January 28, 2019

Worldwide emergence of the Faith from obscurity during 1979-1984

The emergence from obscurity, which has been so marked a feature of the Cause of God during the first five years of the Seven Year Plan [1979-1986], has been attended by changes, both external and internal, affecting the Baha'i world community.  Externally, there are signs of a crystallization of a public image of the Cause -- largely uninformed, however friendly -- while internally growing maturity and confidence are indicated by increased administrative ability, a desire for Baha'i communities to render service to the larger body of mankind and a deepening understanding of the relevance of the divine Message to modern problems. Both these aspects of change must be taken into consideration as we enter the third and final phase of the Seven Year Plan. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1984; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1983-1986’)

January 21, 2019

1983: The Universal House of Justice announces the establishment of an Office of Social and Economic Development at the World Centre

…after all the years of constant teaching activity, the Community of the Greatest Name has grown to the stage at which the processes of this development must be incorporated into its regular pursuits; particularly is action compelled by the expansion of the Faith in Third World countries where the vast majority of its adherents reside. The steps to be taken must necessarily begin in the Baha'i Community itself, with the friends endeavouring, through their application of spiritual principles, their rectitude of conduct and the practice of the art of consultation, to uplift themselves and thus become self-sufficient and self-reliant.  Moreover, these exertions will conduce to the preservation of human honour so desired by Baha'u'llah. In the process and as a consequence, the friends will undoubtedly extend the benefits of their efforts to society as a whole, until all mankind achieves the progress intended by the Lord of the Age.

It is indeed propitious that systematic attention be given to this vital sphere of Baha'i endeavour. We are happy, therefore, to announce the establishment at the World Centre of the Office of Social and Economic Development, which is to assist the Universal House of Justice to promote and co-ordinate the activities of the friends throughout the world in this new field.

The International Teaching Centre and, through it, the Continental Boards of Counsellors are poised for the special responsibilities which devolve upon them to be alert to possibilities for extending the development of social and economic life both within and outside the Baha'i Community, and to advise and encourage the Assemblies and friends in their strivings. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 20 October 1983; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

January 15, 2019

1951: First time women were elected to Baha'i Assemblies in Egypt

Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Alexandria, Egypt
Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Cairo, Egypt
(The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

January 10, 2019

First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Central America, Mexico and the Antilles, elected April 1951

Seated, left to right: Dr. David Escalante (San Salvador), James V. Facey (Colon), Miss Elena Marsella (Ciudad Trujillo), Artemus Lamb (San Jose). Standing, left to right: Mrs. Louise Caswell (Tegucigalpa), Zenayda Jurado C. (Mexico City), Mrs. Cora H. Oliver (Colon), Sra. Raquel J. Francois de Constante (Panama City), Natalia A. Chavez (Tegucigalpa) 
(The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

January 6, 2019

1868: Siyah-Chal (the Black Pit) was filled-in and a center for royal mourning for Imam Husayn was built over it.

Siyah-Chall’s original corridor leading to the entrance. The dungeon was filled-in in 1868 and the Takyih Dowlat, a canvas-covered center for royal mourning for Imam Husayn, was built over it. (Baha’i News, March 1976)
A reproduction of a painting of the Takyih Dowlat showing a ceremony for Imam Husayn. The ground floor accommodated 4,000 women. The surrounding rooms were for the Shah, his family, and dignitaries. (Baha’i News, March 1976)
The site [Takyih Dowlat] was used in 1925 for a convocation of national representatives (Majlis-i-Mu’assisan) at which the fall of the Qajar dynasty was announced. The officers of that historic gathering are shown in this photo. A Baha'i, 'Izzatu'llah Bakhshayish, shown fifth from left in front row, was the chief stenographer recording the event. Thus the downfall of the Qajar dynasty was announced through the will of the promised Husayn (Baha'u'llah) at the very site of His prison. It was known among the believers at the time that the Exalted Báb had predicted that the Qajar dynasty would fall 1,000 (lunar) months from time of His Revelation. However, research must be made to find the source. 
(Baha’i News, March 1976)