Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ridván 2008 Message of the House of Justice

The Universal House of Justice
Bahá'i World Centre

Ridván 2008

To the Baha'is of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

Thousands upon thousands, embracing the diversity of the entire human family, are engaged in systematic study of the Creative Word in an environment that is at once serious and uplifting. As they strive to apply through a process of action, reflection and consultation the insights thus gained, they see their capacity to serve the Cause rise to new levels. Responding to the inmost longing of every heart to commune with its Maker, they carry out acts of collective worship in diverse settings, uniting with others in prayer, awakening spiritual susceptibilities, and shaping a pattern of life distinguished for its devotional character. As they call on one another in their homes and pay visits to families, friends and acquaintances, they enter into purposeful discussion on themes of spiritual import, deepen their knowledge of the Faith, share Baha'u'llah's message, and welcome increasing numbers to join them in a mighty spiritual enterprise. Aware of the aspirations of the children of the world and their need for spiritual education, they extend their efforts widely to involve ever-growing contingents of participants in classes that become centres of attraction for the young and strengthen the roots of the Faith in society. They assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization. And with the advantage of a greater abundance of human resources, an increasing number of them are able to express their faith through a rising tide of endeavours that address the needs of humanity in both their spiritual and material dimensions. Such is the panorama before us as we pause this Ridvan to observe the progress of the worldwide Baha'i community.

On several occasions we have indicated that the aim of the series of global Plans that will carry the Baha'i world to the celebration of the centenary of the Faith's Formative Age in 2021 will be achieved through marked progress in the activity and development of the individual believer, of the institutions, and of the community. At this, the midway point of what will be a quarter of a century of consistent, focused exertion, the evidences of increased capacity are everywhere apparent. Of particular significance is the widening impact of the dynamism flowing from the interactions between the three participants in the Plan. Institutions, from the national to the local level, see with ever greater clarity how to create conditions conducive to the expression of the spiritual energies of a growing number of believers in pursuit of a common goal. The community is serving more and more as that environment in which individual effort and collective action, mediated by the institute, can complement each other in order to achieve progress. The vibrancy it manifests and the unity of purpose that animates its endeavours are drawing into its swelling ranks those from every walk of life eager to dedicate their time and energies to the welfare of humanity. That the doors of the community are more widely open for any receptive soul to enter and receive sustenance from Baha'u'llah's Revelation is clear. No greater testament is there to the efficacy of the interactions among the Plan's three participants than the dramatic acceleration in the tempo of teaching that was witnessed this past year. The advance made in the process of entry by troops was significant indeed.

Within the sphere of these enhanced interactions, individual initiative is becoming increasingly effective. In previous messages we have referred to the impetus that the institute process imparts to the exercise of initiative by the individual believer. The friends in every continent are engaged in study of the Writings for the explicit purpose of learning to apply the teachings to the growth of the Faith. Remarkable numbers are now shouldering responsibility for the spiritual vitality of their communities; energetically, they are carrying out those acts of service befitting a healthy pattern of growth. As they have persevered in the field of service to the Cause, maintaining a humble posture of learning, their courage and wisdom, zeal and acuity, fervour and circumspection, determination and trust in God have combined all the more to reinforce one another. In their presentation of the message of Baha'u'llah and the exposition of its verities, they have taken to heart the words of Shoghi Effendi that they must neither "hesitate" nor "falter", neither "overstress" nor "whittle down" the truth which they champion. Neither are they "fanatical" nor "excessively liberal". Through their constancy in teaching, they have increased their ability to determine whether the receptivity of their listener requires them to be "wary" or "bold", to "act swiftly" or to "mark time", to be "direct" or "indirect" in the methods they employ.

What we continue to find encouraging is how well disciplined is this individual initiative. Communities everywhere are gradually internalizing the lessons being learned from systematization, and the framework defined by the current series of Plans lends consistency and flexibility to the endeavours of the friends. Far from restricting them, this framework enables them to seize opportunities, to build relationships, and to translate into reality a vision of systematic growth. In a word, it gives shape to their collective powers.

