keystone of the entire arch, the world-wide unity which shall come into being on that blessed day when the National Spiritual Assemblies are so developed that the Guardian of the Cause can summon an international Baha'i Conference.
Surely, the vision of what is to be is the all-sufficing inspiration to hasten our steps onward, and the fixed standard by which we can truly realize the significance of those little and often too blind efforts we are now making to serve the Cause.
The deepening wisdom that has come to us since the first National Convention was called by the Temple Unity seventeen years ago, and above all, the clear and penetrating instructions received during the last three years from Shoghi Effendi, enable us to approach the Convention this year with a new spirit of self-sacrifice, of ardor and of resolution. It is from the National Convention that will flow out those spiritual forces determining the power and guidance of our elected representatives throughout the months to come. Any inharmony, misunderstanding, or hesitation that exists among the body of the delegates will inevitably hamper the progress of the Cause long after the Convention itself has come to an end. On the other hand, a body of delegates truly penetrated by the spirit of faith will give to the new National Assembly a reinforcing power far greater than their individual capacities alone could possibly draw upon. A united, a vigorous and an inspired National Assembly born of a true Baha'i Convention will be able to revitalize the smaller and weaker Assemblies, inspire the strongest Assemblies to new and greater attainment, and send out to all the working committees a constant thrill of joyous action, creating for Shoghi Effendi a means of promoting the Cause capable of bringing into manifestation spiritual resources yet hidden behind the veils.
Reading again that letter which Shoghi Effendi wrote to all the friends in America on March 12, 1923, we perceive that his ideal is to establish a Convention of 95 delegates, an ideal we have not yet been able to fulfill. In that same letter Shoghi Effendi
NATIONAL BAHA'I FUND
Maintained by voluntary contributions made, as directed by Shoghi Effendi, to the National Treasurer and expended under the supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly. Assemblies and individuals are requested to send regular monthly contributions to National Baha'i Fund, in care of Mrs. Florence Morton, 5 Wheeler Avenue, Worcester, Mass.
|Jan. 22- Balance from Report No. 6||$4,372.47|
|Jan. 22- Contributions from January 22 to Feb 1||320.50|
|Jan. 22- Contributions in February||870.60|
|Jan. 22- Contributions in March||5155.64|
|Jan. 28-Exchange on Canadiane check||$0.75|
|Jan. 29-N.S.A. travelling expenses||25.00|
|Jan. 30-Mr. Bourgeois salary for January||250.00|
|Feb. 1-Expenses of Teachers for February||275.00|
|Feb. 1- International Baha\'i Fund for February||95.00|
|Feb. 1- Baha\'i News Service for "Star" publications||500.00|
|Feb. 4-Bourgeois Note||500.00|
|Feb. 4-Bourgeois Note, interest for months on $3,000.00||48.75|
|Feb. 10-Temple Committee travelling expense||160.00|
|Feb. 12-Northern Trust Co., safe deposit box rent||9.00|
|Feb. 14-Illinois Telephone Co., for Temple telephone in Jan.||10.20|
|Feb. 14-Public Service Co., lighting for Temple||12.54|
|Feb. 18-National Secretary's expenses for Jan.||26.48|
|Feb. 18-Binders for local secretary's for assemblies||50.00|
|Feb. 25- Exchange on Canadian check||0.38|
|Feb. 28-Mr. Anderson, Temple Custodian to March 3, 4 weeks||120.00|
|Feb. 23-Multigraphing "Will & Testament"-1500 copies- 25,000 sheets paper for same, costing $63.75||168.75|
|Mar. 1-Expenses of Teachers for February||275.00|
|Mar. 1-International Baha'i Fund for March||95.00|
|Mar. 5-Terminal Hardware Co., electric heater, supplies and work||74.15|
|Mar. 5-Sandage Oil Co., oil-burner installment in Temple||69.80|
|Mar. 5-Penn Oil Co., fuel oil for Temple||20.00|
|Mar. 5-Edinger & Sons, coal for Temple||54.81|
|Mar. 5-Mr. Bourgeois, salary for February||250.00|
|Mar. 5-National Secretary, expenses for February||27.67|
|Mar. 1-Terminal Hardware Co., for Temple skylights||1000.00|
|Mar. 1-F. Hiaes Co., lumber for Temple work||323.45|
|Mar. 8-January News Letter, secretary's expenses||98.70|
|Mar. 19-Flood relief telegrams and cables||27.37|
|Mar. 16-Mrs. Elizabeth Herittz, for "Star" publications||300.60|
|Mar. 28-International Baha'i Fund for April||95.00|
|Mar. 28-Mr. Bourgeois salary for March||250.00|
|Mar. 28-February News Letter, secretary expenses||59.20|
|Mar. 28-Assistant treasurer's expenses for Flood relief||13.36|
|Mar. 31-Alfred Anderson, Temple Custodian for March||120.00|
|Apr. 1- Balance||$5,313.25|
|Persian Flood Relief Contributuions:-||$4,041.36|
|May 1-Received up to May 1||$3,972.60|
