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Chicago, August 1, 1913
Report of Fifth Annual Convention of the Bahai Temple Unity . . . . 130
Constitution of the Bahai Temple Unity . . . . 140
STAR OF THE WEST
"We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; that all nations shall become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men shall be strengthened; that diversity of religion shall cease and differences of race be annulled. So it shall be; these fruitless strifes these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come."—BAHA'O'LLAH.
Chicago (August 1, 1913) Asma
REPORT OF FIFTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE BAHAI TEMPLE UNITY
Held in French Ionic Room, Masonic Temple, Twenty-third Street and Sixth Avenue,
New York City, April 28-29th, 1913.
[From notes taken stenographically by Mr. Hooper Harris]
MONDAY MORNING. APRIL 28th.
THE President of the Bahai Temple Unity, Mr. Albert H. Hall, of Minneapolis called the session to order. All sang the hymn "Great Day of God."
THE PRESIDENT: We have heard in our ears the glorious harmony of song, let us now in the silence hear the response of the Infinite in our hearts.
[After a brief silence, the President read the prayer commencing: "O our God! Thy Face is the goal of the lovers, Thy meeting is the hope of the sincere," etc.]
THE PRESIDENT: You are called to meet here pursuant to a resolution of the Executive Board of this Unity, with the sanction and approval of Abdul-Baha. This annual convention of the Bahai Temple Unity is meeting for the first time, outside of the City of Chicago.
This organization was begun for the purpose of establishing a foundation of spiritual unity in the western hemisphere. We have secured title to a beautiful site at Chicago, upon which, we pray, soon shall stand, to greet the coming suns, the first Edifice erected in America by the gifts of all peoples and religions of the earth, and dedicated to the One God, loved and adored in His Oneness and Singleness by all the children of men. We have come to you for new inspiration and new light, and to bring to you somewhat of that unity, and harmony, that has prevailed in all this work thus far. We are here for spiritual consultation; for guidance; to arouse the energies, to awaken the sleeping and move the hearts and hands to livelier interest, to greater work, to more effort and sacrifice.
Would not his excellency, Eshte'al-Ebn-Kalanter, of Persia, consent to represent that sacred land as a delegate in this Unity from that country?
ESHTE'AL-EBN-KALANTER: Dr. Bagdadi is here.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Bagdadi is an accredited member of this body.
DR. ZIA M. BAGDADI: If the suggestion of the President is a motion, I second that motion.
THE PRESIDENT: You have heard the motion and the second, that we recognize his excellency, Eshte'al-Ebn-Kalanter, as the representative from Persia in this Unity, and hearing only assent and no dissent, I announce the motion unanimously carried.
The Secretary, Mr. Bernard M. Jacobsen, has and will read the list of delegates that we may know who are here, after which we will proceed to the organization of this convention.
ROLL CALL OF DELEGATES PRESENT.
- Mrs. Nels Peterson, Del . . . . Muskegon, Fruitport, Grand Rapids. Grand Haven, Mich.
- Mr. Arthur P. Dodge, Del . . . . New York City, N. Y.
- Mrs. Alice Ives Breed, Alt . . . . New York City, N. Y.
- Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, Alt . . . . New York City, N. Y.
- Mr. Hilbert E. Dahl, Del . . . . Puttsburgh, Pa.
- Miss Martha L. Root, Alt . . . . Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Mr. George Nathaniel Clark, Del . . . . Denver, Colo.
- Mrs. Corine True, Del . . . . Chicago, Ill.
- Miss Marry Lesch, Del . . . . Chicago, Ill.
- Mr. Alfred Lunt, Del . . . . Boston, Mass.
- Mrs. Helen Campbell, Alt . . . . Boston, Mass.
- Mrs. Anna L. Parmerton, Del . . . . Cincinnati, O.
- Mrs. M. C. Hotchkiss, Del . . . . Washington, D.C.
- Mrs. J. C. deLagnel, Del . . . . Washington, D. C.
- Miss Margaret Green, Alt . . . . Wishington, D.C.
- Mrs. Richard H. Barnitz, Alt . . . . Washington, D. C.
- Mr. Albert H. Hall, Del . . . . Minneapolis, Minn.
- Mrs. Charles L. Lincoln, Del . . . . Brooklyn, N. Y.
- Miss Irene C. Holmes, Alt . . . . Brooklyn, N. Y.
- Mrs. M. L. Carre, Del . . . . Newark, N. J.
- Mrs. Harriet M. Saunders, Alt . . . . Newark, N. J.
- Mrs. Maud Thompson, Del . . . . Baltimore, Md.
- Mr. Edward D. Struven, Alt . . . . Baltimore, Md.
- Mr. William H. Hoar, Del . . . . Jersey City, N. Hudson.
- Mr. F. G. Hale, Alt . . . . Jersey City, N. Hudson.
- Miss Lillian Fenn, Del . . . . Montclair, N. J.
- Miss E. Stevens, Alt . . . . Montclair, N. J.
- Mrs. Pauline Crandall, Del . . . . Ithaca, N. Y.
- Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, Alt . . . . Ithaca, N. Y.
- Mrs. Marian Potter, Del . . . . Cleveland, O.
- Miss Letty Bennett, Alt . . . . Cleveland, O.
- Mr. Bernard M. Jacobsen, Del . . . . Kenosha, Wis.
- Miss Ella C. Quant, Del . . . . Johnstown. N. Y.
- Mrs. L. E. Jones, Del . . . . Anaconda. Mont.
- Mr. George Thompson, Del . . . . Montreal, Canada.
- Mrs. May Maxwell, Alt . . . . Montreal, Canada.
- Miss Vanda Haake, Del . . . . Paris, France.
- Eshte 'al-Ebn-Kalanter, M. A. K. K., Del . . . . Persia.
- Mrs. Charles A. Butler, Del . . . . Huntington, Ind.
- Miss Edna McKinney, Del . . . . Philadelphia. Pa.
- Mr. Harlan F. Ober, Del . . . . New Bedford, Mass.
- Mrs. Grace Ober, Alt . . . . New Bedford, Mass.
- Mr. Willard H. Ashton, Del . . . . Rockforcl, Ill.
- Kathryn Frankland, Del . . . . Tropico, Calif.
- Mr. George Latimer, Del . . . . Portland, Oregon.
- Mrs. Joseph D. Marques, Del . . . . Honolulu, T. H.
Mr. G. Maxwell, Montreal, Canada; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Hannen, Mr. and Mrs. Louis G. Gregory, Washington, D. C.; Mrs. Fannie G. Lesch, Mrs. M. Thummel, Chicago; Miss Barbara Fitting, Dr. and Mrs. U. B. Guy, Boston, and others.
[The President announced that a sufficient number of delegates were present to proceed with the business of the convention. Mr. Albert H. Hall was unanimously elected permanent Chairman of the convention by a rising vote.]
THE CHAIRMAN: I will obey orders. I shall not try to find my guidance in my own will; but in the wills of others, we all seek the common guidance. If you in spiritual consultation will guide, I shall follow with you.
[Mr. Bernard M. Jacobsen was unanimously elected Secretary and Mr. Hooper Harris as Assistant Secretary of the convention.]
[The Secretary presented his annual report.]
