Message from the National Spiritual Assembly to the Bahá’ís of Canada and those who are working at their sides – 10 July 2020

Posted: 2020/07/13

10 July 2020 / 18 Mercy 177

Dearest Friends and Co-workers,

With love and admiration, inspired by your response to the perilous conditions humanity has been facing and aware of the potential for even greater contributions to the healing of the world, we are moved to write to you and raise a call to action.

First, however, we must pause. Who could have imagined the changes that have overtaken humanity in these last months? While waves of suffering and sorrow continue to surge from a sustained global health crisis that has re-shaped daily life for the inhabitants of the planet, voices long-unheeded are now raised in a discourse long-neglected about justice and the scourge of racism. From every side, trials are afflicting and awakening humankind. Yet, in spite of the rapid disintegration around you, you have kept your sights fixed on the world you wish to build, confident that humanity will pass through this ordeal, persevering in your service while subject to exactly the same forces that are affecting the communities of which you are an integral part.

Story after story has reached us of the ways that you have been stirred to action within the current, necessary constraints. You have vowed to understand more deeply the root causes of the injustices in our society, and learn to address them in your own lives, in searching of soul and in conversation within families. You have extended the circle of friends, mourned the grief of God’s children, suffered with them and consoled them. You are attentive to the most vulnerable in society, including the elderly in your midst. You are continuing the education of the young and supporting the youth whose future hopes have been so jeopardized. In this work, you are drawing on powerful constructive spiritual forces to forge a new collective life, reconnecting souls with a Creator from Whom they had become estranged, changing fear into calm, doubt into confidence, despair into hope.

Seeing this strength against the backdrop of an unprecedented crisis of health and spirit in our nation, we now raise a call for the friends across the country, young and old, to rise as one in an equally unprecedented wave of prayer, establishing a regular devotional gathering in every household associated with the Greatest Name in Canada. We especially hope that in addition to gatherings that welcome all, every family will consider ways to strengthen the pattern of devotions within the home.

Several regions have already begun a movement towards this inspiring goal: let the entire country join them. In some parts of the nation, current restrictions will continue for some time and these prayers will take place only in family units or through remote technology. Yet even in today’s altered context, whatever the circumstances, this campaign of collective worship will serve to increase consciousness of spiritual forces and allow them to penetrate daily conversation in new ways. In its 9 May 2020 letter, the Universal House of Justice stated: “Naturally, the activities undertaken must suit the prevailing conditions, but there should be no doubt that this is a time for noble aims, high resolve, and intense endeavour. As is well known, the activities of the Plan are intended to cultivate a thriving community spirit, through which resilience to mighty challenges is also strengthened. Educational efforts aim to raise up a growing number of souls who can contribute to the spiritual and material wellbeing of a community; devotional meetings nurture the spirit of service as it blossoms, rooting it in a culture of collective worship.”

If you already have established a devotional gathering, you have naturally begun to think about the next steps. How can these spaces provide an opportunity for elevated, meaningful conversation among family members or a group of friends? How can the community-building work and the instrument of the training institute be introduced in a meaningful way? How can conversations with new participants lead to the study of the new version of Book 1, and how can these conversations be enriched by the sequence of concepts explored therein? How can all those who wish to arise to serve be aided to do so? How, in the current circumstances and in line with current public health guidelines, can you collaborate with others in learning together and building capacity to walk the path of service in every time and season?

While in most parts of the country the limitations imposed by the health crisis are gradually easing, conditions vary from region to region and even locality to locality. The challenge before us is to apply what we have learned to the current circumstances. We cite this powerful statement of the Universal House of Justice – the international body that unites our worldwide efforts to build strong, vibrant communities– on the painful condition of humanity, the grip that prejudices of all kinds continue to hold, and the work ahead:

While it is true that, at the level of public discourse, great strides have been taken in refuting the falsehoods that give rise to prejudice in whatever form, it still permeates the structures of society and is systematically impressed on the individual consciousness. It should be apparent to all that the process set in motion by the current series of global Plans seeks, in the approaches it takes and the methods it employs, to build capacity in every human group, with no regard for class or religious background, with no concern for ethnicity or race, irrespective of gender or social status, to arise and contribute to the advancement of civilization. We pray that, as it steadily unfolds, its potential to disable every instrument devised by humanity over the long period of its childhood for one group to oppress another may be realized. ¹

It is our prayer that through this united effort, the fire of the love of God will become a mighty blaze across the country, draw tens of thousands of souls into contact with the Word of God, inspire their service to humankind, and hasten such a blessed day.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

Karen McKye, Secretary


¹ 28 December 2010, Universal House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors