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The Islands of the North Sea
A Compilation of Bahá’í Writings
III. Extracts from letters and cables written by and on behalf of Shoghi Effendi
THIRD CONFERENCE WILL BE CONVENED BY AMERICAN EUROPEAN TEACHING COMMITTEE IN STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, DURING SUMMER, REPRESENTATIVE OF AMERICAN, BRITISH, GERMAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES, TO WHICH BAHA'IS OF EACH TEN GOAL COUNTRIES EUROPE AND ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES, EIRE, FRANCE, GERMANY, AUSTRIA, FINLAND, WILL BE INVITED ATTEND, FOR PURPOSE GRADUAL INTRODUCTION OF FAITH INTO REMAINING SOVEREIGN STATES EUROPEAN CONTINENT AND NEIGHBORING ISLANDS MEDITERRANEAN, ATLANTIC OCEAN, NORTH SEA.
28 November 1951, cablegram from Shoghi Effendi, published in Messages to the Bahá'í World, 1950-1957 (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971), pp. 17-18 [3]

Under whatever conditions, the dearly loved, the divinely sustained, the onward marching legions of the army of Bahá'u'lláh may be labouring, in whatever theatre they may operate, in whatever climes they may struggle, whether in the cold and inhospitable territories beyond the Arctic Circle, or in the torrid zones of both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres; on the borders of the jungles of Burma, Malaya and India; on the fringes of the deserts of Africa and of the Arabian Peninsula; in the lonely, far-away, backward and sparsely populated islands dotting the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Oceans and the North Sea; amidst the diversified tribes of the Negroes of Africa, the Eskimos and the Lapps of the Arctic regions, the Mongolians of East and South East Asia, the Polynesians of the South Pacific Islands, the reservations of the Red Indians in both American continents, the Maoris of New Zealand, and the aborigines of Australia; within the time-honoured strongholds of both Christianity and Islam, whether it be in Mecca, Rome, Cairo, Najaf or Karbila; or in towns and cities whose inhabitants are either immersed in crass materialism, or breathe the fetid air of an aggressive racialism, or find themselves bound by the chains and fetters of a haughty intellectualism, or have fallen a prey to the forces of a blind and militant nationalism, or are steeped in the atmosphere of a narrow and intolerant ecclesiasticism - to them all, as well as to those who, as the fortunes of this fate-laden Crusade prosper, will be called upon to unfurl the standard of an all-conquering Faith in the strongholds of Hinduism, and assist in the breaking up of a rigid age-long caste system, who will replace the seminaries and monasteries acting as the nurseries of the Buddhist Faith with the divinely-ordained institutions of Bahá'u'lláh's victorious Order, who will penetrate the jungles of the Amazon, scale the mountain-fastnesses of Tibet, establish direct contact with the teeming and hapless multitudes in the interior of China, Mongolia and Japan, sit with the leprous, consort with the outcasts in their penal colonies, traverse the steppes of Russia or scatter throughout the wastes of Siberia, I direct my impassioned appeal to obey, as befits His warriors, the summons of the Lord of Hosts, and prepare for that Day of Days when His victorious battalions will, to the accompaniment of hozannas from the invisible angels in the Abhá Kingdom, celebrate the hour of final victory.
30 June 1952, from a letter written by Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, published in Messages, pp.37-38 [4]

HAIL THIS CROWNING EXPLOIT[2] SECOND SEVEN YEAR PLAN AS FORERUNNER FORMATION RAPID SUCCESSION COURSE THIRD PHASE PLAN CONCEIVED CENTRE BAHA'U'LLAH'S COVENANT REGIONAL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES SCANDINAVIA BENELUX COUNTRIES IBERIAN PENINSULA THEMSELVES PRELUDE ESTABLISHMENT PRESENT SUCCEEDING EPOCHS EVOLUTION DIVINE PLAN SEPARATE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES FOR EACH SOVEREIGN STATE PRINCIPALITY ISLANDS MEDITERRANEAN ATLANTIC OCEAN NORTH SEA.
23 August 1952, from a cable from Shoghi Effendi to the European Teaching Conference [5]

EARTHLY SYMBOLS BAHA'U'LLAH'S UNEARTHLY SOVEREIGNTY MUST NEEDS ERE DECADE SEPARATING TWO MEMORABLE JUBILEES DRAWS CLOSE BE RAISED AS FAR NORTH AS FRANKLIN BEYOND ARCTIC CIRCLE AS FAR SOUTH AS FALKLAND ISLANDS MARKING SOUTHERN EXTREMITY OF WESTERN HEMISPHERE AMIDST REMOTE LONELY INHOSPITABLE ISLANDS ARCHIPELAGOS SOUTH PACIFIC INDIAN ATLANTIC OCEANS...
8 October 1952, from a cable from Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the East and the West, in Messages, p. 44 [6]

MOMENTOUS PLAN WHICH COURSE COMING DECADE SEPARATING THEM MOST GREAT JUBILEE WILL DEMAND COMPLETE SUSTAINED CONSECRATION TWOFOLD TASK CONSOLIDATION FAITH ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND ITS PROPAGATION BEYOND ISLAND HOME INVOLVES FIRST OPENING FOLLOWING VIRGIN TERRITORIES: SEVEN EUROPE – CHANNEL ISLANDS, CYPRUS, FAROE ISLANDS, HEBRIDES ISLANDS, MALTA, ORKNEY ISLANDS, SHETLAND ISLANDS...
From the 1953 convention message from Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles, published in Unfolding Destiny: The Messages from the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith to the Bahá'í Community of the British Isles (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1981), p. 297 [7]

The settlement of these virgin areas[3] is of such an emergency nature, that he feels pioneering in one of them takes precedence over every other type of Bahá'í service–whether it be in the teaching or administrative fields of the Faith. So important is it that the National Assembly may delay initiation of steps to fulfil other phases of the Plan, until all these areas are conquered for the Faith. Nothing, absolutely nothing, must be allowed to interfere with the placing of pioneers in each of the 131 goal countries...
... The Guardian feels the following areas are not difficult to settle, and he thinks you should arrange for their settlement at once; and he will appreciate cable advice of each settlement as they take place.
Channel Islands, Malta
Hebrides Islands, Cyprus
Shetland Islands
As the Guardian's dramatic cable indicates, an illuminated "Roll of Honour" on which will be inscribed the names of the "Knights of Bahá'u'lláh" who first enter these 131 virgin areas, will be placed inside the entrance door of the Inner Sanctuary of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh...
5 June 1953, from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 303, 305-306 [8]

... In spite of your many problems, he feels confident that you will find amongst the valiant members of he British Bahá'í Community sufficient volunteers to enable you to fill your virgin territories and islands with at least one pioneer per place...
25 June 1953, in Unfolding Destiny, p. 310 [9]

In spite of the smallness of their numbers, and the limited resources at their disposal, the members of the community living in the British Isles, including administrators and teachers, as well as the band of self-sacrificing pioneers who have already forsaken their homes and are labouring in distant fields in the African Continent, must, at whatever cost, disperse more widely and direct their footsteps to the virgin territories and islands assigned to their National Assembly, contributing thereby, directly and effectively, to the speedy and successful termination of the initial phase of a Crusade on which the immediate destinies of the entire community so largely depend.
25 June 1953, from a letter by Shoghi Effendi published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 312-313 [10]

The privileged prosecutors of so revolutionising, so gigantic, so sacred and beneficent a campaign are, on the morrow of its launching, and at such a crucial hour in the destinies of the European continent, summoned to undertake: ... the opening of the following thirty virgin territories and islands: ... Channel Islands, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Hebrides Islands, Malta, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles...
July 1953 message from Shoghi Effendi to the European Intercontinental Teaching Conference, published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 317-318 [11]

The hour is now ripe for these communities whether new or old, local or national, already functioning on the northern, the western and the southern fringes of that continent, as well as those situated in its very heart, to initiate befittingly and prosecute energetically the European campaign of a global Crusade which will not only contribute, to an unprecedented degree, to the broadening and the consolidation of the foundations of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh on the continent of Europe, but will also diffuse its light over the neighbouring islands, and will, God willing, carry its radiance to the eastern territories of that continent, and beyond them as far as the heart of Asia.
Guardian's message to the European Intercontinental Conference held in Stockholm, Sweden, 21-26 July 1953[4], in Messages, pp. 158-159 [12]

The Roll of Honour designed to perpetuate the memory of the exploits of the spiritual conquerors is already inscribed with the names of the following pioneers, together with their respective territories, ... Eskil Ljungberg, Faroe Islands; Mildred Clark and Loyce Lawrence, Lofoten Islands; ... Zia'u'lláh Asgarzadeh, Evelyn Baxter, Channel Islands; ... Charles Dunning, Orkney Islands...
20 September 1953, cablegram from Shoghi Effendi, published in Messages to the Bahá'í World,1950-1957 (Willmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971), p. 51 [13]