Bahai Friends—Greeting—The Secretary's report will be in reality the Executive Committee's report. It is a very difficult matter to make report here in New York similar to what we might make in Chicago, as there are so many of the friends here who are not as familiar with the work as the friends in Chicago. We will say, however, that the work of the past year has been devoted mainly to the raising of funds for the purpose of clearing the debt of the Main Tract of land on which the Mashrak-el-Azkar shall stand and the trustees have devoted the greater portion of the past year to sending out letters and devising means to raise funds in order that the debt might be canceled while Abdul-Baha was in America, and it affords us great pleasure to report to you that the debt on the Main Tract has been paid. Arrangements have been made for the removal of taxes upon this land as soon as we are in a position to begin the erection of the building, which matter will be taken up later by your committee. The past year has been a difficult one for the Executive Committee to meet our various obligations and a great responsibility rested upon them, for when we received instructions from Abdul-Baha to clear the debt on the Main Tract, we found we had to raise about $18,000 within a year's time. On June 24th, 1912, the entire final payment of $10,000 and interest was due. We secured a short extension from Mr. John Bayes, who held the mortgage and in the meantime letters were sent to the friends in various parts of the country, who responded most nobly with their contributions, thereby cancelling the debt. It has been the peculiar experience of the trustees that there was always a shortage of several hundred dollars a few days before payments fell due. These were anxious hours for the trustees, but happily they had always been prepared to tide over these payments by the aid of financial institutions in Chicago. We also had a debt of $3,000 due September 1st, 1912, upon the Lake Shore Tract. The holder of this mortgage is Mr. Peter C. Conrad, of Winnetka, who has always been friendly to the Cause, appreciating the work in which we were engaged and the purpose for which those structures are to be built—and in order to comply with the wish of Abdul-Baha, to clear the Main Tract, the trustees visited and secured from Mr. Conrad an extension of six months upon this payment, which enabled us to use all the money on hand in paying for the Main Tract. Mr. Conrad also said that if we wanted to buy more land he would gladly let us use the money again for this purpose. However, on March 1st, 1913, when this payment became due we sent Mr. Conrad a check for $3,000 and interest. Therefore, a debt of $9,000 remains upon the Lake Shore Tract, falling due as follow: September 1st. 1913, $3,000 and interest, after which there will be two annual payments, one on September 1st, 1914, and the final payment September 1st, I915.
A great many matters of detail have been attended by the Executive Committee during the past year.
Many changes have been made upon these grounds since we first secured them and a beautiful bridge constructed entirely of cement has been built across the canal. We have also gained the confidence of the Drainage Board trustees, the abutting land owners, real estate men, and the Village Board of Wilmette, and the confidence in general of all the official bodies that it has been necessary to meet with in order to carry on our work, and each one has granted us services and assistance without placing any hardships upon the Unity.
We have a great deal of work on hand, but have been unable to accomplish more owing to the injunction of Abdul-Baha that we proceed to pay for the land that we now have, but hope during the coming year some definite action may be taken to begin the work upon the buildings. Many of the best architects in America and Canada have been called on to submit plans. None of these designs are accepted as final, but in due time the committee will take definite action and co-operate with several architects in order that the best possible may be used.
Now, in closing, it affords us great pleasure to ask all the delegates to urge the friends of their respective cities to take hold with greater activity in order that we may cancel the remaining debt upon the Lake Shore Tract so that future funds may be devoted to plans, engineering and excavations for the foundations of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, as we have the privilege of making this payment in full any time that we have the money.
- BERNARD M. JACOBSEN
MR. MOUNTFORT MILLS: Now that the Secretary's report has been made, the meeting of the Mashrak-el-Azkar convention is placed squarely before us, and I would like to suggest that we send a cablegram to Abdul-Baha communicating to him the greetings of this Assembly and supplicate his spiritual guidance.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Mills always thinks of the right thing at the right time.
[Motion duly seconded and unanimously carried and cablegram ordered sent.]
MR. DODGE: If it is in order, may we move that the Secretary's report be placed on file for record? [It was so ordered.]
ESHTE'AL-EBN-KALANTER: I wish to make a suggestion. While we greatly commend, all of us, the successful efforts of the friends throughout the country and other parts of the world in raising funds, we should not feel that we have done enough. You understand that Abdul-Baha is now sixty-nine years old and will not be very much longer with us, according to the reckonings of our nature and our experience in this world. Why not, friends, so organize our efforts to such fruitfulness as to precipitate the time when the building itself will be achieved, and then attract Abdul-Baha here to dedicate it? For instance, all of us Bahais are interested in our daily work, but we could stop for an hour and do some kind of work that would not conflict with our daily duties, sewing, washing, cleaning, writing articles for the papers, writing books, doing, in a word, all that could be convertible into cash, and in that way raise the much needed money for the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar.
MR. LUNT: May I supplement what has been said by our dear brother? We know that Abdul-Baha has told us that these days are swiftly passing and once gone can never be recalled. It seems to me that for a matter of nine thousand dollars we should not hesitate to apply our utmost efforts, that we may save time; save these precious days and anticipate the payments the Secretary has told you about, which if paid on the date they are due will carry us along to the year 1915.
The isolated unit is sadly ineffectual. One city giving a lot of money and other cities and towns giving very little, does not help this fund very much; a few individuals who are capable of giving $50 or $100 or more, and then a number of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, who have not been stimulated to giving, who might give, does not yield the aggregate; but if we decide here in this convention to enact a uniform system and plan and to send forth from this convention a delegate and representative from the general committee for the raising of funds, who will go to his home town or city, and who will there put into effect the plan decided upon here, it will be attractive as coming from this convention and will bear fruit. I would also suggest this: let each one be called upon to give one dollar, and let each one agree to find one other, whether Bahai or person interested in universal peace, who will also give one dollar, and I would like to see a committee appointed to report tomorrow, so that we might have real spiritual consultation on it and see what we may evolve.
THE CHAIRMAN: This is good. This is the whole business we are here for. You have struck the key note; we must build that Temple, and we must build it now. And it must be built by us. We might inspire some capitalist or somebody else, with the glorious possibilities of this thing, but that is not it; this work has been the work of love, of voluntary and glad sacrifice; it has been the best investment that human souls have laid upon the altar or put to any use in the last five years. If any of you put any money in this, you haven't any money that you have ever earned or paid out in your life which is so well invested as this is, and there is no place where you can put your earnings and savings hereafter to better use. It will be set on a hill that will be seen of all men, and best of all, that will be blessed of God, and no giver to this Cause but will be repaid out of treasuries that are boundless. I am very glad that you have struck the key note. This is what we came to New York for. We did not come to New York to get money, but we came to see you and to give you a chance to invest in God's work.
Now, this is going to be the standing topic, we will be in committee of the whole all the while, and if the Spirit moves you to a good thing, don't think that you are going to interrupt any regular proceedings here, because God moves in hearts. Speak it out. The two suggestions thrown out have been good. We will take action on the subject as a body, but for the present I think it advisable to get all the views before us.
The next business is the report of the Treasurer.
[Mrs. True presented to the convention the report of the Treasurer.]
Financial Secretary's and Treasurer's Report.
- Balance on hand at the time of convention of 1912 . . . . $ 948.93
- Treasurer's books show total subscriptions from April 30, 1912, to April 19, 1913, including interest from bank . . . . 14,135.98
- Total receipts . . . . $15,084.91
- For land—Main Tract:
- June 24, 1912 . . . . $ 5,000.00
- Sept. 21, 1912 . . . . 2,500.00
- Oct. 1, 1912 . . . . 2,500.00
- Lake Shore Tract:
- March 3rd, 1912 . . . . 3,000.00
- Taxes and assessments . . . . 3.31
- Interest . . . . 861.62
- Expenses . . . . 298.28
- Exchange paid to bank . . . . 13.19
- Cash on hand, April 19, 1913 . . . . 908.51
The Main Tract is entirely clear and of the purchase price of Lake Shore Tract ($17,000) $8,000 has been paid. Outstanding debt, $9,000.
LIST OF COUNTRIES, STATES AND CITIES FROM WHICH CONTRIBUTIONS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED
DURING THE YEAR :
Acca, Syria (gift from Abdul-Baha); Teheran and Ardebili, Persia; East Rand, Transvaal, South Africa; Honolulu, Hawaii; Yania, Japan; New Zealand; Sussex, Cornwall and London, England; Paris, France; Baku, Russia; Montreal, Canada.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Maine: Kittery, Eliot. Vermont: Newport. New Hampshire: Dublin. Connecticut: New Haven. Massachusetts: Boston, New Bedford, Roxbury, Brookline. Rhode Island: Providence. New York: New York City, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Ithaca, Johnstown, Utica, Oswego, Cortland, Hudson, New Jersey: Montclair, Jersey City, Weehawken, Yonkers, Atlantic City, Newark, Monmouth, Maplewood. Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh. Maryland: Baltimore, Garrett, Silver Springs. D. of C.: Washington. Ohio: Cleveland, Cincinnat, Akron. Illinois: Chicago, Clyde, Geneva, Dixon. Michigan: Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Fruitport, Bangor. Minnesota: St. Paul, Minneapolis, New York Mills. Wisconsin: Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Genoa Junction, Thorp, Slades' Corner, Menasha. Iowa: Sac City: Missouri, Kirksville, St. Louis. Colorado: Denver. Kansas : Enterprise. Washington: Everett. Spokane, Turk, Walla Walla, Omak, Clarkston, Seattle. Florida: Quay, Fernandina. California: San Franisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Bakersfleldn Tropico. Pasadena, Los Angeles, Long Beach. Oregon: Portland. Alabama: Fairhope. Montana: Anaconda. Missoula.