As we survey what has been accomplished around the world, our hearts are filled with particular admiration for the believers in Iran, who, under the most arduous conditions, have arisen boldly to serve their country and are bending their energies toward its revitalization, though the avenues open to them are limited. And given the restrictions placed on the administration of the Faith, they have set out on an individual basis to acquaint their fellow citizens with the teachings of Baha'u'llah, directly engaging them in conversations about His redeeming message. Not only have they received unprecedented support from enlightened souls as they have begun to do so, but they have encountered a receptivity far beyond anything they would have imagined possible.

Every follower of Baha'u'llah conscious of the forces of integration and disintegration operating in society today sees the relationship between the rise in receptivity to the Faith in all parts of the globe and the failings of the world's systems. That such receptivity will increase as the agonies of humanity deepen is certain. Let there be no mistake: The capacity building that has been set in motion to respond to mounting receptivity is still in its earliest stages. The magnitude of the demands of a world in disarray will test this capacity to its limits in the years ahead. Humanity is battered by forces of oppression, whether generated from the depths of religious prejudice or the pinnacles of rampant materialism. Baha'is are able to discern the causes of this affliction. "What 'oppression' is more grievous", Baha'u'llah asks, "than that a soul seeking the truth, and wishing to attain unto the knowledge of God, should know not where to go for it and from whom to seek it?" There is no time to lose. Continued progress must be achieved in the activity and development of the three participants in the Plan.

'Abdu'l-Baha has extolled "two calls" to "success and prosperity" that can be heard from the "heights of the happiness of mankind". One is the call of "civilization", of "progress of the material world". It comprises the "laws", "regulations", "arts and sciences" through which humanity develops. The other is the "soul-stirring call of God", on which depends the eternal happiness of humanity. "This second call", the Master has explained, "is founded upon the instructions and exhortations of the Lord and the admonitions and altruistic emotions belonging to the realm of morality which, like unto a brilliant light, brighten and illumine the lamp of the realities of mankind. Its penetrative power is the Word of God." As you continue to labour in your clusters, you will be drawn further and further into the life of the society around you and will be challenged to extend the process of systematic learning in which you are engaged to encompass a growing range of human endeavours. In the approaches you take, the methods you adopt, and the instruments you employ, you will need to achieve the same degree of coherence that characterizes the pattern of growth presently under way.

Sustaining growth in cluster after cluster will depend on the qualities that distinguish your service to the peoples of the world. So free must be your thoughts and actions of any trace of prejudice--racial, religious, economic, national, tribal, class, or cultural--that even the stranger sees in you loving friends. So high must be your standard of excellence and so pure and chaste your lives that the moral influence you exert penetrates the consciousness of the wider community. Only if you demonstrate the rectitude of conduct to which the writings of the Faith call every soul will you be able to struggle against the myriad forms of corruption, overt and subtle, eating at the vitals of society. Only if you perceive honour and nobility in every human being--this independent of wealth or poverty--will you be able to champion the cause of justice. And to the extent that administrative processes of your institutions are governed by the principles of Baha'i consultation will the great masses of humanity be able to take refuge in the Baha'i community.

As you press ahead, be confident that the Concourse on high is marshalling its forces and stands ready to come to your aid. Our continued prayers will surround you.

* * * * * *

The Message also available here.
(Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Song text: "Five Years" - "...our recent culture, of studying the Word in groups"

This is the text of the song "Five Years" which was sung on the second day of the conference to the tune of "Fever." Hear it performed in the two embedded videos below!