ASSURE DUNNING LOVING APPRECIATION.[5]
11 September 1953, cablegram from Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, p. 322 [14]

ASSURE HASSELBLATT DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION.[6]
22 September 1953, cablegram from Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, p. 322 [15]

ASSURE CRANEY LOVING APPRECIATION.[7]
10 October 1953, cablegram from Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, p. 322 [16]

AS HOLY YEAR EXPIRES OVERJOYED ANNOUNCE ASSEMBLED BELIEVERS NO LESS THIRTEEN ADDITIONS ROLL HONOUR SINCE TRANSMISSION LAST MESSAGE CONFERENCE WEEK AGO... URSULA VON BRUNN FRISIAN ISLANDS ... GERALDINE CRANEY HEBRIDES ...
14 October 1953, cablegram from Shoghi Effendi, cf. Messages, pp. 226-227 [17]

INFORM NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EAST WEST BAHA'I WORLD CRUSADE MATCHLESS ITS VASTNESS UNSURPASSED ITS POTENTIALITIES SPIRITUAL ANNALS MANKIND ANNOUNCED EVE HOLY YEAR FORMALLY LAUNCHED CLIMAX FESTIVITIES COMMEMORATING CENTENARY BIRTH MISSION FOUNDER FAITH FORGING AHEAD GATHERING MOMENTUM BOTH ITS TERRITORIAL INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS EVERY CONTINENT GLOBE CHIEF ISLANDS PACIFIC ATLANTIC INDIAN OCEANS MEDITERRANEAN NORTH SEA.
7 December 1953, cablegram from Shoghi Effendi. Cf. Messages, p. 54 [18]

Your loving letter of recent date has been received, telling of your settlement in Kirkwall, and the progress of your work.
The Guardian is praying for the success of your endeavours. It is his prayer that your difficult path may be straightened, and that through your services in the Orkney Islands, many will be confirmed in the Faith...
The overall principle is that pioneers, once in the virgin areas, should not leave unless it becomes absolutely necessary; and then only after consultation with the National Assembly who is in charge of the particular territory.
13 December 1953, from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to the Orkney Islands [19]

The first twelve months of this decade-long enterprise unexampled in its scope, significance and potentialities in the world's spiritual history and launched simultaneously, amidst the climax of the world-wide festivities of a memorable Holy Year, in the American, the European, the African, the Asiatic and the Australian continents, have witnessed the hoisting of the banner of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in no less than a hundred virgin territories of the globe... outlying outposts have been established in places as far apart as ... the Lofoten Islands in the heart of the European Northland ... the Faroe and Shetland Islands, the wind-swept and inhospitable archipelagos of the North Sea...
April 1954, from a letter by Shoghi Effendi, published in Messages, pp. 60-61 [20]

The prizes won in recent months, since the launching of the Ten Year Plan to which it stands committed, through the strenuous exertions and the shining example of its pioneers in the islands situated to the North, the West and the South of its homeland, as well as in the far away territories lying in the heart of the African Continent and situated on both its eastern and western shores, must, however great the sacrifices involved, be preserved. The acquisition of the national Haziratu'l-Quds in a centrally located area in a city that ranks as the chief metropolis of a vast Empire is yet another task of the utmost urgency and of the highest significance, the consummation of which should be considered as the chief objective and pre-eminent duty of this community's elected national representatives, and one which is bound to exert, in the days immediately ahead, a far-reaching and pervasive influence on the growth and unfoldment of the Faith which it is their privilege to serve and promote.
Of no less importance is the responsibility to reinforce the structure of the Administrative Order throughout the British Isles, and particularly in the newly opened territories of Scotland, Wales, Eire and Northern Ireland, through a rapid and unprecedented increase in the number of the avowed supporters of the Faith, and a multiplication of isolated centres, groups and assemblies that constitute the warp and woof of the fabric of its evolving Order.
17 June 1954, postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 338-339 [21]

The beloved Guardian has instructed me to inquire of your Assembly what the situation is surrounding the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature into the following languages:
    Erse
    Gaelic
These are not languages of the Ten Year Crusade, but languages which have been translated prior to the opening of the Ten Year Crusade. He is very anxious to know what the status is of these translations and publications. If no work has been done on them, he would urge that you have the work undertaken at an early date...
20 February 1955, from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, p. 344 [22]