THE CHAIRMAN: I take it that it is the sense of the meeting that the two reports of the Financial-Secretary and the Treasurer, just made by Mrs. True, be referred to an auditing committee.
[The Chairman appointed Mr. Lunt, Mrs. Ober and Mr. Hoar.]
MR. MILLS: While on the subject of finances, I think it would help the friends in considering plans, if we could hear definitely what Abdul-Baha's plan is, or what he has said about the matter. Was not something said about the land being worth $70,000 and a mortgage being put on it? Has Abdul-Baha expressed himself about that?
MRS. TRUE: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: If there is any doubt about it in your minds, we will hear from Mr. Wilhelm on that.
MR. WILHELM: There was some question about that. Mrs. True seemed to be somewhat disturbed over it. I think Abdul-Baha felt that unless we were more active— Now it is all very nice to talk about what we have done and look at that $50,000, but when we stop to think of it, it means that we have not given a dollar apiece — since we have heard this message—a year. Now what we have accomplished is not bad under the circumstances, but if I properly understood Abdul-Baha, my impression as we talked about that—he encourages us as a rule in whatever we do, fair, bad or middling, he tries to encourage rather than discourage—but I thought I could see a trace of disappointment on his face on more than one occasion, that we had not done a great deal more. Mrs. True and one or two of the others may bear me out in this, and Mrs. Kinney. Well, undoubtedly some of you have sensed the same thing. I don't know that he said so in so many words, though he did say to me one day in private what made me feel quite sheepish; he didn't say it directly to me but I caught the drift of the meaning. Something was said about paying for the main tract at once or we would lose it. Mrs. True said, "Well, she thought they might sell the lake shore tract in order to raise the money to pay for the main tract." He said, "If it is necessary, yes, pay for the main tract before it gets away from you." It will just show some of you who have not been on the tract, if you will imagine these two banners [pointing to two banners on the wall] as the main tract, the two upper banners would be the little strip bordering on the lake. Well, several thousand dollars had already been paid on that tract and it seemed bad to let it go, especially as land values were increasing, so it was decided, after getting together, that it should be retained, because the main tract was then paid for or would be within a few weeks. Then he said, "You must not build under a mortgage." It would seem to me from the way he spoke that it was contrary to Bahai principles to have any debt, and that we must first create our fund and then spend as might be best. As I understood it, he may not have used the word "mortgage," but I understood it clearly that we must establish a correctness in all our business affairs, which shows that the Bahai teaching is that we must "make good," and that first our fund must be gathered.
We spoke about doing certain work in order to create more money; but let each of us give one dollar a month, or whatever it may be— and by the way, while this is the time of the discussion of the minimum wage, that does not mean that the minimum wage is to be the established scale. [Laughter.]
It is very nice for those of us who have an opportunity to earn money to do some humble task within reach in order to create another penny or two, but we have no record of the widow having gone out into other channels in order to earn additional money—she gave what she had. If it may be possible for us to increase our earning, yes, that is fine and beautiful, but sometimes I have wondered whether we were doing right in the giving of this to the Mashrak-el-Azkar. For instance, I had a lot of photographs made, and they cost me thirty cents, or thirty-five, and I said I will put the price at fifty cents, which will pay postage and leave something for the Mashrak-el-Azkar, and I talked with my mother and she said, "No, do what you can." If you can reach out and create an additional fund, very well and good, but the widow gave what she had. Do not misunderstand me, it is all for the Cause, but it seems to me that we are more expert in our own work than in stepping out of our circle into something else. If we had no work in which we were expert, then we might do that, but let us first give what we have and give our attention to that which is most productive. The good woman in the household does not own very much money, and no means of income, and she may say, "I must do some sort of work"—I don't mean to discourage that; it is not so much the question of the creation of additional income, which does not hurt a bit, of course, as it is of giving what we have in our jeans now. I think that if some such plan as has been spoken of were adopted, and that does not mean that no one must give beyond that—but if each delegate would make the suggestion for his assembly that the least he will give is a dollar, something would be accomplished.
MRS. CLAUDIA COLES: Abdul-Baha has said that the work of the Temple is not a matter of individual effort but of united effort. There is first the spring, then the rill, then hundreds of rills, then a great river and then the mighty ocean. May that be the way in which we work for the Mashrak-el-Azkar.
[The convention adjourned until 2 o'clock.]
[The Session was opened by silent prayer and the healing tablet for Mrs. Hull of Muskegon and Mrs. Roberts of Denver.]
THE CHAIRMAN: We are here trying the methods of spiritual consultation. I will read Abdul-Baha's address* on spiritual consultation. [Reading of address referred to.]
Now we have the perspective all right. Do you know how to apply it? God's Word has been spoken in our day and we have heard it, and we have not only heard the word of His truth and love, but of His command. To what does it move us? To what effort does it arouse us? What shall we do about it?
MRS. ODER: Mr. Chairman, may I say a word? Our Chairman has just said that the Word of God has been spoken in our day, and while he was talking there came to me the remembrance of a memorable day in Montclair when the Word of God was spoken** with creative power. Now for the first time we have had the chance to know of this spiritual consultation since Abdul-Baha's departure from America, which was three days after he read the declaration of the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT. At the time I refer to, he was walking up and down the veranda. A few of us were there, and I said to the interpreter, will you tell Abdul-Baha that some of us feel that since the declaration of the Covenant, a new spiritual capacity has been born in mankind; and he turned suddenly and said that it was so. He walked to the end of the veranda and looked off, silent for a while, and then he said, with great emphasis, that it was not until two hundred years after His Holiness Christ breathed the breath of the Holy Spirit upon the earth that it took effect. Then he turned around quickly and said, "But you shall see; you shall see"—and since the Chairman was talking, it seemed to me that the time has come right here in this little gathering when we shall see that a new spiritual capacity has been born and the result of it will be seen in this spiritual consultation.
- See page 11, No. 4. Vol. III, STAR OF THE WEST.
- See page 9, No. 14, Vol. II, STAR OF THE WEST.
[The Chairman called upon Mr. Gregory, of Washington.]
MR. GREGORY: The great problem seems to be to reach those persons who are interested in the Cause but who have not yet been quickened to the standard of making a contribution to this wonderful work.
No one can grow without spiritual sacrifice; it is the law of our growth; and so the building of this Temple is a great opportunity which God is offering to His children today, to those whom He has chosen and elected to be His agents for the spreading of His Word, for the manifestation of His nature in this day. In order that we may operate under this great law of sacrifice, He has given us the work of building this great Temple of God, and it is for us to measure up, as best we can, to the demands of the occasion and, by our own sacrifice, to inspire others.
And so the Temple is an opportunity to show our love, service and sacrifice. The real greatness of the work we can only dimly realize upon this occasion, but as this Temple grows and assumes some substantial form, we realize that in its deep spiritual meaning it represents the body of the Manifestation and that it is a great spiritual storehouse and will affect not only the spiritual civilization of the world, but will bring to light many wonderful things in the sciences and arts and in the diffusion of knowledge, and certainly the responsibility is upon us to strive to our utmost to bring this to fruition. Now we have come here with the idea of building the Temple, and Abdul-Baha has said not to talk, but to act.
MR. REMEY: Knowledge of the Covenant is the only thing that will produce an effect in the hearts of the people. The knowledge that the LORD has come and fulfilled His Covenant and has left the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT upon the throne—it is this which will really produce a change in the hearts of the people. The moment the Covenant is mentioned in this convention, that moment we center our thoughts and hearts upon Abdul-Baha—then we strike the live wire.
MISS QUANT: In thinking so much of the Covenant and what it means let me suggest: We are but a part of this wonderful Temple, the symbol of which we are looking forward to erecting. We will realize that each one must be in touch with the others, and the more we realizes this and that Abdul-Baha is the great Centre and the life comes to each particle of the great body through him, our love and firmness will grow, and the power to build the outward, as the inward is being built, will never be hindered.