Five Years

( - 8 bars - )

The Universal House of Justice

Has written all Bahá’ís a note

They say we have to up the auntie

More a paraphrase than direct quote

They gave us five years

Clock is tickin’

More than half way through to date

Five years

The goal in clusters

Is IPG’s in all 28

Let us not forget the children

Nor forget the junior youth

We stand up and we boldly proclaim

That “Humanity is one” is the truth

They gave us five years

No time for resting

Capacity has got to keep pace

Five years

But we’ll be strengthened

Strengthened by His unfailing grace

Everybody’s just got five years

This is something we all know

Five years isn’t such a long plan

It started nearly 3 years ago

( - 4 bars - )

There’s no mistaking our true purpose

We shouldn’t fail to realise

These simple little acts of service

Are a global enterprise

They gave us five years

For us to reach it

Five years to accomplish the goals

Five years

And they beseech Him

Bahá’u’lláh illumine our souls

( - 4 bars - )

Walk straight upon the path of learning

Ignore the trivial pursuit

Appreciate our recent culture

Of studying the Word in groups

They gave us five years

No time for resting

Capacity has got to keep pace

Five years

But we’ll be strengthened

Strengthened by His unfailing grace

Let us now rejoice at one thing

Establishing a rhythm of growth

Consolidation and expansion

Now we need to try to do both

They gave us five years

To build resources

Fives years for our Faith to grow

Five years

To use the framework

Now we need to get up and go

Now we need to get up and go

Now we need to get up and go

Now we need to get up and go

(Written by Dicky Fusco. He has allowed it to be freely shared.)

Performed at the London conference (see other, related clips here):

Performed in Sweden:

Five Years from Ann-Sofie Wensbo on Vimeo.

This is a cover of the song Fever, originally performed by Peggy Lee, now with new words by Dicky Fusco, about the Five Year Plan. This was originally performed by Dicky himself and friends at the Regional Conference in London on the 3-4th of January 2009. This recording though, is from the Swedish follow up conference in Uppsala the weekend after, the 10-11th of January, here performed by Darrel, Sylvia, Ann-Sofie and Leyli. Only just put together that afternoon.... ;-) Enjoy!

Performing "Five Years" at the London conference

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thrilling video of worldwide conferences held thus far

This is a camera recording of a masterly music video presentation shown at the outset of the conference (3 Jan.) surveying the worldwide Regional Baha'i conferences held by then.

(One can only recommend it be used in MODERATION so as to preserve its affective value!)

Videos of stellar final performances: narration, music, song

These beautiful, rare performance-clips (from 4 Jan.) were shared by Nadim Rohani. Many thanks to you, Nadim! He writes:

Feel free to share the link of the video or embed it on your site... We have been given the permission but please use discretion. Due to YouTube time constraints the arrangement had to be broken into four parts (therefore some video bits are repeated in order to relay the atmosphere). It is suggested to see the videos [sequentially] so as to get a better understanding of the piece... (Thanks to D. Morisco for recording).

Part 1 of 4: The Story of Siyah-Chal.

Part 2 of 4: 'God is Sufficient' and 'Allah-u-Abha'.

Part 3 of 4: 'Fever' now has new lyrics: 'Five years'.

Part 4 of 4: Drumming-Clapping Workshop. Credits of contributors. View it here.

(Photo is courtesy of Geoff Collins from his online album Used with permission)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Keep the spirit alive!

(The following was messaged to members of the Facebook group 'I attended London Regional Baha'i conference')

Dear Friends,

Consider this the final call for submissions, if you would be willing, of your impressions and/or action plans (individual or collective), which may be sent to the group Administrator directly for ANONYMOUS reposting to this blog.

Remember that by sharing you could inspire the rest, and that it opens for the opportunity to PRAY for each others' projects and goals (and who doesn't need that?)! 'Abdu'l-Baha has said:

"Concern yourselves with one another. Help along one another's projects and plans. Grieve over one another. Let none in the whole country go in need. Befriend one another until ye become as a single body, one and all..."

(Consultation, #19)

You are invited to reply to any of these questions:
  1. What made the strongest impression on you from the conference?
  2. What new (concrete) pledges of service to the current Plan did you or your community make?
  3. What new (concrete) goals did you or your community set?
(Please indicate your approximate LOCATION (country, region or town) as well.)

