Letter to the Universal House of Justice from the 2016 National Convention

Posted: 2016/09/30

From the delegates of the 68th Canadian National Convention to the Universal House of Justice, 25 April 2016:

Dearly loved, esteemed Universal House of Justice,

With hearts brimming with joy, we send you our love at the close of this 68th Bahá’í National Convention of Canada, inspired by the outpouring of guidance in your messages of 29 December 2015, 2 January, 26 March and that of this Ridván, 2016.

Heartened first by the loving note from Counsellor Antonella Demonte, we were deeply grateful for the insights shared by Counsellors Borna Noureddin and Shabnam Tashakour, who helped us to better appreciate the legacy of our own history, the significance of the learning we have gained over the past 20 years since the early beginnings of the institute process and stories of the courageous friends in other countries who are carrying the message of Bahá’u’lláh to their peoples with self-sacrifice and deep understanding. As a result, our vision has widened significantly to embrace the whole of our country’s 36 million inhabitants.

In a beautiful letter from the Board of Trustees of the Right of God, we were reminded of the critical importance of maintaining the equilibrium between the material and the spiritual, and of the link between moderation and justice.

The National Spiritual Assembly prepared a Convention uplifting both for its beauty and careful organization in the city of Calgary, Alberta—which we learned had only recently more than doubled the number of its core activities in the span of a few months.

The election of the National Spiritual Assembly took place at the mid-point of the Convention, with the universal participation of all 171 delegates. The rarified atmosphere in which we performed this sacred duty was enhanced by the magnificent bouquet of white roses dedicated to the Yárán.

One evening of our gathering was devoted to a delightful, dramatic and musical presentation, which included the privilege of viewing the film of the Master’s visit in 1912 and hearing the recording of His voice, followed by narratives of the early heroines who arose in response to the Master’s call: May Maxwell, Martha Root and Marion Jack.

With 117 clusters having established a program of growth in our country, we consulted on the conditions that would allow them to advance towards the next milestone and beyond, enabling the participation of hundreds and thousands of friends in the community development process. Eight clusters in our country have developed the capacity in this last Plan to support over 100 core activities and have helped to prepare the path for many others. Need for the dissemination of learning to every cluster in Canada became evident from our deliberations.

The work of our two learning sites and the network of clusters associated with them has been a key aspect of this advance. Learning has been generated and diffused from these sites and many clusters have applied this learning to establish and sustain the junior youth program. We rejoiced at the news that a number of clusters have made significant advances over the last few cycles in the work with youth from the wider community, “this most responsive element of every receptive population,” allowing them to study the Word of God and engage in simple acts of service.

The burning concern of the delegates about the spiritual malaise of the society surrounding us was reflected in the expressed desire to reach out more actively to the varied populations of our land, including many newcomers. The contributions of many delegates focused on the urgent needs of the Indigenous peoples of our nation, their receptivity and enormous potential.

The sense of mission communicated in the Ridván 2016 message allowed the delegates to see how the broad scope of the present Plan “enables every individual to support this work” and how “small steps, if they are regular and rapid, add up to a great distance travelled.”

Clearer now is the role of the Local Spiritual Assembly in supporting the growth process, helping to mobilize the believers and allowing for the flow of love, encouragement, resources, guidance and literature.

As one of the two honored co-executors to whom you wrote on the centenary of the first of the beloved Master’s Tablets of the Divine Plan, the Convention has steeled our resolve to “consecrate ourselves in the next five years to the priceless opportunities and inescapable obligations” to which you have called us. We pray that we will prove ourselves worthy to fulfill the tasks ahead of us.

With deepest love and devotion,

The delegates of the 68th Bahá’í National Convention of Canada