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The Islands of the North Sea
A Compilation of Bahá’í Writings
 
IV. Extracts from Letters written by and on behalf of the Universal House of Justice
... The British Bahá'í Community now enters a new phase in the fulfilment of its 'glorious mission.' This mission has two closely linked interdependent aspects 'the vital mission at home in their boroughs and counties' whose ultimate aim is the awakening of the masses of their countrymen to the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and their enrolment under the banner of His Cause, which 'must be regarded as the base' for its 'glorious overseas mission.' Your home front goals are to:
Open the Inner Hebrides Islands, the Isle of Wight and Guernsey, and to resettle and establish a group on the Isle of Man ...
Raise the number of Spiritual Assemblies to one hundred including one in every county of England, one each in the Isle of Wight, the Orkney Islands, the Outer Hebrides Islands, the Channel Islands and the Shetland Islands.
...
... The great emphasis which Shoghi Effendi laid upon your work in the islands of the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Pacific, and particularly the beneficial results which he said would flow from the outpouring of pioneers and treasure in the 'islands bordering the homeland' should lead you to concentrate on these vital points when planning the overall strategy of your onward march.
Letter from the Universal House of Justice to the British Bahá'í Community, April 1964 [31]

You are now gathered in this Conference to deliberate on ways and means of accomplishing the goals which are set before you. Let every believer, as he considers in detail these various goals, bear in mind four supreme objectives: to carry the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to every stratum of society, not only in the towns and cities but also in the villages and country districts where the virus of materialism has had much less effect on the lives of men; to take urgent, wise and well-considered steps to spread the Faith to those countries of Eastern Europe in which it has not yet become established; to reinforce strongly the heroic band of pioneers in the islands of the Mediterranean and the North Sea – islands which are to play such an important role in the awakening of the entire continent – as well as to prosecute energetically the goals your are called upon to achieve in other continents and oceans; and to foster the cooperation between National Communities and between National Spiritual Assemblies and the Hands of the Cause of God which has contributed so markedly to the work of the Faith on that Continent and is so essential for its future development...
In 1953 Shoghi Effendi wrote that the continent of Europe had 'at last at this critical hour – this great turning point in its fortunes – entered upon what may well be regarded as the opening phase of a great spiritual revival that bids fair to eclipse any period in its spiritual history.' Those who have been privileged to witness the extraordinary strengthening and consolidation of the Cause in Europe during the course of the last eleven years are well aware of the reservoir of spiritual potential that has been building up and the transformation of the life of the European Bahá'í Community that has ensued. May the completion and dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár be the signal for the unleashing of this potential, bringing about on the European mainland and in the islands around its shores a quickening of the process of individual conversion comparable to those events which have transpired with such astonishing suddenness in other continents of the globe.
July 1964, from the Universal House of Justice addressed to those gathered in the European Teaching Conference on the occasion of the dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe, published in Wellspring of Guidance: Messages 1963-1968 Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976, pp. 28-30 [32]

APPRECIATE LOVING SENTIMENTS ASSURE PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES HISTORIC FIRST SUMMER SCHOOL SCOTLAND WILL OPEN NEW CHAPTER DEVELOPMENT CAUSE THAT LAND RESULTING RAPID ACCELERATION PROCESS WINNING ENTHUSIASTIC DEDICATED ADHERENTS CAUSE GOD LENGTH BREADTH MAINLAND THROUGHOUT ISLANDS WEST AND NORTH REINFORCING GROWTH ENTIRE BRITISH BAHA'I COMMUNITY.
Telegram from the Universal House of Justice to first Summer School in Scotland, St. Andrews,
4 August 1971 [33]

The specific goals assigned to your community are to:
... Greatly increase the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies and establish at least one in every county in England, Scotland and Wales, and in Guernsey ..., the Isle of Man and the Inner Hebrides; ...
... Develop and implement a Five Year Plan of expansion and consolidation in Orkney and Shetland.
Letter to the British Bahá'í Community, published in the UK Bahá'í Journal No. 222, April 1974, p. 3 [34]

Great attention should certainly be paid to the islands, and pioneers and funds allocated for the work there and the more this is done, the more you can hope for the beneficial results indicated by the beloved Guardian.
Letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom, 1976 [35]

Acquire or rent modest Bahá'í Centres in the Orkneys, the Shetlands and the Western Isles...
January 1981, letter to the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom [36]

... the beloved Guardian laid very great stress on the establishment of the Cause in the 'Islands of the North Sea' and even assured the British friends that an outpouring of pioneers and treasure in those Islands would result in a very great expansion of the Cause in the whole of the British Isles. He expressed his great delight when Orkney and Shetland were opened to the Faith.
11 March 1987, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer [37]

The House of Justice was very happy indeed to see the eagerness of your committee to intensify the teaching work in Scotland, and your clear awareness of the special importance of the work in the islands. Undoubtedly the National Spiritual Assembly and the National Teaching Committee will be considering how your plans can best fit in with the overall work throughout the United Kingdom and will be moved by the beloved Guardian's striking correlation of advances in the islands with progress throughout the whole country.
On behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the Scottish Teaching Committee, 1988 [38]

The [National Spiritual] Assembly is no doubt aware of the great significance which the Guardian attached to the teaching in the Islands of the North Sea and his guidance to the Bahá'í Community of the British Isles during the Ten Year Crusade, which included the importance of "the rapid multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, particularly in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Eire" as one of "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."[1]
22 November 1989, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer [39]
  1. Unfolding Destiny, p. 385.
The House of Justice responds warmly to the expression of love and devotion from its friends in the Wester Isles, and assures you all of its prayers at the Sacred Threshold for divine bounties and confirmation to reward your dedicated efforts.
26 July 1984, letter to an individual believer. [40]

Your letter ..., and the enclosed copy of correspondence about this project [Heart of the Ocean Project], from the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Shetland, brought joy to the Universal House of Justice. It is delighted with the initiative of this island community, its imaginative approach to finding a befitting way to participate in the opportunities for the Faith now open in Eastern Europe, and its plans to use Shetland's links with the north and east of Europe to good advantage.
Kindly assure the dear Bahá'ís in Shetland that the House of Justice will remember them in its prayers in the Holy Shrines that Bahá'u'lláh may assist them in their service to the Cause and bless their dedicated efforts with success.
26 June 1991, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom [41]

An initial search of the Guardian's writings on the subject has not revealed any specific definition by him of "the islands of the North Sea." However, from a reading of his several messages during the Ten Year Crusade, it would seem that he used the term with a general signification rather than a strictly limited one, including such outlying groups as the Faroe Islands and the Hebrides...
The House of Justice asks us to take this opportunity to assure you of its prayers in the Holy Shrines for divine confirmations to surround the teaching work in the Faroes. It attaches great importance to the development of the Bahá'í community there, and eagerly looks forward to the day when it will be strong enough to have its own National Spiritual Assembly.
14 February 1995, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer [42]

There are areas which cry out for pioneers and travelling teachers; the mind turns, for example, to the work among the Sami and the other peoples of the arctic and sub-arctic areas as far north as Spitsbergen. We contemplate the significance of teaching the Faith in the islands of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the North Sea; ...
Ridván 153 B.E. (1996), Universal House of Justice message to the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh in Europe [43]