THE CHAIRMAN: Let us, as far as we can, focus upon this, the real meaning of this Temple and the significance of it in our work: We know that all human progress is going to be along lines that will radiate from this spiritual Temple, all methods of social service will center there, we know that—but yet, just how, we do not know. Bless your heart, if the Temple were standing there tomorrow, every last stroke of the artisan's handiwork done, and the dome shining and everything finished, what would we be doing in it and with it? We will find out about the use and purpose of it in the building of it. That is the method of it. We will never have our eyes opened until we get our hearts opened wide enough to open our pocket books and get it down into our lives. We can talk about it, think about it, rhapsodize about it, but if we don't build it, it is no use. That foundation has to be laid. In fear and trembling? Yes, and sweat and sacrifice and hard work and friction and dust—all this is coming in the building. We want some thought today on the problem of the Mashrak-el-Azkar as a base, as a foundation, as a beginning of unity. of a practical unity, a foundation laid down on the rocks so that the storms may come and the earthquakes shake and everything else be moved. But it will not be permanent and it will not be laid until all this precipitate that is in the way settles and we get a solution that goes down to the primal rock and have a test of faith. I remember that some years ago nobody dared raise the question of a test of doctrine; there was going to be no test of faith, but a test of service and love. But we have it; we have it in the term "firmness" running through all our discussion like an iron rod; we are getting ready for the cement to set on something hard, and this Mashrak-el-Azkar is the place where the cement is to be dumped and set—and when it is dumped it will be fixed and set to stay. This "firmness" is in the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT OF GOD!
E. E. K.: If there is any day in the prophetic history of the world in which words are to be demonstrated through deeds and thoughts through action, it is this day, because in the person of Abdul-Baha we see the highest fulfillment of all the aspirations established in the Bahai Revelation, and just as he lives the principles of the Cause, so must we follow and live them. In these days when it is so extraordinarily necessary to emphasize the necessity of faith in the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT and the recognition of the station of that Centre, to my mind there is only one point that is even more important for us Bahais than recognition of and firmness in the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT, and that one point is obedience to the ordinances and commands of that Centre. For firmness without willingness to sacrifice everything in the way of carrying out his wishes is not sufficient to our spiritual salvation in this day. His highest wish as expressed verbally and through his many Tablets is that the Temple shall be built today. Outside of the fact that the building of the Temple is the greatest means for cementing together the individual ingredients of the Bahai material in this world, the main purpose of it is, as I understand it, to fulfill a great prophecy which has been made in all the prophetic books of the past, and it is this, that, in the language of the Old Testament, in the day of THE BRANCH—who is the Covenant of God—shall the Temple of the LORD be built: that THE BRANCH shall build His Temple, and those who arise to cooperate with Him to carry out His wish and build His Temple are those who are firm in the Covenant. To be firm in the Covenant means to show your energy in collecting means and materials for the building of the Temple.
MRS. COLES: We know another thing, that first it is to be built in the hearts of the people who are firm in the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT. If our hearts are cemented together in love, and we follow the commands of Abdul-Baha, I think that money will be pouring in like a river, and the Mashrak-el-Azkar will be built.
MR. HARLAN F. OBER: I would like to return to the thought of this morning of the formation of a committee to present a plan for organized effort all over the country. The proper way to show firmness in the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT is to get to work, formulate a committee and let them present something to this body for discussion. We must arouse a certain enthusiasm among the people and show them how to raise this money.
MR. LUNT: I believe that the power which is centered at this gathering, bestowed upon us from the Throne of ABHA and through the blessing and holy prayers of the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT, only asks us to arise, and that power will do the work. We are all sure of that—that God only asks us to arise and to be willing to obey, and that these things will come to pass.
What I have in mind is that the Chairman shall appoint a large committee, a member of each community here, so as to have a representative in each place who will put into effect a uniform plan that shall be adopted here, and that, as a convention, we vote to put it into effect.
THE CHAIRMAN: I am glad you are focusing your thoughts upon methods of giving. We have never tried to raise the feeling of rivalry in giving; the one who gives a large amount may really not be giving as much as the one who gives liltle. It is a matter of conscience, and here is the test: if none of you have given down to the point where it touches the quick, you haven't given enough. And it does not make any difference how much or how little you have, nobody is going to be the judge but you, and there is only one law by which you can judge—you must give until it gets to the quick, you must give until it costs you something and makes you give up something. That means giving of what you have to the point where you know it. I have not suffered any yet, I need the preaching more than anybody else; but all of us are delinquent until we do really get to the quick, and I am going to call you to the quick line for this next year. It is not a question of raising nine thousand dollars, it is a question of raising twenty-five to fifty thousand dollars this next year!
We must build a Temple Beautiful, not because it is in Chicago, but because it is the first Mashrak-el-Azkar in the West. There is room for gardens there and for service buildings—these things will all be built in the future; but that Temple of prayer, with its nine open doors of welcome to all the people of the earth to come and worship in the silence and truth of the Spirit and hear the Word of God's Love. That Temple need not be big, but it must be beautiful. It ought to be built, perhaps, so that it can be enlarged by the generations coming after us. But, however we decide to build it, it is going to cost something like $25,000 to put in the foundation. Now that foundation is to be started within this year.
The means are in the hands of the folks who have it. God will not take it from them —it will be forthcoming on the opening of their hearts in return of thankfulness to Him. After we have first matured plans how we shall act, the way will appear to get it; but we must not wait for miracles to approach the rich, nor approach them with specious arguments. Unless their hearts are touched we do not want to get their money. We must not in our methods be like sparrows asking Providence to drop worms down into our mouths. We want to move the hearts of men to this movement, we want this Temple to be raised as the result of the gifts of men and women who give what they have and give intelligently and who give to the point where the giving becomes a blessing, not merely that it takes from them what they would better not have, but that it puts them to the point where it makes a sacrifice. Then it becomes a blessing to them.
Now you see where this brings us to? We can't put a measure, either a top one or a bottom one, for anybody's giving. No one can be the judge of another in the matter of the giving. Whether they shall give at all must not be a matter of our urging—we may present the Cause and the beautiful object; show them that it is a chance for the investment of their lives, a great opportunity for their spirits and souls—a great investment for God; but the rest must be left to God, just as we leave the teachings. If their eyes are opened, then let us thank God; if not, "Peace be with you."
This is the point that we have worked down to, that the giving should be regular and systematic, and there must be a systematic arousing of all the friends.
May we hear from Mr. Kinney?
MR. KINNEY: I would say that we outline some plan in which we imagine that there are to be a million blocks in this Temple, each to be put at one dollar a block, and each time anyone sends in a dollar they are entitled to one block in that Temple.
THE CHAIRMAN: Can we not hear from Mr. Hoar?
MR. WILLIAM H. HOAR: Inasmuch as you have called me, I would like to say that I have been very much impressed with what our Persian brother and our Brother Lunt said this morning. I am particularly pleased with the ideas that have been put forth, because I myself have been a consistent advocate of this method for many years. I have some ideas as to how the money should be raised. You can't raise a great deal of money by just exerting a little interest here. Every single community in America should be divided and subdivided and there should be committees in these towns and communities who will solicit for funds, and no matter what is contributed, these committees will see that the amount is collected every single month and sent to the general treasury.
This is God's work, and it is the visible expression to the world of what we stand for, and when the world sees that Temple going up on Lake Michigan, it won't be seen alone by Chicago, but by the world, that this Message has taken root and has watered the hearts of men.
MISS EDNA MCKINNEY: When the House of Justice is established the believers will contribute one-nineteenth of their income. Can we not now make that a standard for giving to the Mashrak-el-Azkar? In this way, too, we could give of our time—perhaps one hour or one day of each nineteen days to work for the Mashrak-el-Arkar. Make that a holy day, a day whose service shall be utterly and wholly for the erection of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in this time.
THE CHAIRMAN: A committee has been suggested. We should appoint a committee rather to put this thing into shape, to go over the suggestions that have been made, and give us some practical, digested, comprehensive statement.
MISS ANNIE BOYLAN: When Abdul-Baha was here last summer, he did not ask the people directly to subscribe or do anything for the Mashrak-el-Azkar, but to a certain individual he said: "The Mashrak-el-Azkar is not progressing as it should, the people in America are not working enough for it. Today Persia is very poor, is disrupted politically, its industries have been stopped, it is not flourishing, it is in very bad condition. Persia is destroyed; if Persia was not destroyed your Mashrak-el-Azkar would be built. The rich must give to the point that makes it a sacrifice."
