Summer 2020 issue of Bahá’í Canada

Posted: 2020/08/31

While activities this summer have had to be adjusted, the pace of the work of the Plan has been steadily increasing. This has been reinforced by an influx of guidance, starting with the 9 May 2020 letter from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, which provides a charter for the way forward as we learn “to apply the Plan’s framework for action to the current circumstances of the world” given that “the current crisis has altered the context in which the Plan is being pursued.”

In its 10 July 2020 message, the National Spiritual Assembly raised a far-reaching call to action: “[F]or the friends across the country, young and old, to rise as one in an…unprecedented wave of prayer, establishing a regular devotional gathering in every household associated with the Greatest Name.”

The feature article in this issue, “Devotional gatherings underscore resilience,” focuses on how the friends have drawn on the power of prayer to strengthen the institute process, particularly in response to this call to action. From coast to coast to coast, friends are uniting in prayer and making the path wide for others to join them, as “devotional meetings nurture the spirit of service as it blossoms.”[i]

In the “From the History” section, we share an excerpt from the book Fires in Many Hearts, by Doris McKay, who was taught the Faith by Howard Colby Ives and became a long-term pioneer to Charlottetown, P.E.I. In the excerpt she describes her journey towards the Faith, learning that “service is prayer”; this consciousness influenced her throughout her life.

The article “Newsletter connects community during pandemic” tells the story of how a group of youth and junior youth created a positive resource for those who they felt were most vulnerable as a result of physical distancing, particularly children and the elderly. Through challenging circumstances, they were able to persevere in staying connected as a group, taking every opportunity to serve others.

In its 9 May 2020 message, the House of Justice wrote, “[T]here should be no doubt that this is a time for noble aims, high resolve, and intense endeavour.” The article “Children’s classes thrive despite distance” describes how in two clusters, through carefully reading reality and seeing others as potential protagonists, the number of friends taking responsibility for the spiritual education of children grew.

In May, the Office of Public Affairs launched a podcast entitled The Public Discourse, which explores “aspects of the national public conversation in a new way, by focusing on the role of values and principles.”[ii] The podcast began with a mini-series that explored the theme of resilience given the coronavirus pandemic. In this issue, we share a transcript from the episode called “The power of religion.”

The article “The community-building work in Victoriaville” looks at the development of a locality over a period of six years, charting how systematic effort led to the cluster reaching the second milestone during the course of the current Five Year Plan. Their story highlights how the love and unity that bind an expanding nucleus of friends serve as conditions for growth for the core activities.

As many friends will be aware, over the last few years the Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh in Canada, in collaboration with the National Spiritual Assembly, has been offering, as a gift, a copy of the compilation on the Right of God to every Bahá’í home. In the story “Gifting compilations on Huqúqu’lláh,” a representative of Huqúqu’lláh describes the immense love and care through which this task has been undertaken, and which did not stall despite challenging circumstances.

We are now well into the final year of the Five Year Plan. As the House of Justice writes, this, “the final Plan, in a series spanning the final quarter of the opening century of the Formative Age, will seal the foundation upon which will rest the next series of global undertakings. It is the concluding act in a captivating drama whose end is yet unwritten.”[iii] The ink of the Canadian Bahá’í community and all those who serve at their sides – their high resolve, sacrificial effort, and resilience – inspires us as we endeavour to shed light on this drama.

Summer issue 2020

[i] From the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 9 May 2020.

[ii] “Office of Public Affairs launches new podcast with a mini-series on coronavirus,” 12 May 2020. news.bahai.ca.

[iii] From the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 9 May 2020.