|May 8-Total cabled on Haifa||68.76|
|May 19-Received, not yet sent, $25.00. (This will be sent with International Fund for June.)|
Submitted by: FLORENCE MORTON, Treasurer
|Apr. 1- Balance from March 31||$5,313.25|
|Apr. 30-Contributions in April||2506.56|
|Apr. 1-Teachers' expenses||$275.00|
|Apr. 13-N.S.A. travelling expenses||32.00|
|Apr. 13-Illinois Bell Telephone, Temple, for February||10.00|
|Apr. 13-Public Service Co., electricity for Temple, March||15.84|
|Apr. 13—Chicago Baha'i Office, “Star” for April||22.50|
|Apr. 21—Northern Trust Co., Temple Note payment||500.00|
|Apr. 21—Northern Trust Co., Temple, 3 mos. int. on $3,500.00||43.75|
|Apr. 30—Mr. Bourgeois, salary for April||250.00|
|Apr. 30—Bourgeois' Note. due May 4, payment||1500.00|
|Apr. 30—Bourgeois' Note. int. 3 mos. on $1,500.00, renewed||24.48|
|Apr. I6—Terminal Hardware Co., lights, wiring, etc.||31.18|
|Apr. 16-Terminal Hardware Co., putting skylights per contract||308.80|
|Apr. 16-J. Courley & Co., Celotex partitions||470.40|
|Apr. 16-No. Suburban Elec. Shop, repairing light||2.25|
|Apr. 21—Nat. Sec'y expenses—multigraphing, binders and sup.||141.61|
|Apr. 30-Baha'i News Letter for April and letter to assemblies||93.10|
|Apr. 30—Intcrnational Baha’i Fund for May||95.00|
|Apr. 30-Alfred Anderson, Temple Custodian for April||120.00|
|May. 1- Balance on hand||$3,883.90|
|May- Alfred Anderson, May wages||$120.00|
|Mr. Bourgeois’ salary for May||250.00|
|Teachers’ expenses for May||275.00|
|International Baha’i Fund (June)||95.00|
|Secretary expenses and News Letter (May)||150.00|
|Temple travelling expenses||100.00|
|Star contribution for publication||317.00|
|Specifically contributed for Fadil fund||770.00|
|Emergency Fund refund for money advanced for Flood relief||533.42|
|Temple Grounds appropriation to be refunded||350.00|
|Green Acre appropriation||300.00|
|Eastern States Teaching Work for Convention||250.00|
Submitted by: FLORENCE MORTON, Treasurer
also laid down the principle of proportional representation-—that is, one delegate for every nine or other fixed number of believers; a principle assigning to each Assembly a delegate or delegates in exact ratio to its numerical strength. Needless to say, proportional representation is the fairest method that be devised. We know that it would bring joy to Shoghi Effendi ii the Convention this year could bring this principle into effect. While, under present conditions, it may be impossible for 95 delegates to be assembled in this way, nevertheless let us all strive to make at least a decisive move towards Shoghi Effendi's ideal by understanding very clearly what he would like to have us accomplish and by straining every resource to give his instructions effect.
It should be the aim of each local Assembly, therefore, to send one delegate to this year’s Convention for every nine recognized believers enrolled in its list. We appreciate the financial and other difficulties that will stand in the way of this goal in the case of many Assemblies, especially those located at a distance from Green Acre. To off-set these difficulties it will this year be permitted any local Assembly to send as their delegate or delegates recognized believers not members of the Assembly, but in order that such proxy delegates shall represent the local Assembly as truly as possible, these proxies must be selected from the same regional division in which the local Assembly itself is located. For example, an Assembly in the Southern States Region can only be represented by a proxy delegate or delegates from the Southern States Region. An Assembly in the Western States Region can only be represented by a proxy delegate or delegates from the Western States Region, etc.
It is also understood that no Baha'i group of less than nine recognized believers will be entitled to send a delegate to Green Acre this year. These decisions are based upon the cablegram sent to the National Spiritual Assembly by Shoghi Effendi on April first. 1925: Less than nine no representation. Proxy question left decision National Assembly. Praying guidance.
In order to provide representation for the Baha"i groups of less than nine believers and also tor the isolated friends, the National Spiritual Assembly have requested the chairmen of the five regional Teaching Committees to attend the Convention as delegates-at-large, and meanwhile to enter into communication with the various small groups and isolated believers in their respective regions in order to report in their behalf at the Convention. This provision makes the five Regional Chairmen an important link between the isolated groups and individuals and the National Baha'i organization. We urge individual believers to keep their regional Teaching Chairman fully informed at all times.