One could see that he was most delicate all through his visit about speaking and asking people to work for the Mashrak-el-Azkar, except those he knew were so full of it that they had to speak about it. He said, "Bahais give, they do not have to be asked"—but he always added that if Persia today were in better condition the Mashrak-el-Azkar would be built. Then he spoke about the Mashrak-el-Azkar in Ishkabad, the way it was built; how one woman knitted socks for fifty cents a day and gave twenty-five cents to the Mashrak-el-Azkar; a poor man gained by his labor, say, a dollar a day and fifty cents of it went to the Mashrak-el-Azkar. This was the way the Mashrak-el-Azkar was built in Ishkabad, and I gathered that the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America must be built in somewhat the same fashion.
MRS. PARMERTON: Now we have heard a great deal of what we think, and I want to read a few words from one who knows. [Mrs. P. read from a Tablet by Abdul-Baha commencing: "Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the Divine Sanctuary, the Spiritual Temple, shall be erected in America," etc., and concluding, "Notice the sign which shall soon appear in those regions and then your searching heart shall be assured."] I wonder if any of us have noticed the sign in the past year? Have you noticed the true gardener walking back and forth on the ground of America, opening every door that each and every one of us may have the blessed privilege of arising to his call and command? He has opened every door and has called us to arise and build this Temple; he has made it possible, too, that we may be his co-sharers through God's good pleasure. Now the Bahais know that the one who has the power to open every door, has also the power to close every door to us, and while he is with us let us enter into the way he has prepared, for we know truly that there is no other way than obeying his commands.
[The Chairman called on Dr. Bagdadi.]
DR. BAGDADI: We are thinking about how to build, how to advance the Mashrak-el-Azkar, but have we ever thought how to resist the obstacles that are confronting us? One of them is that some of the friends think that the Mashrak-el-Azkar should be in their city; that it would be better in their city, or that it would make a difference if it were in Chicago or in New York or in some other city. Now this is one of the obstacles. Probably those who have thought this may have been misled. Now, if, when the friends go back to their cities, they make it thoroughly understood that it makes no difference in what state or what city it is, and therefore why should not each and every one contribute money, perhaps that obstacle will be removed.
Now, when we go back, let us make this as an agreement: to tell them that there is no better work than the Mashrak-el-Azkar. Say to them, the Mashrak-el-Azkar at Ishkabad was in Russia. Why in Russia? Because in Persia we had not the liberty to build it; but the Persians did not say, "It is in a different country."—no; they intend to worship the name of BAHA'O'LLAH, no matter where it is. This Mashrak-el-Azkar is of America.
MR. OBER: In one of his first Tablets on the subject, Abdul-Baha said in effect that many people would consider the Mashrak-el-Azkar as a Temple, and then proceeded to show that it was not simply a Temple, but a Mashrak-el-Azkar, with a Temple in the center with various points of service round about, and set no limitation on these points of service. It seems apparent from the discussion today that there are two points of view, and we have first one side and then the other. First and most apparent the view advanced was the necessity for the confirmation of the Spirit, the outpouring of the Spirit through revolving around Abdul-Baha, the CENTRE OF THE COVENANT. The other point was the practical application by us of that Spirit in order to bring forth results which are permanent. So we have first one side emphasized and then the other.
The essential thing, it seems to me, is that we establish a plan that is always going to work. We have had here in America some difficult experiences in the matter of pledges. Though our means were small, the pledges were tremendous—as big as our eyes saw at the time, and then afterwards we would find that we could collect only a small proportion. There is no use in duplicating our experiences in that matter.
There is something to be learned from the growth of trees. A man makes an investment in a piece of land; there are some small trees and he plants more trees; they grow in the night, and keep on growing all the time. Now there are some who feel that we would lose in personal and spiritual responses if we inaugurated a system; but the suggestion has been made to focus on this so that we may have individual expression, and it occurs to me that it is possible, in the contemplation of big affairs, to entirely overlook some small thing, and after so many large schemes have been promulgated, we feel some modesty about advancing a small one. But the important thing is that we should have a sure income, and that the Board of the Unity, the Executive Board, should be able to count upon that at all times. We all know that this Temple is going to grow outwardly in proportion to our inward growth. We also know that tremendous events will revolve around the Mashrak-el-Azkar; for instance, the great opportunities it will open up for the delivery of the Message.
I recall an incident that is undoubtedly known to a great many of you, for it has been written about by those who have traveled in the Orient, of certain stores established in Bombay. The Bombay believers are isolated Zoroastrians largely, an humble people, but through pure servitude and great efficiency, they have developed a system of restaurants in Bombay, and, through the attraction of these restaurants and the spirit in which they are run, they have gained a large percentage of the best trade of that large city of a million and half of people. They have one store there in which Abdul-Baha is a partner, and they have supplicated to him to apply the profits of that store to the purposes of the Revelation. Bombay is divided into different communities, and this store is located on the outskirts of one community so that they are able to serve not only their own community, but certain numbers of the other communities, and they are constantly working to assist the spiritual progress of the Cause through their very business. I do not know how much money is being made in this store, but a considerable sum has come from this store and from other stores in Bombay for the payment of the land upon which we are to build the Mashrak-el-Azkar. Now there is need of the Bahai being the most practical person in the world; he sees a great vision, but at the same time he must make the immediate application. There is going on around this building, and must go on around it, the problem of the economic adjustment of the world, and this has heen laid down to some extent by Abdul-Baha in his statements here in America and in England recently. Now it would seem that we should apply these principles to the extent that may be possible, so that we may apply both the spirit and the letter. I make it as a suggestion that we could work out, in conjunction with this demand for great sacrifices, certain plans which are also revealed, and certain adjustments which are to be made. Abdul-Baha has said that there would be for each village a central storehouse, and that there should be a percentage collected from all the believers, and that the surplus or profits will go into this central storehouse for the purpose of the village, and that in the larger cities a proper plan shall also be worked out. Now the proposition of one-nineteenth, or whatever proportion is acceptable is working somewhat on that principle, but is not as elastic as it will be in the future. Somehow we should work out a plan that is going to work all the time. We should be sure of a regular income.
THE CHAIRMAN: I am going to appoint a committee with the approval of the rest of you who will, as far as they can, make a statement of your suggestions, a report, to be handed on for your Executive Board and for action for the coming year.
[The Chairman appointed Mr. Alfred E. Lunt, Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, Mrs. Corinne True, Miss Edna McKinney and Mrs. Claudia Coles as such committee. The Chairman then called on Mr. Maxwell of Canada to speak.]
MR. MAXWELL: We cannot expect to build the largest building in the world, but we may build the most beautiful; it should be one of beauty and permanence rather than size. Although two million and six million dollars has been mentioned, I think $500,000 is a better figure. The New York Public Library and other famous buildings in New York were under construction for eight or ten years. The completion of the Mashrak-el-Azkar will be, perhaps, five years in the future, and would mean the raising of $100,000 a year. Now if there are 5,000 Bahais in America, and that number will be increasing, and each gives on an average of one dollar a month, that ought to cover our needs. If you can get a hundred thousand dollars the first year, it ought to be very much easier to raise that amount every succeeding year.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Hannen has a few words to say and then we will adjourn.
MR. HANNEN: Most of you know of the splendid representation that the Christian Commonwealth of London has given to our Cause, especially in the edition of January 19th, 1913, containing a copy of a photograph of Abdul-Baha. I have a few copies of this. Word has come from Abdul-Baha, through Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, that he would be very glad to have at least one person in each Assembly subscribe to this paper as an expression of appreciation.
[Continued on page 141]
STAR OF THE WEST
PUBLISHED NINETEEN TIMES A YEAR
By the BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, 515 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Ill., U. S. A.
Entered as second-class matter April 9, 1911, at the post office at Chicago. Illinois, under the Act of March 3,1879.
Editorial Staff: ALBERT R. WINDUST — GERTRUDE BUIKEMA — DR. ZIA M. BAGDADI
Honorary Member: MIRZA AHMAD SOHRAB
Terms: $1.00 per year; 10 cents per copy.
Note — Until further notice, distribution in the Orient is through Agents.
Make Money Orders payable to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, III., U. S. A.
To personal checks please add sufficient to cover the bank exchange.
Address all communications to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, III., U.S.A.