One member of the (Facebook) group posted this thought:

Keep the spirit alive!

This conference is a little like pilgrimage, if you don't nurture the spirit it will die quickly.. so to keep motivated:

Pray some more!
Go and serve
Teach some more
Pray some more!
Let the friends in your area know how amazing it was! Write, paint, sing, create!
Teach some more!

Cycle, rinse and repeat :)

With every gratitude and respect,

"There is no time to lose. There is no room left for vacillation. Multitudes hunger for the Bread of Life. The stage is set. The firm and irrevocable Promise is given. God’s own Plan has been set in motion. It is gathering momentum with every passing day. The powers of heaven and earth mysteriously assist in its execution. Such an opportunity is irreplaceable. Let the doubter arise, and himself verify the truth of such assertions. To try, to persevere, is to insure ultimate and complete victory."

- Shoghi Effendi

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

(The verses of "Keep the spirit alive!" were composed by Maryam DiMauro and posted 7 January to the Facebook group 'I attended London Regional Baha'i conference')

What new GOALS have I or the community set?

The following are concrete replies given to the question (in the "Discussion Board" section of the related Facebook group "I attended London..."), "What new goals...?
(Post will be expanded as answers come in.)

- To start a children and junior youth class.
(Youth, U.K.)

- To start devotional meetings at my office!
(Youth, Oslo)

- I have planned to pray every morning for my own progress and that of our cluster, and every evening for the goal cluster. I am taking Ruhi 1 again and I am going to attend Ruhi 4 as well, and maybe I will go to England during Easter holidays to take Ruhi 7.
(Youth, Oslo)

(Photo courtesy of Ronnie Yousefzadeh from his online album Used with permission)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New PLEDGES of service made at the conference

The following are replies given on the Facebook group "I attended London Regional Baha'i conference" to the question (in the "Discussion Board" section), "What new pledges of service to the current Plan did the believers make at the conference?"
(Post will be expanded with new answers.)

- We are gonna start a junior youth class with my sisters friends, and ask some of the children in the village parents about starting a childrens class.
(United Kingdom)

- Devotional at my house (we have no Baha'is near us), a study circle of book two with two non Baha'is, and a fireside. Also a book one because on Monday I met two people who are Latino and they know about the Faith, and also a girl I met on the train to London who happens to know the Faith very well too.
And then other stuff like helping out in outreach projects for junior youth and children's classes in some communities in my cluster and other places... And then some travel teaching, not sure where yet...have been going to some different communities since August but I now think I am going to have to be more systematic about it.
Still haven't fleshed some things out.

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

Post-conference summary by U.K. National Assembly

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom

5 January 2009

Dearly loved Friends

Some 3,200 Bahá'ís and close friends of the Faith drawn from Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom and lands beyond came together to celebrate the achievements of the Plan thus far and to contemplate the immediate needs of the region.
Their understanding of the processes of growth and of the role that each and every one of them can play in advancing the work of the Cause at this time were incalculably enhanced by the wealth of guidance and penetrating insights shared by the representatives of the Universal House of Justice to the conference, members of the International Teaching Centre Ms Uransaikhan Baatar and Mr Stephen Birkland. In addition, six members of the European Board of Counsellors were also in attendance: Mrs Uta von Both, Mrs Vivien Craig, Dr Shirin Fozdar-Foroudi, Mrs Saba Khabirpour, Mrs Firouzeh Moghbel-Naderi and Mr Hannu Tapani Olkkonen.

Stirred by the call raised in the House of Justice's message to the conference to launch at least 6 intensive programmes of growth by Ridván 2009, the friends in attendance were assisted in planning how to achieve this goal by the lessons shared by representatives of some of the most advanced clusters in the region.