Each Baha’i Assembly qualified to send a delegate or delegates to the Convention this year should hold a special election for this purpose as soon as possible, and inform the National Secretary officially of those who have been chosen to serve as delegates and alternates. We feel sure that there is no need to stress the importance of attendance at the Convention and Congress by every individual believer who can possibly come.
In order that all the friends throughout the country may an immediate, full and authorized report of the proceedings of the Convention, the National Assembly will appoint an official reporter to prepare a resume of the proceedings for publication in the July number of the News Letter.
With this News Letter we enclose two recent letters from Shoghi Effendi, one of which refers to the National Convention and throws fresh light upon its significance. It is a great privilege to quote also from the notes taken by Mrs. Maxwell during her visit at Haifa last year:-
"In many different conversations with us, Shoghi Effendi made it clear that the Baha'i Organization is not political and bears no resemblance a political system.
"It is a Divine Organization, the Institute of God for the establishment of His Kingdom upon earth. Shoghi Effendi said that this Institute is perfect, although its functioning and operation is necessarily imperfect in our present state of development and understanding, but as the Baha'is become matured and perfected, it will be found to be the most perfect Institute the world has ever known.
"He said that in all elections, whether of local Spiritual Assembly, of delegates to the convention or in electing the National Assembly, the believers must be entirely free from personality, basing their choice on the spiritual qualifications of those whom they elect according to the explicit instructions of Abdu'l Baha. They must have no prejudices, no preconceived ideas, they must not discuss these matters previous to election with anyone nor even breathe the name of a single person in connection with the possibility of their election; thus they will purify the Cause of every trace of human politics.
"Shoghi Effendi said that during the Convention previous to the election of the National Spiritual Assembly the delegates could all come together and consult as to National requirements of the Cause of God. At such consultation, he said, every delegate should be present and entering into a spiritual attitude without mentioning a single name, they should look deeply into the body of the Cause and its requirements, taking into account the geographic problems, considering those souls possessing spiritual, luminous and distinctive qualities necessary for such function and responsibility, eliminating every personal or financial consideration. He said that it was unthinkable that any one should be elected for this important service because they were in a financial position to attend the National Assembly meetings, as the most humble and simple soul in the Cause might be endowed with gifts and graces for this particular work. Shoghi Effendi suggested that if necessary a sum might be appropriated from the National Fund for the traveling expenses of anyone elected who might not possess sufficient means to travel.
When the delegates are gathered in convention at the time of election they must turn their faces to the Holy Land supplicating for divine guidance. Then He added, "Do the believers in America realize that the friends of God are the only people on earth to whom He has promised to guide their deliberations and confirm their decisions?"
Yours sincerely, in love of Abdu'l-Baha,
- National Spiritual Assembly,
- By: HORACE HOLLEY,
- By: HORACE HOLLEY,
"There is a place in America called Green Acre. It is customary during the months of summer for people of different creeds and religions to gather there and the leaders of various movements and thoughts deliver lectures and addresses. Thus they have combined most effectively education and recreation. The significance and usefulness of this unique place lie in the fact that they offer a free and unrestricted platform to the citizens of every nation and the adherents of every reiigion. Thus every subject is discussed with that full of conscience which is enjoyed in the United States.
"The founder of these conferences. wherein every nationality and religion is worthily represented, is Sarah Farmer. To her is due all praise and commendation for having thus initiated this wonderful plan, which must he carried out to its logical conclusion - a universal platform for all mankind, irrespective of race, religion or nationality.
As the name Green Acre is similar to the town of Acca, when I arrived there I was made happy- I spent one week in that green and delightful Acca. They had a large meeting every evening in which people gathered, and I spoke to them on spiritual subjects. I met there many cultured and educated people. It is a most beautiful country place. Its water is pure. its air salubrious, and its atmosphere is spiritual. There are many pine woods; and under a cluster of fine old trees people gather to hear lectures. Mirza. Abul Fazl, when in Green Acre, used to give some of his addresses under these pines, so they are known as the ‘Persian Pines.’ I Went there one afternoon; many people had gathered, and I spoke on the Baha'i Teaching." Abdu'l Baha
"I was delighted to hear of the progressive activities of that dearly-beloved spot, Green Acre, upon which the Master has bestowed his tender care and loving kindness, and of which we are all hopeful that it may become, whilst the work of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is in progress, the focal center of the devotional, humanitarian, social and spiritual activities of the Cause" Shoghi Efiendi.
"As to the suggestion of the Annual Convention being held next summer at Green Acre, I believe it to be both wise and helpful, and trust that it will forge another link between the Baha'i-s as a body and its founders and trustees, and will serve to draw them closer and closer to the outward form as well as to the spirit of the activities of the friends in America."