CONSTITUTION OF THE BAHAI TEMPLE UNITY.
HE IS GOD!
"We, the Bahai Assemblies of North America, in unity convened at the City of Chicago, to the end that we may advance the Cause of God in this western hemisphere by the founding and erection of a Temple with service accessories dedicated to His Holy Name, and devoted in His love to the service of mankind, do hereby adopt the following constitution:
"We acknowledge God as the Source and Preserver of our Unity, revealed to us through the Manifestation of His Glory in BAHA'O'LLAH in this Day, and declared by the beloved Servant of God and man, Abdul-Baha.
"The name of this Unity shall be Bahai Temple Unity.
"The object of this Unity shall be to acquire a site for and erect and maintain thereon a Bahai Temple or Mashrak-el-Azkar, with service accessory buildings, at Chicago. Ill., in accordance with the declared wish of Abdul-Baha.
"The powers of this Unity shall abide in the several Bahai Assemblies, now and hereafter comprising it, and shall be exercised through one representative chosen by each established Assembly, to serve for the term of one year. If more than one Assembly shall exist or be established in any city or local municipality, such Assemblies shall unite in the one representative, except the following, which shall each select two representatives: New York (Borough of Manhattan), Chicago and Washington. New York (Borough of Brooklyn) shall select one representative.
"The affairs of this Unity shall be managed by an Executive Board of nine members to be selected by open ballot in convention, or written assent by mail, and whose term of office shall be one year. From their number the Executive Board shall select a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Financial-Secretary and a Treasurer.
"The two Secretaries and the Treasurer shall constitute the Temple Treasury, in which name, by joint action, they shall receive, deposit, invest and disburse all funds of this Unity, under the direction of the Executive Board, and until incorporation, as herein provided, shall hold as Trustees the property of this Unity.
"The annual meeting of this Unity shall be held during the Rizwan Feast—from April 21 to May 2—time and place to be selected by the Executive Board; at the same time and place shall be held the annual meeting of the Executive Board. All other meetings shall be upon call or at stated periods as fixed by the Executive Board.
"The local seat of this Unity shall be the City of Chicago, Illinois, where an office shall be established and maintained until the erection of the Temple.
"The Executive Board shall have power, in its discretion, to incorporate this Unity under the Religious Incorporation Act of Illinois, or such other state as they may select.
"This constitution may be amended at any annual meeting of the Unity, or by mail, but only upon assent of at least two-thirds of the component Assemblies to such proposed amendment, and not until it shall be recommended by at least two-thirds of the Executive Board, and thirty days' written notice thereof shall be given to all the Assemblies before action."
REPORT OF FIFTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE BAHAI TEMPLE UNITY.
[Continued from page 139]
TUESDAY MORNING, APRIL 29
THE CHAIRMAN: I am going to offer a suggestion to you. Is it your pleasure to print the constitution of Bahai Temple Unity with the proceedings of this meeting?
[After conference it was moved and seconded that the whole matter of the name and of printing the constitution with the amendments be referred to the Executive Board. The motion was unanimously carried.]
THE CHAIRMAN: We will now hear the report of the Auditing Committee.
MR. LUNT: On behalf of that committee I desire to report that we have examined the books and vouchers of the Financial-Secretary and the Treasurer, deposits, stubs, receipts, etc., and have found them to be correct. I desire to make that report and recommend that their reports be accepted.
THE CHAIRMAN: Will you kindly put that in writing.
MR. LUNT: The committee has signed each book and voucher.
THE CHAIRMAN: The report of the Auditing Committee will be placed on file with the records of the Society.
[The following telegram from San Francisco was read, asking that that city be made the meeting place for 1915:]
San Francisco, Calif., April 25, 1913. Roy Wilhelm, 226 West 58th St., New York. Abdul-Baha desired Bahai convention to meet in San Francisco in 1915. Local and Bay Assemblies now urge Eastern and Executive Committees to accept this commendation and arrange to come to San Francisco convention. Department of Exposition will cooperate in all courtesies.
- SAN FRANCISCO ASSEMBLY,
- Per Fred W. D'Evelyn.
[Mrs. Coles, on behalf of the Washington Assembly, invited the convention to Washington for 1914. Communications received from Washington, Minneapolis and San Francisco were referred to the Executive Board, with the suggestion that the convention be held in Washington in 1914 and in San Francisco in 1915. This met with the approval of the convention.]
MISS VANDA HAAKE (from Paris): I have a message to you from Abdul-Baha. When he knew I was coming to America he said to me, "Give them my love and greetings; tell them I know they are doing my work, and my hope is that America become a great radiating centre that will illuminate the world."
[Mrs. Breed read the greetings of a sister, who sent for distribution at the convention, twigs taken from the great tree on the Mashrak-el-Azkar site, asking God that "His benediction might descend upon each member of the convention."]
Mr. HALL: That magnificent tree is the one conspicuous object in the horizon there. Years ago it was the great meeting place of the Ouilmette Indians in that locality, and that is the name of the village organization there. There are many traditions gathered around it.
THE CHAIRMAN: The committee is ready to report.
[Mr. Lunt read to the convention the report* of the committee appointed to consult on ways and means for the raising of money for the Mashrak-el-Azkar and to formulate a general plan.]
THE CHAIRMAN: The report is before you with a motion that it be adopted.
[Convention adjourned until 1:3O p. m.]
MR. REMEY: I have an idea I would like to express. Can we not, during this session of the convention decide how much money the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar shall cost, devoid of any ornamentation or embellishment, so that we can get a definite sum fixed in our minds, and then let the committee arrange for architectural plans so the building can progress, and work towards the amount whatever we may fix?
MRS. MAXWELL: Fifteen years ago Abdul-Baha was speaking of the conditions that exist in the world during the time of a Manifestation. He spoke of certain incidents in the life of Jesus Christ, of certain things that had taken place at that time, and of their great effect in the world and how they had been mentioned all through the world for two thousand years. Then he said, "See these gates in the garden of the Rizwan where you used to sit. These are very modest gates, very humble; but they are very great in the sight of God. The time will come when these gates will be torn down and people will build them of costly marble. Then generations will pass, and the people will not be satisfied with the marble, and they will build them of solid bricks of gold and silver, and the people will say, 'How great was the privilege of those who passed through these gates in the time of the Manifestation of God.' "
Now it seems to me that the most important thing in this convention is to begin the work; it seems to me that the result of the convention should be that we should begin the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar this year if it is possible. For instance, suppose that Abdul-Baha says that we are to spend a million on this; then it is obvious that we will not be able to build it during the lifetime of Abdul-Baha. While I believe, as you do, that we should have great faith; yet does not faith mean also to bring it into effect, to do it, to build this as an edifice standing on the soil? Abdul-Baha has said that when once the eyes of the people are fixed on this building in the Occident, it will be the greatest cause of spreading the teachings among the people. How can this possibly be done if we do not commence the building? How much money do we have to collect before we commence the building? Is it not very much as though we were working towards a dream? It is like a dream. We have this stretch of land, and we can see this Mashrak-el-Azkar at the centre, from which the mentioning of God is to be raised—everything could be included in that—still, could we not build now, during the lifetime of Abdul-Baha? Could we not set a limit to the time when it will be built? Could we not say we will build it in three years, and then consider how much money must be raised in the three years? As it is, we are not working towards anything definite. It seems to me the interest of the people would be greater if they knew it would be built during the lifetime of Abdul-Baha. It could be made a jewel of beauty, and still be within the means of the Bahais in the world today.
- See page 146 for this report as adopted.
MRS. TRUE: When I was speaking to Abdul-Baha about selling a little of the land to pay the debt, and of putting the balance in the building, he laughed and said, "Do you know what the Mashrak-el-Azkar will cost? It will cost over a million dollars." So, when we lay the foundation, let us lay it for a great structure, and not have to do our work all over again.
MR. HOAR: If we are to build in a hurry, what will be the result? There will be defects, there will be many things we will want to change; and it seems to me it would be nothing more than generous anyway, for us to allow future generations, those who are to follow us, a part in this great work. It is going to be the greatest building in the world. When all America becomes Bahai, they can say, "Our fathers and mothers started it, and we have helped to finish it." Let us turn our hearts and minds to the possible, to that which we can do, and if we have a hundred-thousand dollars, let us build the foundations and the crypt and we can worship there as well as in the complete Temple.