The fruit of the planning process, conducted in a spirit of joy and characterised by a striking unity of thought and purpose, was a keen determination by the friends in 6 clusters to launch intensive programmes of growth by Ridván 2009 and a further 8 by the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh this year. Of these, 10 are in the United Kingdom, and 1 each in Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Republic of Ireland. At the time of writing when not all the pledges from those in attendance have been counted, some 19 believers in the region offered to homefront pioneer and, in addition, some 126 friends from seedbed clusters have offered their services as mobile tutors and 144 as travel teachers so that the identified clusters may launch their intensive programmes of growth. Those who could not do even this said they would help by offering regular prayers and financial support.

The friends attending this unprecedented gathering have risen to new levels of understanding of their sacred mission and confidence in what they can achieve for the Cause. Countless participants expressed how humbled and deeply moved they felt for having been extended an invitation by the Head of their Faith to this extraordinary gathering. There was a spirit of inclusiveness and a very real sense of unity tangible throughout the sweet moments of this blessed event.

To the Universal House of Justice then goes our eternal gratitude for allowing us to be part of an experience that we shall never forget.

With loving Baha'i greetings


Kishan Manocha


(Posted to subscribers of the UK BAHA'I NEWS EMAIL SERVICE. Emphasis added.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Poem by Maryam DiMauro: Slumbered heart

This moving poem in reminiscence of the conference, with the photos, was written and posted by Maryam in her Facebook Notes on 7 January.

Slumbered heart

A heart, awakened from slumber,
Beats in continous rhythm
A heart, beating cautiously
Becomes like a river flowing through
A heart, like a river
Become roughened angels and earth shattering tremble
A heart flowers into a garden
and pours forth and awakens celestial armies

These rhythms, these voices
these hearts
Oceans and bodies
Madness , rising like feverish phoenixes
Their feathers rising from the ground

These hearts,
Souls in enchantment
Carried out in heaven
Yet given tools for the earth

Farmers, sowing the lusty earth
Filling the cracked dust
With their blood

There is no time for waste.
The heart beats ever faster
My soul becomes frenetic
My tears fill the earth
Yet it is never enough
I cannot be still in this feverish haze
The world rocks, the souls cry

As the hearts,
They embark into the sea the Ark of the Covenant
Sets sails upon us
We are of one infant body
and one sunrise soul
Yet our hearts, unique

This time this place.
My words
Escape me.
Till there is nothingness,
Just this heart
Which beats
It must never stop
It must never flee
It must never excuse
It must never lose time
It is, it exists, It is.
All for Thee.

(Used with the kind permission of the author)

Posts on "The Wall" in Facebook group

Here follow posts on "The Wall" section of the Facebook group "I attended London Regional Baha'i conference"
(Post will be regularly updated as postings to the Wall are made)

- Recalling this unique, consecrated, systematic and spiritually charged event just brings tears to my eyes.

- Personally still stunned by it. Really. It was everything people said and more!

(Photo courtesy of Ronnie Yousefzadeh from his online album Used with permission)

What made the strongest IMPRESSION on you from the conference?

The following are replies given on the Facebook group "I attended London Regional Baha'i conference" to the question (in the "Discussion Board" section), "What made the biggest impression on you from the conference?"
(Post will be expanded with new answers.)

- The idea of the Faith being the Remedy for the ills of the world.
(Itinerant believer)

- The snow ball effect - how one simple activity had led to the creation of numerous others.
Randomly meeting old friends :)
(Youth, Oslo-Akershus cluster)

- The strongest impression was that of UNITY. The enthusiasm, love and encouragement from our representatives of the Universal House of Justice in the body of the International Counsellors was most special and touching.
The spirit was resolute!
(Surrey cluster)

- The strongest impression from the conference was its systematic organization, which reminded me of the need to be systematic in teaching as well. The talks were very inspiring.
(Youth, Oslo)

- I am living in Sweden in a C-cluster, but we have one A-cluster, Stockholm, and two B-clusters. We had many representatives from the whole country attend in London from all these clusters.
The Conference was well organised and everything was perfect, with a beautiful venue and program. A lot of hard work had gone into it, and it was well done. I give thanks.
The program of the first day was very very inspiring, the highlight of the Conference being the representatives of the Universal House of Justice. The other speakers like the UK's NSA representative and Counselor Shirin Fozdar were excellent. The cultural programs were super, the program well balanced.
The three Swedish workshops were succssful, with many participants contributing enthusiastically their services to the cluster activities.
We had a follow-up reflection conference here in Uppsala this weekend with more than 150 participants that filled the friends with renewed strength and exhilaration.

