September 23, 2010

Mid-July 1920: Shoghi Effendi arrived in the United Kingdom

Shoghi Effendi arrived in the United Kingdom in mid-July 1920 and was welcomed by a community of devoted believers and admirers of the Faith who had been nurtured by their loving Master. Prominent among the believers and admirers of the Master were Lady Blomfield, Major Tudor-Pole and Lord Lamington.

Lady Blomfield, one of the pillars of the Cause in England, had been among the first to recognize the new revelation. She was a woman whose considerable influence traced back to her father-in-law, Dr Charles James Blomfield (1786-1857), the Bishop of London and the tutor of Queen Victoria. Lady Blomfield and her daughter Mary had been introduced to the Faith at a reception in Paris in 1907. Their teacher was Miss Bertha Herbert. Both had embraced the Faith upon their return to England and were nurtured by a Baha'i community comprising two people: an American believer living in London, Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper, and Miss. Ethel Rosenberg, the first British woman to accept the new Earth of God.

Lord Lamington, one-time Governor of the Bombay Presidency, was another admirer of 'Abdu'l-Baha living in London in 1920. On Christmas day 1912 the Master had visited Lord Lamington in London. During that visit Lord Lamington bad been deeply touched by the message of peace and goodwill that flowed through the words and example of the Master. When he discovered in the spring of 1918 from Lady Blomfield that 'Abdu'l-Baha was in danger in the Holy Land, he dispatched a letter to the Foreign Office explaining the danger facing the Master and the importance of his work for peace. Exerting his influence, he made sure that the letter was put into the hands of Lord Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. It was this intervention that produced the instruction to General Allenby to extend every protection necessary to 'Abdu'l-Baha. Later in 1919, when Lamington was directing the Syrian Relief work from his headquarters in Damascus, he called on 'Abdu'l-Baha to receive His blessings and visited Him again to bid farewell. It was on this occasion that he received the ring of the Master.

When Shoghi Effendi arrived in England he was carrying with him Tablets from the Master to Lady Blomfield, Lord Lamington and Major Tudor-Pole which expressed the Master's wish for the education of His grandson. During the one week Shoghi Effendi stayed in London, he delivered the Master's Tablets to these individuals and secured introductions to eminent professors and orientalists at Oxford and London Universities, including Sir Denison Ross and Professor Ker. 
(Shoghi Effendi in Oxford, by Riaz Khadem, pp. 68-69)