THE CHAIRMAN: The question before us now is whether we shall fix a maximum or minimum amount to the cost of this building. God does not put the seal of beauty upon one color or form. The little thing that is perfect of its kind may be the most beautiful. Let us not let our ambition, or pride, mislead us—let us go into this with the spirit of prayer. Suppose we should say, "I will not work until I get so much, or I will not act until I am seven feet tall, or I will not wash until I get a particular kind of water?" We have no right to set any limits. God sets the limit, and the limit is the limit of our effort, the limit of our capacity. It may be that a million is too much, I don't know—but don't let us wait for a million before we start.
DR. BAGDADI: I want to say to the friends that Abdul-Baba will never leave this world before completing his divine work. One of his works was to build the temple or tomb for the body of the Bab. He did it. Another was to establish the Mashrak-el-Azkar in the Orient. He did it. Another was to come to this western world and spread the message in the East and in the West. He did it. Another work is to establish the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America during his days, and another is to establish the House of Justice.
[A suggestion of the Chairman, embodied in the motion of Mr. Lunt, that as quickly as the means for the work are within reach, the Executive Board is directed to settle upon plans and construct the foundations of the temple upon this land, was formally made and seconded.]
THE CHAIRMAN: That means that the measure will be largely determined by the response in the coming year; that we do not set any bonds, either maximum or minimum, and that you leave the working out of that to the Board whom you shall select.
[The motion was put and unanimously carried. ]
MISS EDNA MCKINNEY: Would it be proper to offer an amendment to the motion that has been passed, to the effect that a section of the foundation might be laid with the superstructure—with enough of the superstructure to make it possible as a place of worship, and with the foundation of such character that it will last, and then afterwards work in the whole building? We are told that when the Mashrak-el-Azkar is built the people will come in in droves.
MRS. CAMPBELL: I want to make a single suggestion on this line which came to me at once when the discussion began. In every cathedral, especially in the West, there are features apart from the general design which are used long before the main building. I cannot see why in the architect's work there should not be something to allow for that, something that could be used as a worshipping place while the work was still going on until the main design was brought about, and I am perfectly sure that if that were in the architect's mind, everyone would contribute; and we could use it, although it might not be finished until after we were dead and gone. But the spirit of worship would have begun with the first stone laid.
MR. REMEY: The two ideas that have been suggested by Miss McKinncy and Mrs. Campbell are illustrated in a building at Albany, New York. About twenty years ago the foundation and crypt were built first; later on they built the walls upon them to about half the present height and built a temporary roof on. Then they put in the interior columns and the stone work around the doors in block stone; then later on, as money came in, the carving was done, etc., and the last time I was there they had taken the roof off the crypt and the vaulted roof was in place. Now, we could follow that idea.
THE CHAIRMAN: It seems to me that the suggestions of Miss McKinney and of Mrs. Campbell are covered by the resolution adopted, and that it only needs the coloring of these words of wisdom. We will try to work it in as the committee does the work. We understand the idea and it will be worked in. Now we are ready to take up the motion upon the adoption of the report of the committee on ways and means. Is there any word on that?
E. E. K.: This is a convention in which good intentions are to be converted into tangible action. We are here, in plain English, to raise money. Of course the spiritual foundation is the principal thing, but the outcome of this spiritual thinking must be a tangible means by which the purpose of this spiritual teaching is to be carried out in this world of ours. The purpose is to raise money for the Mashrak-el-Azkar, and we are interested in raising that money while Abdul-Baha is living amongst us. I would rather go and worship in a shack raised in the day of Abdul-Baha and dedicated by him, than to go into a temple which represents in its structure all that the highest masters could contribute to the outer architecture since the beginning of time after he has left us. Let us use every atom of energy to collect the means by which the Temple can be built in his day. Is it not better for Bahais to sacrifice all that they possibly can now for the realization of the greatest hope that Abdul-Baha has, the final step in his mission? Is it not better for them to sacrifice their means, in order to make this a realized fact, than to die and have their funds expended over something else at a time when neither they nor Abdul-Baha are in the world? If they are willing to take that chance I am sorry for them. I remember a beautiful and wealthy Bahai who was of this class, who in their lifetime was in a constant state of suspicion and hesitancy, who was always making plans about what they would do for the Cause in the future, but what that person did was very little compared to what could have been done. But at length death came and all that person's funds went to be added to the funds of relatives who cared nothing for the Bahai Cause, and nothing tangible was left as a contribution to the Cause of God—what was left went to build up the temple of Mammon. We must remember that the Bab, BAHA'O'LLAH and Abdul-Baha sacrificed all that they had and reduced themselves to poverty and want, and had it not been for the fact of their sacrifice, the Cause of God would never have reached these shores in these days, nor the foundation laid for the creation of the edifice of the unity of mankind. Why not contribute what you can today? Why not deprive yourselves of the ease, or of the convenience which is not necessary or essential to your happiness, but which, for superficial reasons, you have been led to believe essential to your happiness, and then contribute the money saved by that means to the Mashrak-el-Azkar? Is there anyone who can stand up and say that he or she has not wasted much money on things for themselves and their friends which they and their friends could easily have gone without? In this day while Abdul-Baha is with us, being Bahais, let us arise and do something first through personal sacrifice, and second, through the creation of practical means by which beautiful spiritual emulation and cooperation can be conducted amongst the Bahais, and let that idea be disseminated throughout the land. If you do, you will see what a noble and glorious result will crown your efforts at the end of the year. And please do not let yourselves be persuaded by what I as a speaker may say to you, but consult your own consciences, and let your friends do the same.
MR. HOOPER HARRIS: With the permission of the Chairman and of the convention, I wish to say that if the delegates will listen carefully to the report as presented, by your committee, they will find it is broad. They will find that it includes a great deal more than they perhaps think it includes, because it is so well drawn that it needs study to thoroughly understand just what its possibilities are. It has been quoted here that Abdul-Baha has said that when the Mashrak-el-Azkar is completed, the people will come into this Cause by droves. Before he left here, speaking to me personally, for no one else was present except the interpreter, he said, "I have plowed the ground, but things must be kept in motion," and he added, "We need teachers; how we need teachers!" Now, we ought to find the way to plant the seed in the ground which he has plowed, and to follow up, in a befitting manner, the work which he has done. Christ called his disciples "fishers of men." BAHA'O'LLAH has called us "revivifiers of the world." This is an industrial age. It is a day in which men everywhere are thinking of great reforms. The social order of the day is in a transitional state. Everywhere men are looking for that through which they see the hope of realizing the social desire of the age. Is not that social desire symbolized in this great Temple of Unity? At the meeting last Sunday Mr. Hall set forth the fact that the heart-beat of many peoples in the East and West was being put into that Temple; that it stood for the heart of humanity; that it meant the real solidarity of man. Now, cannot we find the method of holding before the eyes of the people this great Temple as the true symbol of the oneness of the human race and the hope of the future ages? It is the symbol of the great spiritual, industrial and social order which is the real desire of the people of the present day.
There is a clause requesting the Executive Committee to gather together all the data concerning the Mashrak-el-Azkar and to publish a pamphlet setting forth this information for the use of the Assemblies, the teachers and speakers. This will furnish us with our ammunition. Now, as to the use of this ammunition, the committee has suggested that certain days be set apart to be observed in the local assemblies all over the country as Mashrak-el-Azkar days, when the whole thought of the people is to be focused on the building of this great Temple and what it means.
Now, my one practical thought and suggestion in this speech which I have been permitted to make, is that someone, who has the right, will make a motion that instead of leaving the local assemblies to each select these days for themselves, the national Executive Board of the Bahai Unity itself suggest the method and set apart the particular days to be observed, so that on the same days all over the country the friends will be devoting their time and thought to the work of the Mashrak-el-Azkar. This would not in any way interfere with the local management of the meetings, and would be a step in the direction of national unity and co-operation, of thinking and working together in the Cause as a people. Let us have faith in our national body. Let them appoint these days when the people all over America will be working and thinking together to reach the people of the world through setting forth the things that this great Temple means to the world of humanity, not by any means forgetting the thought pointed out by Mrs. Campbell that it emphasizes the importance of the education of the woman and of her mission, for once thoroughly comprehended, there is enough in this one thought itself to revolutionize the civilization of the world.
