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Ridvan Message 176 B.E.

posted Apr 22, 2019, 12:22 PM by Charles Thilking

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Bahá’í World Centre

Riḍván 2019

To the Bahá’ís of the World Dearly loved Friends,

As the Most Great Festival has drawn closer, we have been transported by feelings of gratitude and anticipation—gratitude for the wonders that Bahá’u’lláh has enabled His followers to accomplish, anticipation of what the immediate future holds.

The momentum generated by the worldwide celebrations of the bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh has only grown since. The accelerated development of the Bahá’í community, its rising capacity, and its ability to draw on the energies of more of its members emerge vividly from a summary of its recent global attainments. Of these, an increase in community-building activities stands out in particular. The current Five Year Plan follows twenty years of effort by the Bahá’í world to systematically refine and multiply these activities—but remarkably, in the Plan’s first two and a half years, the number of core activities alone rose by more than half. The worldwide community has shown the capacity to engage, at any given time, over a million people in such activities, helping them to explore and respond to spiritual realities. In the same short period, the number of gatherings for prayer nearly doubled—a much-needed response to humanity’s growing estrangement from the Source of hope and bounty. This development holds special promise, for devotional meetings infuse a new spirit into the life of a community. Interwoven with educational efforts for all ages, they reinforce the lofty purpose of those efforts: to foster communities distinguished by their worship of God and their service to humankind. Nowhere is this more evident than in those clusters where the participation of large numbers in Bahá’í activities is being sustained and the friends have passed the third milestone in their community’s development. We are delighted to see that the number of clusters where the process of growth has advanced this far has already more than doubled since the beginning of the Plan and now stands at around five hundred.

This brief survey cannot do justice to the scale of the transformation that is under way. The outlook for the remaining two years of the Plan is bright. Much has been achieved this last year by widely disseminating lessons learned from the stronger programmes of growth in clusters that, as we hoped, have become reservoirs of knowledge and resources. The International Teaching Centre, the Counsellors, and their tireless auxiliaries have stopped at nothing to ensure that friends in all parts of the world can benefit from this acceleration in learning and apply the insights being gained to their own realities. We rejoice to see that in a growing number of clusters, and in neighbourhoods and villages within them, a nucleus of friends has emerged who through action and reflection are discovering what is required, at a particular point, for the process of growth to advance in their surroundings. They are drawing on the potent instrument of the institute, through which capacity to contribute to the spiritual and material prosperity of the community is enhanced, and as they act, the number of those joining them is increasing. Naturally, conditions vary greatly from place to place, as do the To the Bahá’ís of the World 2 Riḍván 2019 characteristics of growth. But through systematic striving, everyone can make a more and more effective contribution to the work at hand. In every setting, there is pure joy in engaging other souls in meaningful and uplifting conversations that lead, whether quickly or gradually, to the stirring of spiritual susceptibilities. The brighter the flame kindled within the heart of the believer, the greater will be the force of attraction felt by those exposed to its warmth. And to a heart consumed with love for Bahá’u’lláh, what more fitting occupation can be imagined than to seek out kindred spirits, to encourage them as they enter the path of service, to accompany them as they gain experience and—perhaps the greatest joy of all—to see souls become confirmed in their faith, arise independently, and assist others on the same journey. These are among the most cherished of all the moments that this transitory life affords.

The prospects for advancing this spiritual enterprise are made the more thrilling by the approach of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb. Like the bicentenary that preceded it, this anniversary is a moment incalculably precious. It provides all Bahá’ís with marvellous opportunities for awakening those around them to the great Day of God, to the extraordinary effusion of heavenly grace signalled by the appearance of two Manifestations of the Divine Being, successive Luminaries Who brightened the horizon of the world. The measure of what might be possible in the coming two cycles is known to all from the experience of the bicentenary two years ago, and all that was learned on that occasion must be channelled into the plans for the Twin Holy Birthdays this year. As the two-hundred-year anniversary draws near, we will offer frequent supplications on your behalf in the Sacred Shrines, praying that your efforts to befittingly honour the Báb will succeed in advancing the Cause He foretold.