In every continent of the globe, throughout the widely scattered islands of the Mediterranean and the North Sea, of the Atlantic, the Pacific and Indian Oceans, this mighty Plan, devised for the systematic execution of the Design conceived by the Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant for the propagation of His Father's Faith, is forging ahead, gaining momentum with every passing day, tearing down barriers in all climes and amidst divers peoples and races, widening irresistibly the scope of its beneficent operations, and revealing ever more compelling signs of its inherent strength as it marches towards the spiritual conquest of the entire planet.
March 1955, from a letter by Shoghi Effendi, in Messages, p. 76 [23]

The extension and consolidation, in the course of more than a decade, of the administrative base established so painstakingly for the prosecution of this community's far-flung mission, through the formation and multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies throughout the length and breadth of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire; the opening of the virgin islands lying in the neighbourhood of these territories and forming a part of the British Isles, constituting a most welcome and much needed reinforcement of the Administrative Structure raised so valiantly and patiently by its members in their island home; the magnificent success surpassing, in its quality and scope, the fondest expectations of the elected representatives of this community, which attended the spiritual conquest of a number of African territories, situated along the Western and Eastern shores of that continent and its very heart; the settlement of pioneers in two Mediterranean islands; ...these stand out as the most prominent and significant evidences of the uninterrupted development of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh under the wise leadership, and through the assiduous and incessant exertions, of the elected national representatives of this virile community.
5 August 1955, postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 353-354 [24]

All islands figuring in that Plan, over seventy in number, situated in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Indian Oceans, in the Mediterranean and the North Sea, have, likewise been opened except Nicobar Islands, Chagos Archipelago, Hainan Island, Sakhalin Island, Spitzbergen and Anticosti Island. The number of the islands of the globe to which the Message of Bahá'u'lláh has been carried since its inception now totals ninety-eight.
April 1956, from a letter by Shoghi Effendi, published in Messages, p. 93 [25]

Parallel with this highly vital and urgently needed exertion in foreign fields, a further intensification of effort is required on the homefront, and particularly throughout the newly opened islands bordering the homeland itself, now standing in such dire need of a flow of pioneers and a concentration of material resources unexampled in British Bahá'í history. There is no reason to doubt that the phenomenal progress achieved within the span of a few years, amidst an alien people, and in such distant and backward territories, will be duplicated, nay surpassed, among people of the same race, speaking the same language, of the same background, and living in such close proximity to the Administrative Centre in the British Isles, provided that a determination no less unyielding, and a dedication no less whole-hearted and complete, will be displayed by those who have already won such memorable victories in such far-off and inhospitable regions of the globe.
11 July 1956, postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 370-371 [26]

The number of islands now within the pale of the Faith, situated in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Oceans as well as in the Mediterranean and the North Sea, is now over a hundred, seventy-four of which have been opened since the inauguration of the World Spiritual Crusade, including five islands, situated in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and not listed as objectives of the Ten-Year Plan.
April 1957, from a letter of Shoghi Effendi, published in Messages, p. 106 [27]

He was very pleased also to receive copies of the Irish pamphlets, and hopes the Gaelic translation will soon be out.
30th August 1957 in Unfolding Destiny, p. 382 [28]
 
The Guardian hopes that during the present year the home Assemblies will not only be maintained and groups prepared for assembly status next Riván, but that it will be possible to reinforce the work in the islands off the shores of the British Isles. The sooner a nucleus of local people is established in these goal places the sooner will the pioneers be able to move on to new fields and to lend their assistance to the teaching work either on the Home Front or in the Pacific area...
30 August 1957, from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 382-383 [29]