For the information of believers who have not previously gone to Green Acre, it should be stated that railroad tickets should be purchased to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from which Green Acre is readily reached by motor bus. Green Acre, in addition to the charming Inn under the management of Mrs. Bliss, provides a wide range of accommodations, details of which may be learned by writing to Miss Roushan Wilkinson, 35 Congress street, Boston, Mass. The Green Acre Fellowship has carefully planned adequate facilities for all Baha'is visiting Green Acre for the period of the Convention or for a longer stay. The Baha’i Colony established at Green Acre each summer has created a beautiful spirit of joyous fellowship which makes the vacations spent at Green Acre a true recreation. It is most ardently to be desired that one result of this year's National Convention will be a great strengthening of the spiritual bonds that exist between Green Acre and the Baha'i Cause.
LETTER FROM TRUSTEES OF GREEN ACRE FELLOWSHIP
To the Baha’i Friends of America -
Since the visit of Abdu'l Baha to Green Acre in the summer of 1912, no event of greater interest has stirred the Fellowship than the approval of Shoghi Effendi and the decision of the National Spiritual Assembly to hold the National Baha'i Convention this summer at Green Acre.
The Trustees are happily anticipating this memorable occasion, and extend most joyously to all the friends the hospitality and greetings of Green Acre.
We hope the friends will arrange to pass their vacations at Green Acre during this season and become familiar with this Center which has heen so richly blessed by Abdu'l Baha, and who called it the "Green Acca" of America, and who so marvelously outlined its future as the living embodiment of a Mashriqu'l-Adhkar with all its accessories.
It is interesting to quote the words of Edward Everett Hale, a frequent visitor to Green Acre in the declining years of the last century. "The motive of Green Acre is to find the Truth, the Reality, underlying all religious forms and to make points of contact in order to promote the unity necessary for the ushering in of the coming Day Of God. Believing that the religion of Baha'u'llah, of Persia, is the announcement of this great Day - the beginning of the Golden Age sung by poets and endorsed by all Seers —and finding that it provides a platform on which the Jew, the Christian. the Mohammedan, as well as members of all other great religious bodies can stand together in love and harmony, each holding the form which best nourishes its individual life, Miss Farmer feels that her previous work has been but the preparation for the greatest of all joys; the giving of the Message to all who are willing and ready to receive it and who ask for it."
The call of Green Acre is unique, its voice is distinct, and as Spring approaches one feels the attraction of the meadows and hills, the appeal of the historic Pines and the peace of the River of Light for Green Acre has an atmosphere all its own and this atmosphere is the spirit of the Covenant of Reality.
In a letter revealed by the Master in 1912, He again calls attention to Green Acre in the following words: "I was made happy to know that in yonder flourishing meadow, birds of melodious voice are engaged in the daytime and in the night season in singing the praise of Divine Providence. Should it be possible to arrange, in the coming year, another gathering in that verdant spot, to spread a heavenly feast of the utmost love and concord, and to proclaim joyously the oneness of mankind, there is no doubt that they who attend it shall each become a shining candle in that gathering and shall show forth such joy and happiness that shall stir the Continent uf America."
This seems almost like a prophecy of the coming Convention and we of Green Acre are stirred with renewed endeavor to share with you all the sacred gathering of the Convention. The life of Green Acre is the urge of the world's heart to further economic and social justice, to advance material and spiritual ideals and to spread the heavenly Message of this Day of God.
The Fellowship House, overlooking river and mountains, cool and beautiful, is a symbol of the Fellowship of the world, open to peoples of all races, all colors, all beliefs.
Miss Farmer gave the best years and the inspiration of her life's work to the foundation of Green Acre, and during the last days of her life she prayed that Green Acre might live and flourish and become the great educational and spiritual Center that Abdu'l-Baha predicted for it, a Center of advanced service, a flag of peace, a torch of higher education and a kingdom of unity, the dwelling place of God's approval.
We long to meet you all and deeply appreciate the blessing of the call —"The Baha'i Convention at Green Acre"
Ever faithfully in Baha'i service,
- WM. H. RANDALL,
35 Congress Street
With the explicit permission of Shoghi Effendi, we are happy to share with all the friends the important letter concerning the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar written by Mrs. Corinne True to the Secretary of the Temple Committee from Haifa, on February 13, 1925. This letter was referred to Shoghi Effendi, and his approval makes these words of extreme importance in view of the energetic efforts now being put forth to extend the work of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar.
"The matter of the design is a definite thing and cannot be changed. That must be thoroughly understood because it was confirmed by the Master. That is settled. The matter of Mr. Bourgeois’ studio is that for the present it is all right for it to be where it is, but later it must be either moved off or bought for a building connected with the work. Regarding the title to the land, it should be vested in the National Spiritual Assembly rather than a committee called the Baha'i Temple Unity. Whatever steps necessary to be taken to make this legal the N. S. A. must take.