- I was totally inspired regarding the teaching work. We had our Cluster reflection meeting the week after and it was so different to previous meetings. I am sure that the unified vision we achieved at the conference helped create this and that as a community we can carry this forward.
(Swindon, Wiltshire cluster)

Bouquet onstage

(Photo is courtesy of Geoff Collins from online album Used with permission)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

House Message to Baha'is of the World 20 October 2008

The Universal House of Justice

20 October 2008

To the Baha'is of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

Today, the anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, marks the midway point of the five-year enterprise that will engage the Baha'i world until Ridvan 2011. We bow our heads in humble gratitude to Baha'u'llah for the favours and confirmations He has vouchsafed unto those labouring so diligently and sacrificially in the forefront of the teaching work. Since the conclusion of the Tenth International Baha'i Convention a few months ago, there has been a rise in awareness of the efficacy of the framework governing the operation of the Five Year Plan as insights gained by the delegates have been widely diffused throughout the Baha'i community. Scores of clusters around the globe are being primed for systematic expansion, and we expect to see a wave of intensive programmes of growth launched in the months leading up to Ridvan next year. The challenge facing the friends in these and all clusters continues to be twofold in character. While learning to identify receptive segments of society and share with responsive souls the message of the Faith--an aspiration generally not difficult to fulfil--they are striving to understand in practice how the diverse elements of a healthy pattern of growth, particularly the development of human resources, are to be integrated into a cohesive whole. How heartening it is to see that the moment the friends in a cluster begin to meet this dual challenge, immediate progress is achieved; the goal of launching an intensive programme of growth becomes imminently attainable. That the continued strengthening of the community should be matched by a further decline in the old world order comes as no surprise. Indeed, the friends should be on their guard, lest the development of capacity in the community not keep pace with the rise in receptivity of a disillusioned humanity. Behold how even in the short span of time since we raised this warning in our Ridvan message, financial structures once thought to be impregnable have tottered and world leaders have shown their inability to devise more than temporary solutions, a failing to which they increasingly confess. Whatever expedient measures are adopted, confidence has been shaken and a sense of security lost. Surely such developments have caused the believers in every land to reflect on the lamentable condition of the present order and have reinforced in them the conviction that material and spiritual civilization must be advanced together.

It is with these thoughts in mind that we turn our hearts in frequent prayer to Baha'u'llah and beseech Him to strengthen His followers through His unfailing grace. In such moments, we implore Him to illumine their souls with the light of knowledge and faith. Let them not underestimate the power inherent in the system they are putting in place for the propagation of His Faith, nor mistake the true purpose of the global enterprise on which they have embarked. Let them not deviate from the path of learning on which they are set, nor be distracted by the ephemeral pursuits of a bewildered society. Let them not fail to appreciate the value of the culture now taken root in the community that promotes the systematic study of the Creative Word in small groups in order to build capacity for service. Let them never forget the imperative to tend to the needs of the children of the world and offer them lessons that develop their spiritual faculties and lay the foundations of a noble and upright character. Let them come to realize the full significance of their efforts to help young people form a strong moral identity in their early adolescent years and empower them to contribute to the well-being of their communities. And let them rejoice at having learned through consistent, systematic action how to establish a rhythm of growth that pays due attention to the essential elements of expansion, consolidation, reflection and planning. May they one and all be endowed with constancy and fidelity and be granted the courage to make whatever sacrifices are needed to ensure the resounding success of the Plan. By the rectitude of their conduct, the sincerity of their love for their fellow human beings, and the ardour of their desire to serve the peoples of the world, may they vindicate the truth proclaimed by Baha'u'llah that humanity is one. May they be diligent in their efforts to establish ties of friendship that show no regard for prevalent social barriers and ceaselessly endeavour to bind hearts together in the love of God. That they may recognize the profound implications of their mission is our fervent hope. That they may not falter in accomplishing their ambitious goals, no matter how severe the crises engulfing the world around them, is our most heartfelt prayer at the Sacred Threshold.

To provide the opportunity for the friends to gather together, as much to celebrate the feats already achieved during the Plan as to deliberate on its current exigencies, we announce the convocation of a series of regional conferences, forty-one in number, to be held in the following cities between November and March: Abidjan, Accra, Almaty, Antofagasta, Atlanta, Auckland, Baku, Bangalore, Bangui, Battambang, Bologna, Bukavu, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Guadalajara, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Kiev, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Lae, London, Los Angeles, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Madrid, Managua, Manila, Nakuru, New Delhi, Portland, Quito, Sao Paulo, Stamford, Sydney, Toronto, Ulaanbaatar, Vancouver, Yaounde. To each of these conferences, two members of the International Teaching Centre will be sent as our representatives. National Spiritual Assemblies in hosting countries will have further details available regarding participation. We urge the believers, both those fully engaged in executing the provisions of the Plan and those whose circumstances have prevented them from fulfilling their desire to do so until now, to avail themselves of this opportunity and attend the conference to be held in their area.

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

House Message to London Conference 3 January 2009

Here is the House of Justice's particular message addressed to this conference:

3 January 2009

To the Friends gathered at the Regional Conference in London

Our hearts are lifted up in joy as we contemplate the convocation of the followers of Baha'u'llah from Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom who have assembled on this momentous occasion, at a time of unimagined opportunity for the progress of the Cause.

You come together in a city uniquely blessed by the presence on its soil of the Resting Place of Shoghi Effendi. He it was who inaugurated the prosecution of teaching plans to be derived from the Divine Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Baha, thereby harnessing the energy of the early standard-bearers of the Faith for a systematic implementation of the Master's vision. That same energy now animates the efforts you have made, with strategic intent, to create the conditions for sustained, accelerated growth in cluster after cluster, efforts that are yielding notable results. The scale of the progress made in each of your countries has been commensurate with the degree to which a necessary unity of thought and purpose has emerged among the institutions whose loving guidance has brought you to this point. It is appropriate, then, that the learning acquired by dint of your efforts to exploit the Five Year Plan's framework of action in so many clusters is now being systematically disseminated among believers from both your own national communities and neighbouring countries.

It is to the most advanced of the 20 clusters in your lands where the conditions for launching intensive programmes of growth have already been met that you must now look for lessons as you deliberate on how to move at least 6 more clusters to the stage where the criteria for initiating programmes of their own can be met by Ridvan 2009. Beyond this, you must press on swiftly with the many goals that remain. May each individual--whatever his or her involvement in the Plan heretofore--shoulder a share of this vital undertaking. Determine, at this propitious moment, not to be the least overawed by the challenge facing you, not to be deterred by the convulsions of a world order now in a state of inexorable decline, not to overlook the guarantee of divine assistance promised by Baha'u'llah to every believer who would champion His Cause. Can any misgivings remain that when the divine Message is presented with clarity and in a consecrated spirit receptive souls will be attracted to its truth? Banish all doubts and, as you apply your creative energies to the task before you, have every confidence that collectively you possess an admirable measure of experience in implementing the Plan's methods, approaches and instruments--the finest means for advancing the process of entry by troops. And be assured of our earnest entreaties in the Holy Shrines that Baha'u'llah may summon the angels of heaven to your aid.

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

Post-conference blog!