 The close of the first century of the Formative Age is but two and a half years away. It will seal one hundred years of consecrated effort to consolidate and expand the foundation so sacrificially laid during the Faith’s Heroic Age. At that time the Bahá’í community will also mark the centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that moment when the beloved Master was released from the confines of this world to rejoin His Father in the retreats of celestial glory. His funeral, which occurred the following day, was an event “the like of which Palestine had never seen”. At its conclusion, His mortal remains were laid to rest within a vault of the Mausoleum of the Báb. However, it was envisaged by Shoghi Effendi that this would be a temporary arrangement. A Shrine was to be erected, of a character befitting the unique station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, at the appropriate time.

That time has come. The Bahá’í world is being summoned to build the edifice which will forever embosom those sacred remains. It is to be constructed in the vicinity of the Riḍván Garden, on land consecrated by the footsteps of the Blessed Beauty; the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will thus lie on the crescent traced between the Holy Shrines in ‘Akká and Haifa. Work on the architectural plans is advancing, and more information will be shared in the coming months.

Feelings of surpassing joy now surge within us, as we contemplate the year ahead and all that it promises. We look to every one of you—those who are occupied with rendering service to Bahá’u’lláh, labouring in every nation for the cause of peace—to fulfil your high calling.



Treasurer's Report April 2019 (Jalál 176 B.E.)

posted Apr 9, 2019, 1:56 AM by Charles Thilking   [ updated Apr 9, 2019, 1:57 AM ]

US Treasurer's Report 04.09.19

Preparing for the Ridván Elections

posted Apr 6, 2019, 11:35 AM by Charles Thilking


April 5, 2019 

To all Local Spiritual Assemblies and
registered Bahá’í groups 

Dearest Bahá’í Friends, 

At this spiritually potent time of year, as the joyous Festival of Ridván approaches, we share the sense of excitement you must surely be feeling as you prepare for the Annual Meetings at which you will elect your community’s Spiritual Assembly for the coming Bahá’í administrative year. No doubt you do so mindful of the privilege we all enjoy in participating in a “wondrous System,” as the Blessed Beauty Himself characterized it, “the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.” 

As you arise to assist the friends in your community to better understand the unique nature of the Bahá’í electoral process, we are pleased to share with you a three-minute video on the subject, prepared under the auspices of our Office of Assembly Development and easily accessible through this link. 

We have also attached a few pages containing excerpts from messages of the Universal House of Justice on the Five Year Plan and its relationship to the functions of Local Spiritual Assemblies. We trust you will make use of both these resources in discussions at the upcoming Feast of Jalál and at other gatherings. 

Be assured of our prayers for great success in your efforts to further the friends’ appreciation of the sacredness of the system that has been entrusted to them. 

With loving Bahá’í greetings, 

 

Kenneth E. Bowers
Secretary 

National Spiritual Assembly of the
  Bahá’ís of the United States

Bahá’í Elections


A Date At Shenandoah Bahá'í Summer School 173 B.E.

posted Apr 2, 2019, 5:08 AM by Charles Thilking

This summer my family had a unique opportunity to go to Shenandoah Bahá'í Summer School. This for us was unique in the way that my wife and I had never been to an organized, large scale Bahá'í event outside of the old Naw-Rúz gatherings in St. Louis and that is considerable since I have been a Bahá'í for 30 years.
When we arrived it was at the Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center in Harrisonburg VA. The Book store set into an out building became the immediate information center to the registration area for first timers, of which there were few who weren't children.
Our first night was slightly bumpy activities wise, most everyone seemed to know the routine and how things functioned so getting that information to every attendant must have appeared redundant to the volunteers and staff but was quickly rectified when an attendee made it known it was their first time.
Our room was nice, and the facility was older and well loved without any functional issues, it even sported a permanent labyrinth. No 
minotaurs found, just a nice meditative place to center. 
 