"Mr. Bourgeois' contract is a matter to be settled by the N. S. A. with him, consulting with the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar Committee. It would be of assistance to this Temple Committee to have a sub-committee of architects as a consulting body, but the Temple Committee itself need not be made up of architects. Contributions for the building of the Temple should come from the Baha'is themselves. They should make great sacrifices in order to carry on its construction steadily and not allow it to lapse into negligence.
"The Central Fund created by Shoghi Effendi was made to enable this new body called the National Spiritual Assembly to operate. It has no fund because Abdu'l Baha had written that Temple Fund must be used for Temple only and Teaching Fund for Teaching only and therefore a new Fund had to be created so that the scope of the work might be enlarged, new activities coming up all the time. It was never meant that either of these funds should be disturbed but on the contrary it is absolutely forbidden that one cent of these two Funds (Teaching or Temple) should be used for anything else. The friends must be left absolutely free to give to whatever thing in the Cause their hearts desire. No one must interfere and bookkeeping accounts for each Fund must be kept separate. The Central Fund is greatly encouraged, and is the most important because when contributions are made to it unlabelled, then it is left to the discretion of the Natiunal Assembly where to spend it, and if any fund is overdrawn it can he helped from this Central Fund. The idea in our country was becoming quite general that the Guardian wanted all funds to be submerged into one central fund, which is not true. If non-Baha'is contribute to the Temple Fund it must be made plain and clear to them that they must never expect to have a voice in the manning of these affairs as they will always be managed by purely Baha'i committees. We must not encourage non-Bahai's to contribute. This contribution from outside sources has been dwelt upon, as there might be some complications later unless it is very clearly understood.
"On January 16th Shoghi Effendi wrote the following to the National Spiritual Assembly:
" 'With reference to the matter of meetings in the Foundation Hall of the Mashirqu'l-Adhkar, I feel that the Foundation Hall should serve the purpose of both devotional gatherings where the revealed Word of God is read and chanted, and meetings at which subjects strictly Baha'i in character are presented, propounded and discussed. I have no doubt that every conscientious and thoughtful Baha’i will scrupulously and at all times observe the Commandment of Baha’u'llah and the instructions of Abdul Baha relative to the maintenance of the sacredness, the dignity and the universality of an edifice that will in time become God's universal House of Worship.'
"A few days ago Shoghi Effendi sent a cable to America through Mr. Horace Holley, Secy, saying "Urge believers realize supreme necessity of immediate universal response to re cent temple appeal. Forwarding 95 sterling." The above table had reference to the sum appropriated in October but never raised so that the bills contracted could be paid. No bills must he contracted that cannot be paid. We must be very scrupulous about this."
WORK OF NATIONAL COMMITTEES
The April number of the Bahai’ Magazine, Star of the West, inaugurates Volume 16 with a most beautiful presentation of the teachings. Among the contributors are: Ruhi Afnan, with the paper which he read at the Conference on Some Living Religion Within the British Empire at London, September, 1924; Dr. E. Esslemont, Dr. Mary E. Wooley, President of Mount Holyoke College; Mrs. Grace Ober, Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler, and Mrs. Mary Hanford Ford.
To promote subscriptions to the Star among the believers, the National Spiritual Assembly recently appointed a new Baha'i Magazine Committee, consisting of Keith Ransom-Kehler and Mrs. P. A. Spaulding of the Chicago Assen1bly, in order to co-operate more closely with Mrs. Elizabeth Herlitz, Business Manager of the Star. This Committee issued a general letter on May seventh for which we urge the fullest possible response throughout the body of the believers. Particularly important is their suggestion that each Assembly order bound volumes of the Star for its Baha'i library.
The Prayer Book Committee mentioned in a recent number of the News Letter have expressed the hope that all of the friends wiil feel a direct responsibility in the compilation of this important book. They desire that all shall have a part in the work, and request assistance in gathering all unpublished prayers that may he possessed by individuals and mail them to the Secretary of the Committee, Mrs. Mary M. Rabb, 833 Broderick Street, San Francisco. Any thoughts or suggestions which the friends may have concerning the new Prayer Book will be heartily welcomed by the Committee. They suggest that the local Spiritual Assemblies appoint some members to take charge of presenting this subject to the friends and gathering together suggested prayers for the use of the Committee.
The Baha'i World Fellowship for April is the first number in which is published the organ of The Children of the Kingdom, edited Miss Ella M. Robarts. No Baha'i publication at this time so completely reflects the world-wide unity of the Baha'i Movement, and the unique vision of Mrs. Victoria Bedikian deserves the cordial cooperation of all who wish to assist in extending the blessed influence of the Cause.
Following the resignation of Mrs. Agnes S. Parsons as Chairman of the Teaching Committee for the Southern States Region, the National Spiritual Assembly has appointed Mrs. Louise Boyle of 2119 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D. C., to this position. Believers throughout the Southern States should communicate with her and especially supply her with all possible names and addresses of the active friends in that region and also those who have been attracted to the Cause.