[Mr. Lunt stated the matter had been considered in committee. The majority of the committee thought that a fixed observance of certain days might become fastened in the Bahai growth and interfere with other days— that it might mean the institution of a fixed observance. He himself was in favor of the national idea. Mr. Harlem F. Ober put forward the suggestion of Mr. Harris as a motion —as an amendment to be incorporated in the report of the committee on the matter of selecting the days.]
THE CHAIRMAN: It is moved that the selection of the days when the Mashrak-el-Azkar shall be a subject of consideration by the several assemblies, instead of being left to the assemblies themselves to select, shall be designated or suggested by the Temple Unity.
MR. MILLS: While I sympathize with Mr. Harris' idea, and while the idea seems splendid, I feel very deeply that we should accept and try for one year the conclusions of this committee which have been reached in such a sanctified manner.
MRS. COLES: The question is whether the selection of the days should be left to the local boards or assemblies, or whether they should be selected by the Executive Committee of the Temple Unity. My feeling is that if we are simply silent the answer will come.
THE CHAIRMAN: The desirabilities of both plans appeal to us. No question, I guess, exists in your mind as to the desire of the Executive Board to proceed with wisdom. Let us accept the amendment with the words, "Subject to the approval of Abdul-Baha."
DR. BAGDADI: I think Abdul-Baha has answered this. On the 23rd day of May we were in Acca, about six or seven years ago, and it was proposed to make a Feast for Abdul-Baha on that great day, and when it was mentioned to him he said, "You will see that the friends will gather together and they will speak about the great things, about building the Mashrak-el-Azkar, and will even speak about building schools and hospitals and hospices and how to have unity—all these things on such a day they will discuss." And he added, "Not because it is the anniversary of my birthday, but because it is the anniversary of the declaration of the Bab."
E. E. K.: We are approaching the idea, reaching something definite in this question of a day to be set aside. It is very good, it is very important, and I feel that as the Executive Board is representative of the convention and the convention is representative of all the assemblies of the country, and the Executive Board is here to do something definite, I think the latter should take charge of it as such and that it should be a national day and a day for national observance. As to its interfering with the set laws and observances, that difficulty can be obviated by stating in connection with the day we fix, the fact that as long as there is necessity for the raising of funds and for the consideration of ways and means for the raising of the Temple this day shall be continued.
[The motion as put by Mr. Ober, being duly seconded, was unanimously carried.]
[It is moved and seconded that the report of the committee, as amended, be adopted. Unanimously carried.]
THE CHAIRMAN: I will rule now that we proceed to the election of the nine members of the Executive Board of the Temple Unity, and appoint Mr. Ober and Mr. Hannen as tellers.
[The convention proceeded to the preparing of ballots for the vote and the collection of the same. While this work was going on, the Chairman called upon the friends present for a word to the convention.]
A poem by Henrietta Mills was read.
Mr. Thompson, of Montreal, spoke very encouragingly of the increase of the Cause in Montreal; Mrs. Carre reported the progress being made in Newark; Miss Fenn spoke for Montclair, N. J.; Mrs. Stevens said she had been in Bermuda all winter; Miss Quant, of Johnstown, N. Y.; Mrs. Jones, Anaconda, Mont.; Mrs. Peterson, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Mrs. Bennett, of Cleveland, reported for the Cleveland Assembly.
The tellers presented the following report:
- Mrs. True.
- Mr. Hall.
- Mr. Jacobsen.
- Mr. Wilhelm.
- Mr. Ashton.
- Mr. Lunt.
- Mrs. Parmerton.
The foregoing were declared elected members of the Executive Board for the ensuing year.
The Chairman called upon Miss Mary Lesch, who responded, conveying the love and greetings of the Chicago Assembly.
The Chairman called upon Mrs. Maxwell, of Montreal, who responded as follows:
MRS. MAXWELL: I feel that I have no right after all that has been said today to speak again about the Mashrak-el-Azkar, but when Eshte'al-Ebn-Kalanter spoke as he did I felt that I was being submerged in an ocean of spiritual force. It seemed to me that the great spirit of sacrifice that has been spoken of would come to me if I knew that the Mashrak-el-Azkar could be completed during the lifetime of Abdul-Baha. That may seem weak, but I do not believe that I should have the capacity for sacrifice unless I felt that it was to result in the accomplishment of what was a burning wish, and would mean the completion of the building during his lifetime.
Moved and seconded that the Secretary be authorized to publish the report of the convention, including the constitution, in the STAR OF THE WEST. Unanimously carried.
The convention closed with the singing of "Awake, Ye Nations All!"
- BERNARD M. JACOBSEN,
ALBERT H. HALL, President.
PLAN ADOPTED FOR WAYS AND MEANS.
Your committee, appointed in behalf of the convention, to consider and report upon ways and means toward forwarding the common object of this Unity, namely, the erection of the Divine Edifice, the Mashrak-el-Azkar, in Chicago, beg to report the following recommendations :
1. We recommend the adoption of the motion following, i. e.:
That immediately after the adjournment of this convention, the Executive Board communicate with the Mashrak-el-Azkar representative of each Occidental Bahai Assembly, and in all cases where Bahais reside in a community not affiliated with an existing Assembly, then directly with such believers, stating the adoption of this vote by the general convention, and, in accordance therewith, recommending to all such Assemblies and the friends of God the following procedure for the speedy discharge of the remaining encumbrance on the Mashrak-el-Azkar land in Chicago, and the raising of funds for the early erection of the Edifice itself, viz.:
That said Board urge upon the friends the advantage to be gained by putting into effect, at this time, a uniform system of contribution which shall be operative alike in every Assembly and Bahai community in the Occident. And in forwarding this principle to suggest to the friends that the aim and object of this action is that those whose hearts are awake to this call for service, may give of that which they have to the utmost limit, in order that during the presence of ABDUL-BAHA the CENTER OF THE COVENAT, upon the earth this Divine Edifice may be established.
Through this method, collective and unified effort will be assured: the countless rills of pure offerings will become the great river of accomplishment, and the Divine Edifice will be speedily begun and completed.
The key to this, we believe, is love and solidarity, and the swiftest means, is a systematic and regular giving. But love must urge, and our gifts be of the heart else they fail of consecration. This is a spiritual Edifice, and the privilege and voluntary character of serving it, surrounds and must precede every material means by which its erection is to be sought. It is the opportunity longed for through ages, an opportunity which becomes possible only during the Universal Day of God. It is our hope that the heart of the CENTER OF THE COVENANT be gladdened with what shall appear from the friends in this behalf.
2. We further recommend that the Executive Board be authorized to put into effect a system of numbered triplicate receipts for all offerings made to the Mashrak-el-Azkar: the original to be filed with the general Executive Board, the duplicate to be retained by the local Treasurer, the triplicate to be given as a receipt to the giver. These will be signed by the Auditing Committee appointed by the Unity during each annual convention. Such receipts will be suitably inscribed and in the discretion of the Executive Board, may embody any appropriate insignia or device. With this method in effect, so that the individual giver is thus known and identified, we recommend that all gifts be sent through the particular Assembly: but we believe that the source of these offerings should be held in confidence.
3. That upon selected days to be fixed by the Executive Board, meetings be held by each local Assembly at which all shall be welcome, and the endeavor be to acquaint the friends and all interested in the establishment of a universal spiritual Edifice, with the purpose, meaning and importance of the Mashrak-el-Azkar. Provided, however, that His Holiness, the CENTER OF THE COVENANT shall first approve of the fixing of these uniform dates by the Executive Board.
4. Your committee further recommends to this convention that the Executive Board prepare, publish and distribute forthwith or as soon as may be, a pamphlet or folder setting forth the source, meaning and function of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, together with selections from the Divine utterances concerning it, in the Holy Books.
Respectfully and lovingly submitted,
- THE COMMITTEE,
- Alfred Lunt, Chairman,
- Claudia S. Coles,
- Roy C. Wilhelm,
- Corinne True,
- Edna McKinney.
OUR PERSIAN SECTION this issue contains: 1. Talk by Abdul-Baha at Port Said, Egypt. 2. Glad-tidings from Port Said, by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. 3. Brief biography of Mirza Djafar Hadi of Chiraz. 4. Tablet for Mirza Djafar. 5. Pictures of the Pilgrims' House (hospice) on Mt. Carmel and its builder, Mirza Djafar.
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