The Bahá’í World News Service

posted Apr 2, 2019, 4:56 AM by Charles Thilking

March 28, 2019
To the American Bahá’í community
Dearest Bahá’í Friends,

The Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS)
familiar to many of you as an online
source of high-quality reporting on wide-ranging developments of interest to and
affecting the worldwide Bahá’í community
has in recent days augmented its
offerings in an important way by making them available not only in English but in
French and Spanish, thus readily accessible to a significant portion of the world’s
population.
In a message to this effect recently circulated to selected National Spiritual
Assemblies, the Universal House of Justice applauds the News Service’s regular
provision of “a window on certain dimensions of how the members of the Bahá’í
community are applying the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and striving to contribute to the
betterment of society.” Its features and insights, the House of Justice further notes,
“have increasingly stimulated meaningful conversations amongst Bahá’ís and their
friends” enabling the News Service to emerge “as a promising instrument to reinforce
the current endeavours of the Bahá’í community.”
A link to the News Service is already accessible by choosing “International Bahá’í
Resources” from the “Resources” column of the menu on the landing page of our
national Bahá’í website (at
www.bahai.us). A link to BWNS has also been placed at
the top of the landing page of the member services section of the website, accessible
after logging in.
We strongly encourage you to make use of BWNS and to share its content
with friends, thereby, in the Supreme Body’s words, “increasing the number of
people around the world who are drawing on this valuable resource.”

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

Kenneth E. Bowers
Secretary
  

Brilliant Star Submissions: Spiritual and Moral Development of Children

posted Apr 2, 2019, 4:48 AM by Charles Thilking   [ updated Apr 2, 2019, 5:00 AM ]

March 27, 2019

To all Local Spiritual Assemblies
Dear Bahá’í Friends,

One of the ways in which the National Spiritual Assembly strives to support the 
spiritual and moral development of children, who are described by the Universal 
House of Justice as “the most precious treasure a community can possess,” is through 
the publication of Brilliant Star. 
Brilliant Star’s dedicated editors—in their continual efforts to meet the needs of the 
magazine’s audience—have developed an online survey, available through this link, to 
gather ideas and comments from Brilliant Star’s readers aged 7-14. We kindly request 
that you encourage families in your respective communities to help their children 
complete this survey by Wednesday, April 10. As a gesture of appreciation for their 
input, the first 75 children in the United States who complete the survey will receive a 
small gift. 
Those who wish to learn more about this award-winning educational resource for 
young people, parents, and teachers are warmly invited to visit Brilliant Star’s website 
(brilliantstarmagazine.org). Last year, the website added a “Luminous Library,” a 
database of full issues of the magazine that are available to search, download, and print 
(here).
We are grateful for your efforts to share news of this survey as soon as possible in your 
communities, and eagerly look forward to receiving young readers’ valuable input to 
this beloved publication. 

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

Kenneth E. Bowers
Secretary

Learn about the Bahá’í Faith

posted Oct 20, 2017, 5:14 AM by Charles Thilking

From the Bahá’í World Services News:
"The historic 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah is being celebrated around the world at every level from the grassroots to the international."

From the Blueridge Bahá’í Community: 
Join Us!
Sunday, Oct 22, 3:00-5:00, Lenn Park Pavilion, 18063 Stevensburg Road. The video recently released by the UHJ on Baha'u'llah, Light of the World, will be shown.


VIDEO: Light of the World - Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

posted Oct 20, 2017, 4:59 AM by Charles Thilking

From The Universal House of Justice [[Video & ToU]]

Light of the World


Bicentenary Congratulations from Former President Jimmy Carter

posted Oct 17, 2017, 1:44 AM by Charles Thilking   [ updated Oct 17, 2017, 1:46 AM ]

[From National Spiritual Assembly : Bahá’ís of the United States]
 
We are delighted to share with you, on the National Spiritual Assembly’s behalf, a letter received from former president Jimmy Carter congratulating the American Bahá’í community on the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth. 

Celebrating Culpeper Unity Through the Arts

posted Oct 13, 2017, 5:24 AM by Charles Thilking   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 5:25 AM ]

Come and Join Us!
  On Friday night, October 20th, 7 pm at the Eastern View High School [Culpeper Virginia] in the Cafeteria the Bahá’ís of Blueridge Cluster will be hosting a community event celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh.
All are welcome to this free event.

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