A new national committee recently appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly is the Press Committee the function of which is to secure constructive publicity for the Cause and also to take adequate measures in the event that the Cause is publicly attacked. The members of this committee are: Mr. H. H. Romer, Mr. Stanwood Cobb, Mr. C. Wilhelm, Mr. Mountfort Mills, and Mr. Horace Holley, secretary. The friends are urged to keep this Committee in mind and to lay before them any facts which they feel should be sent out to the press in name of the National Assembly.
The Year Book Committee mentioned in the last issue of the News Letter requests the friends to send in all available newspaper clippings on the Cause and also references to the Baha'i Movement which they find in books and magazines. A more detailed statement of the work of this committee will be given in later News Letter.
NEWS OF THE CAUSE
Few of the believers have ever undertaken so extensive a teaching trip as that on which Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt and Mrs. Julia M. Grundy have been engaged.
In a recent letter from Pasadena, Mrs. French makes the following comment: "My own private opinion is that nobody who has a spark of the life in him could possibly resist Mr. MacNutt's eloquence. I certainly have never listened to a more beautiful and inspiring preservation of the Baha'i Cause than he gave on several occasions. We have a few scholars like him and few who awaken the great spiritual vibrations which he brings into the meetings. He was surely inspired. His service here was the greatest thing which has ever happened to us, and that is saying agood deal. I hope and pray that they will return."
It will be of interest to all the friends to follow the itinerary which Mr. MacNutt and his party have maintained for more than a year. It is known to the friends that Abdu’l Baha on many occasions wrote Tablets to Mr. MacNutt instructing him to travel far and wide, teaching the Cause. In whole-hearted response to these instructions Mr. MacNutt is now devoting his entire time to spreading the Message.
From December 1923 to Aprii 1924, Mr. MacNutt carried on a constant teaching campaign in Miami, Florida. journeying north, stops were made at St. Augustine and Jacksonville. Fla., and Augusta. Ga. The party, arriving at Wasnington, D. C., in May, spent several weeks in close contact with the Washington Assembly.
Leaving New York on july 13, 1924, two meetings were held in Buffalo, one in Toronto, Ontario. five in Detroit. Mich., one in Lansing and two in Muskegon, Michigan, one in Racine and two in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; two meetings each in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn.; one in Butte, three in Helena, and one in Great Falls, Montana; two meetings in Spokane, Washington, while meetings were held continuously for three weeks in Seattle, and for two weeks in Portland, Ore; one meeting in Alameda, Cal.: two months of great activity in San Francisco, where Mr. MacNutt spoke at the Teaching Convention held by the Assemblies of the Western States’ region. From September 1924 to March 1925, meetings were held as follows: two mettings in Los Gatos, one in Palo Alto, one in Santa Barbara, two in Santa Paula, five in Geyserville. five in Santa Rosa, two meetings in La Jolla, three in San Diego, with continuous meetings for three months in Los Angeles and Hollywood: five meetings in Visalia, two in Stockton, six in Sacramento, followed by two more weeks in San Francisco. Returning to Los Angeies, one meeting was held in Santa Barbara, two in Santa Paula and another month in Los Angeles and Hollywood. Finally two meetings have recently been held in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. MacNutt's present plan is to cross the continent to Washington, D. C., arriving there tnis May.
In connection with the teaching work of Jinabi Fadil, Mr. MacNutt's remarkably successiuily campaign in California reveals what confirrnations foilow every effort of local Assemblies to ally themselves more firmly in spiritual unity for the sake of serving the Cause. But we should not be content merely with a feeling of gratification that so much has been accomplished. The work of ‘these teachers really throws a greater responsibility upon us all to see that the precious seeds which they have broadcast are not allowed to perish for lack of constant solicitude from us all.
TEACHING CONVENTION OF CANADIAN FRIENDS
The following report has been received from Mrs. May Maxwell, Chairman of the Regional Teaching Committee of Canada:-"The growth of this Assembly during the past year has been one of the great signs of the progress of the Cause everywhere, and is the fulfilment of the promise of the Blessed Master a few years before his ascension when he wrote that the seed sown by Abdu'l Baha during his visit and sojourn in that city (Montreal) are now beginning to germinate and ere long will be gathered.
"Mrs. Elizabeth Greenleaf by her pure teaching and radiant spirit, surrounded by a loving cooperative group who have labored faithfully in this city for many years, has not only imbued this Assembly with a new life but has widened the scope of its activity and taught many new souls. Thus our Regional Teaching Convention was most opportune, combining a deep receptive eagerness in the audiences with the outpouring of spiritual grace and bounties through the brilliant penetrative addresses of our gifted Baha’i sisters. The meetings were on March 31st, April 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
"The Unitarian Church where Abdu'l Baha spoke during his visit in 1912, followed in later years by Jinabi Fadil, offered the use of their hall and the Tuesday and Wednesday evening meetings were held there. The Thursday evening meeting, where the radiance of joy and the power of penetration of the Word was unique, was held at the Y. M. C. A. The regular Friday evening meeting was at 716 Pine Avenue—while the culminating event, in which a mighty force of divine unity was felt was the Saturday afternoon tea in the Baha'i Hall.
"Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler, one of the speakers at these meetings, has been requested to give return lectures next winter at five or six of the large clubs and societies of Montreal, and Mrs. Grace Krug of New York City breathed the quickening spirit of the Holy Land into the hearts of several people who declared themselves Baha'is that hour.
"Neither Tornto nor St. john could send delegates as they must concentrate all their resources upon sending representatives to the National Convention at Green Acre, but we arranged to have Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler spend Sunday in Toronto on her return to Chicago. The Toronto friends arranged a public meeting with Dr. Watson as Chairman, and Mrs. Ransom-Kehler addressed a large group whom Dr. Watson has been teaching the spirit of the higher life as contained in the message of Christ, laying the foundation in a conservative environment for the Message of this age."
GROWTH OF WORCESTER ASSEMBLY
From Mrs. Florence Morton. secretary of the Worcester. Mass. Assembly, has come this inspiring report of progress during the past twelve months:-"In the ball-room of the Bancroft Hotel. Dr. John Herman Randall of the Community Church of New York City, has heen giving a course of lectures on the Baha'i principles, one each month, under the auspices of the Worcester Baha'i Assembly, and these rneetings have been very well attended.
"One result has been that our local Assembly has increased its membership as well as its activities. We have strangers now present at all our meetings, where most interesting inquiries and investigations of the teachings are being carried on.
"Another significant outcome of Dr. Randall's lectures is that Dr. Tomlinson of the First Universal Church has offered Dr. Randall his pulpit this autumn to speak on the Baha'i principles. The Metaphysical and Psychology Clubs, where Dr. Randall has been lecturing on allied subjects for two years, were largely represented in these Sunday afternoon public meetings.
"The Worcester Assembly wrote a letter to Shoghi Effendi informing him of Dr. Randall's Baha'i work during the past three years in Worcester, to which Sohiel Afnan replied: "Your long and encouraging letter made Shoghi Effendi and all those who had pleasure of reading in exceedingly happy and hopeful.' Shoghi also wrote, 'I'm late in acknowledging your letter with its refreshing news, as I immediately gave it to be translated, in order that its contents may be shared by the friends throughout the East."
NORTH-EASTERN STATES HOLD FIRST CONVENTION
The Regional Teaching Committee of the North-eastern States. Mr. E. B. Kinney, Nellie Lloyd and Mr. Hooper Harris, Chairman, arranged a Teaching Convention at Boston on the 9th and 10th 01 May in order to impress the friends throughout this region with their responsibilities and opportunities under the Divine Plan.
About forty believers representing seven Baha'i Assemblies and cities where Assemblies have not yet been formed participated in this Convention. The beautiful meeting place of the Boston Assembly was placed at the disposal of this Convention, and the Boston friends entertained the Baha'i guests at a Feast on both evenings.
At the conclusion of the second session. a committee consisting of Mr. Hooper Harris, Chairman; Mr. Frank Moxey, Dr. Eliza T. Ransom, Mr. E. D. Struven, Mrs. Howard Struven and Mr. Oglesby, was elected to draft resolutions embodying the ideas brought out during the Convention as to the best methods of teaching the Cause in the Northeastern states region. As the result of this Convention a teaching body was organized to include all the Assemblies of the Northeastern states. A public meeting followed on the evening of Sunday, May 10th, at which Mr. Hooper Harris and Dr. Susan I. Moody presented the Message to a large and enthusiastic audience.
WORK OF MR. ALBERT VAIL THROUGHOUT CENTRAL STATES
Mr. Albert Vail during the last six mnnths has visited and Spoken in Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and made a journey into Virginia. The major part of his time he has spent in a systematic campaign of spiritual teaching in three circuits of cities in the Central States. One of tihese circuits runs into Wisconsin where he has spoken often in Milwaukee, and in the University town of Madison. In Illinois he has visited practically every month such important centers as Peoria, Springfield and Urbana, besides speaking many times before different clubs and groups in Chicago Evansten, Winnetka, and at the Temple Foundation Hall in Wilmette. In Ohio he has spent many weeks in Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, going as far east as Pittsburgh. And in all of these cities many beautiful souls and fine minds are attracted to the wonderful glad tidings in the world. He has spoken on the Divine Teachings in colleges and academies, to the grammar grade and business and night school, in university class rooms, before university clubs and student forums, in churches of many denominations, colored and white, to liberal Jews, to many New Thought and Applied Psychology clubs, to Theosophical Societies and of psychical research, to men's and women's professional and business clubs, and before the huge Sunday morning of a great State penitentiary. And then there have been the many meetings arranged by the Baha'is in halls, in homes. One of the brightest promises of hope is the appearance of the new Baha'is and the enthusiasm and energy with which they are undertaking the spread of the heavenly teachings. Everywhere the response is growing quicker and wonderful, and people are continually saying: This is what we have always believed; but here is an astounding universality, a new level of universal love and a new spiritual power.
