Message from the National Spiritual Assembly to all Local Spiritual Assemblies, 7 December 2017

Posted: 2018/04/20

The following letter from the National Spiritual Assembly to all Local Spiritual Assemblies, dated 7 December 2017, is now being shared with the entire community.

Dear Bahá’í Friends,

At the National Convention last year, the National Spiritual Assembly shared with the delegates its stimulating consultation with the Counsellors about a strategic approach to property needs within the overall context of plans for the advancement of the Faith in Canada. At the time, we referred to a special endowment fund that was to be established to support the acquisition, maintenance and use of properties at all levels of the community. We are very happy to now share more information about the Community Endowment Fund and the thinking that led to its establishment with you.

In a letter dated 1 April 2016 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, the National Assembly was encouraged to undertake a careful inventory of all properties owned by the Faith at the national, regional, cluster and local levels and to conduct an assessment of the evolving needs related to property. This assessment included such wide-ranging possibilities as facilities with dormitory space dedicated to all forms of educational activity, offices to serve the needs of regional agencies and neighbourhood space to support children’s classes, junior youth groups and study circles. Aided by this inventory and analysis, the National Assembly developed a framework that over the next few years will guide the timely acquisition of rental or purchased properties that are so critically needed in response to the receptivity being encountered across the country.

The Community Endowment Fund has thus been established to generate, over time, the resources these exciting developments will require. The National Assembly has allocated an initial sum of $2.5 million to the Fund and will be calling the community to match that amount over the course of the Five Year Plan. By 2021, a $5 million capital endowment fund will be generating the funds for an ever-expanding community’s needs. We lovingly invite your participation.

The 1 April 2016 letter included guidance about the acquisition of local properties, placing the decision whether to acquire a local Bahá’í Centre within the context of an annual national plan. Aware that many communities have earmarked funds for Local Centres but will not be acquiring a Centre in the near future, the National Assembly is now inviting you to consider pooling these earmarked funds into the Community Endowment Fund, allowing more advantageous returns than smaller amounts would attract. All earmarking would of course be respected, and should it become timely to acquire a Local Bahá’í Centre in your locality within the overall plan, the funds would be made available without delay.

Dear friends, it is clear to us from the reports of bicentenary celebrations flooding in from across the country that unprecedented numbers are drawing closer to the Cause in Canada, each soul with a desire to serve their communities. As the House of Justice said in its 5 December 2013 message, the challenge for every Bahá’í institution is to furnish the means for every soul to translate that desire “into the practical steps that day by day and week by week accrete to build vibrant, flourishing communities.”

It is our hope that the establishment of this Fund will in part address that challenge, providing the physical spaces for a strengthening community-building process to do its work of empowering entire populations.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,