The year that has just elapsed, following upon the swift and spectacular success achieved by the firmly grounded, the progressive and alert British Bahá'í community in the heart of the African Continent–a success attested by the triumphant emergence of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central and East Africa–has witnessed a progress throughout the length and breadth of the Homefront, as well as in the northern islands in the neighbourhood of the British Isles, which, though not spectacular, nevertheless testifies to the earnestness, the devotion and the exemplary tenacity with which the members of this community are conducting, in all its aspects, the noble Mission entrusted to their care, and are grappling with the manifold problems involved in its prosecution.
...
The splendid work achieved, in such a short space of time, in a field so distant, and amongst a race so alien in its background, outlook and customs, must, if the significance of that Mission is to be properly assessed, be regarded as only a prelude to the series of future campaigns which the privileged members of the British Bahá'í community, residing and firmly rooted in the heart of a far-flung Commonwealth and Empire, will, if faithful to such a Mission, launch, in the years ahead, in the islands of the North Sea and of the Mediterranean, as well as in the remote territories situated in the Pacific area – campaigns which, in their range and significance, must throw into shade the feats performed in the African Continent.
To be enabled to rise to this occasion, to ensure the energetic, the systematic and uninterrupted conduct of so vast and diversified an enterprise, amidst peoples and races fully as promising, and even more remotely situated, and presenting them with a challenge more severe than any which has faced them in the past, the small band of the ardent, the high minded, the resolute followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, charged by Destiny and by virtue of the enviable position they occupy, with so glorious a responsibility for the future awakening of the great masses, living under the shadow of, or whose governments are directly associated with, the British Crown, must needs in the years immediately ahead, acquire greater coherence, increase more rapidly in numbers, definitely emerge from obscurity, plumb greater depths of consecration, enrich its store of administrative experience, become definitely self-supporting, and associate itself more closely, through the body of its elected representatives and its future Hands, with the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies on the European mainland and in all the other continents of the globe, and particularly with the Hands already appointed in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
The sooner these prime requisites, so essential for a further unfoldment of the mighty potentialities inherent in so splendid a Mission, are fulfilled, the sooner will the call be raised for the opening of a new chapter in the history of British Bahá'í achievements overseas.
The rapid multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, particularly in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Eire; the incorporation of firmly grounded local spiritual assemblies; a greater measure of publicity; a wider dissemination of Bahá'í literature; a quick and substantial rehabilitation of the vitally important national Fund; a firmer grasp of the essential verities of the Faith; a more profound study of its history and a deeper understanding of the genesis, the significance, the workings, and the present status and achievements of its embryonic World Order and of the Covenant to which it owes its birth and vitality–these remain the rock-bottom requirements which alone can guarantee the opening and hasten the advent, of that blissful era which every British Bahá'í heart so eagerly anticipates, and the glories of which can, at present, be but dimly discerned.
Now, of a certainty, is not the time for the members of this gallant band, so thinly spread over the length and breadth of its island home, and reaching out, so laboriously yet so determinedly to the inhospitable islands fringing its northern and western coasts, to dwell, however tentatively, on the nature of the tantalising task awaiting them in the not distant future, or to seek to probe into its mysterious, divinely guided operation. Theirs is the duty to plod on, however tedious the nature of the work demanding their immediate attention, however formidable the obstacles involved in its proper execution, however prolonged the effort which its success necessitates, until the signs of its ultimate consummation, heralding the launching of what is sure to be the most spectacular phase of their Mission, are clearly discerned.
A responsibility, at once colossal, sacred and highly challenging, faces not only the body of the elected representatives of this community, but each and every one of its members. As the world spiritual Crusade, to the successful prosecution of which the British followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have, singly and collectively, so markedly contributed, approaches its mid-point, the evidences of this indispensable quickening of the tempo of Bahá'í activity all over the British Isles and the islands situated in their neighbourhood and far beyond their confines, must become more manifest and rapidly multiply. The admiration and esteem in which a community, relatively small in numbers, strictly limited in resources, yet capable of such solid and enduring achievements, is held by its sister and daughter communities in every continent of the globe, far from declining must be further enhanced. The historic process originated as far back as the year which witnessed the formulation of the Six Year Plan on the occasion of the Centenary of the Declaration of the Báb in Shiráz, which gathered momentum, as a result of the inauguration of the Two Year Plan which followed the Centenary of the Báb's Martyrdom in Tabriz, which received a tremendous impetus, in consequence of the launching of the Ten Year Crusade, commemorating the centenary celebrations of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission in Tihran–such a process must, as the centenary celebrations designed to commemorate the Declaration of that same Mission in Baghdád approaches, be so markedly accelerated, and yield such a harvest, as will astonish the entire Bahá'í world, and give the signal for the inauguration, by those who have so spontaneously set this process in motion, more than a decade ago, of a blissful era designed to carry the chief builders of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Order, throughout the unnumbered, the diversified and widely scattered Dependencies of the British Crown, to still greater heights of achievements in the service and for the glory of His Faith.
30 August 1957, from a postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, published in Unfolding Destiny, pp. 384-386 [30]
End Notes (Use [BACK] to return to article.)
  1. Election of the National Spiritual Assembly of Italy and Switzerland.
  2. 131 virgin areas to be opened in the Ten Year Crusade.
  3. For more from this conference see Item [I] in "Sundry Other Sources".
  4. Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Orkney Islands.
  5. Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Shetland Islands.
  6. Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Western Isles.

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