JINABI FADIL IN CALIFORNIA
Programs of the public meetings arranged for Jinabi Fadil by the friends in California are inspiring records of what may be accompiished when a spiritually qualified teacher is assisted by true unity among the friends.
On March 20th, 21st and 22nd, a Conference for World was held at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco. the committee on arrangement including Mrs. Kathryn Frankland and Mr. Leroy Ioas of the San Francisco Assembly, Dr. David Starr Jordan, Chancellor of Leland Stanford, Jr., University was honorary chairman. The program states that this conference has been organized for the purpose of promoting a better interracial, inter-reiigious and international understanding and cooperation. The address delivered by Jinabi Fadil at the final meeting of this conference was on the subject of "The Cenquest of Prejudice." The contribution made by the San Francisco friends to the success of this conference for world unity is a most significant proof of the position which that Assembly has assumed in the progressive spiritual life oi the far West.
From the Los Angeles Assembly recently came a program of lectures delivered by Jinabi Fadil in Southern California from April 3rd to May 15th. Forty-one difierent public lectures are listed in this program, which includes Hollywood, Pasadena and Glendale as well as Los Angeles. The various churches and clubs at which these public lectures were delivered represent a true cross section of modern mental and spiritual life, and this program can well be considered as a model of successful Baha'i service.
DR. MOODY SPEAKS ON CONDITIONS IN PERSIA
That the remarkable work of Dr. Susan I. Moody in Teheran has made her a public figure in this country is well illustrated by extensive articles which appeared in the newspaper of Shenectady, N. Y., on May 5th and 6th, following her talk before the Women's Alliance at All-Souls Church in that city. In the course of her lecture on conditions in modern Persia. Dr. Moody introduced many interesting references to the Baha'i Movement.
The afternoon meeting of Eastern Sunday at St. Mark's Church, New York City, was devoted to symposium on the Baha'i Movement, marking one more opportunity given by Dr. Guthrie to the spread of the Message in this church.
An interesting expression of the spirit of the age is the movement known as "The Fellowship of Faiths" recently founded at Elizabeth, New Jersey, and now rapidly spreading to other cities. A representative of the Baha'i Movement was invited to speak at the meeting of this Fellowship in Elizabeth last November, and one of the speakers at the public meeting held under its auspices at Temple Rodeph Sholom, New York City, on May 19th, was also a Baha'i, the other speakers representing seven different religions.
The May issue of the Baha'i Magazine, Star of the West, reminds us once more of the mighty significance of the Declaration of the Bab on May 23, 1844. What human being in Persia at that time could have realized the irresistible power with which this Message would burst the bonds imposed upon it by fanatical hatred and penetrate in less than a centry to California on the West and Japan in the Far East? The photograph of the Baha'i Orphanage at Tokyo contained in this issue is an unforgettable proof of the world-wide unity of which it is our privilege to be each one a part.
The contents of the May issue include a compilation from the “Words of Abdu'l Baha on the Declaration of the Bab, and articles by Dr. E. Esslemont, Hooper Harris, Horace Holley, Sohiel Afnan, Stanwood Cobb and Josephine Cowles de Lagnel.
Early in April the National Spiritual Assembly received from Karachi, India, a cablegram announcing the untimely death of our brother Professor Shirazi. The great capacity of his ardent soul was revealed to the friends in this country during the visit, all too brief, which Dr. Shirazi paid us two years ago. Of Dr. Shirazi Abdu'l Baha wrote these words on November 24, 1921 :—"Divine favors encompass thee, and the assistance of the Most Great Luminary continually reaches thee . . . . The reality is this, that the spiritual friends highly praise your conduct, ways and speeches, and I am hopeful that you may be absolutely assisted and rendered a personified spirit."
On April 29th, Dr. Xorol Couch, one of the most active members of the Baha'i Assembly of Philadelphia, bade farewell to this world after an illness of two months. Dr. Couch was not only always active in giving the Message wenever the opportunity was afforded her, but she continually served those about her, especially in caring for the sick. On account of her great love for the Cause, Dr. Couch made provision in her Will that a sum of money be sent to Shoghi Effendi and also to the National Spiritual Assembly. Another beautiful proof of her intense interest in the Cause was the provision that after her death all her Baha'i literature be sent to Miss Leonora Holsapple in Babia, South America. The minister in charge of the funeral service called upon one of the friends to read a Baha'i prayer.