This blog is set up as a supplement to the Facebook group "I attended London Regional Baha'i conference." May it evolve into a forum for the preservation of some of the precious gems of learning and determination gleaned from our participation at that momentous gathering, called for by the House of Justice itself in its message of 20 October to the Bahá'ís of the World (included in an adjacent posts).

The official news report from the conference is to be found here.

Do add me as your friend on Facebook, or email me at aboysen1 | at | yahoo | com!

Alex ( B | o | y | s | e | n )

The context: Our glorious Mission

Dearest Bahá'í Brethren and Sisters who attended (or who feel somehow connected with) the recent London Regional Baha'i conference,

This blog is dedicated to you, in whom the Spirit resides, and from whom it shines, the chosen instruments for fulfilling God's Purpose in this glorious Age as you are.
You have arisen to do the bidding of God's Sign on earth, the Universal House of Justice, making your humble efforts in His glorious Path.
Every step taken daily in service to mankind, guided by the perfect example of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the attentive Parentage of the Supreme Body, sustained by the Lord of the Age, Bahá'u'lláh Himself, will be blessed a thousandfold, we are assured. Let us thus walk with care, and pay due heed to the precepts given us in this Day of Days in the form of spiritual admonitions and unerring Plans for the restitution of the waning fortunes of a harrassed humanity.

O people of God! Great is the Day and mighty the Call! In one of Our Tablets We have revealed these exalted words: ‘Were the world of the spirit to be wholly converted into the sense of hearing, it could then claim to be worthy to hearken unto the Voice that calleth from the Supreme Horizon; for otherwise, these ears that are defiled with lying tales have never been, nor are they now, fit to hear it.’ Well is it with them that hearken; and woe betide the wayward.

(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets, 64)
The twofold purpose of the conference to which we had been called was to "provide the opportunity for the friends to gather together, as much to celebrate the feats already achieved during the Plan as to deliberate on its current exigencies." These simple but pregnant words infused the gathering with the spirit of eager search as we pondered together lessons of love and unity. Some of the brightest luminaries of our times addressed our parched souls with words of encouragement, care and gentle nudging from the humble podium. We could only look on, listen, and expectantly hope to obey. Then, we were asked to gather in workshop sessions and reflect on those powerful messages that reached out and touched the heart of every one present:
He [Shoghi Effendi] it was who inaugurated the prosecution of teaching plans to be derived from the Divine Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, thereby harnessing the energy of the early standard-bearers of the Faith for a systematic implementation of the Master's vision. That same energy now animates the efforts you have made, with strategic intent, to create the conditions for sustained, accelerated growth in cluster after cluster, efforts that are yielding notable results...

May each individual--whatever his or her involvement in the Plan heretofore--shoulder a share of this vital undertaking. Determine, at this propitious moment, not to be the least overawed by the challenge facing you, not to be deterred by the convulsions of a world order now in a state of inexorable decline, not to overlook the guarantee of divine assistance promised by Bahá'u'lláh to every believer who would champion His Cause.1

The Words of the Blessed Beauty ring clearer every day:
By God, besides Whom is none other God! Should anyone arise for the triumph of our Cause, him will God render victorious though tens of thousands of enemies be leagued against him.2

He, verily, will aid everyone that aideth Him, and will remember everyone that remembereth Him.3

May we thus be aided, perhaps through this blog, but surely through other MUCH worthier endeavors, to do Bahá'u'lláh's unequivocal bidding:

Words must be supported by deeds, for deeds are the true test of words. Without the former, the latter can never quench the thirst of the yearning soul, nor unlock the portals of vision before the eyes of the blind.4

I am yours, very humbly,



1. Message of 3 January 2009 from the Universal House of Justice addressed to the Friends gathered at the Regional Conferences in London (see next blog posting)
2. Bahá'u'lláh, quoted in The Advent of Divine Justice, 57
3. ibid. 76
4. Bahá'u'lláh, Tabernacle of Unity, 8