The Five Year Plan to which this community is now summoned is the opening campaign of these critical years. It is the third global plan embarked upon by the Army of Light in its implementation of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan, that world-encompassing program disclosed in His perspicuous Tablets and described by the Guardian of the Cause of God as the Charter for the propagation of the Faith throughout the world. It was the Guardian himself, the beloved “sign of God,” who, through his exposition and interpretation of the Revelation, through his discipline and education of the Bahá’í community and through a series of national plans assigned to the various units of that community, forged the Administrative Order of the Faith and made it an instrument for the carrying out of this great Charter, and he himself designed and launched the first global plan, the unique, brilliant and spiritually glorious Ten Year Crusade. The victories of that crusade implanted the banner of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the planet and the following Nine Year Plan reinforced and extended the bastions of the Faith and raised the number of National Spiritual Assemblies—the supporting pillars of the Universal House of Justice—to one hundred and thirteen, a number increased to one hundred and fifteen by the formation at this Riḍván of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Hong Kong and South East Arabia.
This Five Year Plan has three major objectives: preservation and consolidation of the victories won; a vast and widespread expansion of the Bahá’í community; development of the distinctive character of Bahá’í life particularly in the local communities. The achievement of these overall aims requires the accomplishment of particular tasks at the World Center of the Faith, and by national and local communities. 1
OCCASION MOST GREAT FESTIVAL WE CONTEMPLATE WITH THANKFUL HEARTS ACHIEVEMENTS FIRST YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN ELECTION THIS RIḌVÁN FIVE NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES FOUR IN AFRICA ONE IN ASIA. DESPITE WORSENING PLIGHT MORIBUND CIVILIZATION EVIDENCES GATHERING CLOUDS WIDESPREAD OPPOSITION DIVINE MESSAGE BELIEVERS THROUGHOUT WORLD FORGING AHEAD ACCOMPLISHMENT GOALS. THREE HUNDRED EIGHTY-SIX PIONEERS ALREADY SETTLED ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO PREPARING PROCEED POSTS. NEW WORLDWIDE TRAVEL TEACHING PROGRAM DESIGNED BY INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER NOW BEING LAUNCHED BY NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES IN CONSULTATION COUNSELORS. BELOVED HANDS CAUSE ADVANCING VANGUARD ARMY LIGHT LENDING CONSTANT LOVING GUIDANCE ENCOURAGEMENT PROTECTION FRIENDS LABORING DIVINE VINEYARD. WORLD CENTER FAITH RICHLY BLESSED THROUGH ACQUISITION HOLY HOUSE MASTER BIRTHPLACE SHOGHI EFFENDI WITHIN WALLS ‘AKKÁ WILL EARLY WITNESS ON CONSECRATED SOIL SLOPES MOUNT CARMEL INITIATION EXCAVATION FOUNDATIONS PERMANENT SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AND IN ITALY SIGNATURE CONTRACT MARBLE REQUIRED MAJESTIC EDIFICE. AT THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE HUMAN HISTORY THREE MAJOR OBJECTIVES PLAN AND ITS SPECIFIC GOALS PRESENT DISTINCT INSISTENT CHALLENGE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL BAHÁ’Í ADULT YOUTH CHILD TO EACH BAHÁ’Í FAMILY TO EACH LOCAL COMMUNITY AND ABOVE ALL TO EACH LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY WHOSE DEVELOPMENT IS VITAL SUCCESS FIVE YEAR PLAN AND PROGRESSIVE UNFOLDMENT DIVINELY ORDAINED BAHÁ’Í SOCIETY. MAY REMAINING THREE HUNDRED NINETY-FIVE PIONEERS SPEEDILY ARISE AND ARMY VOLUNTEERS RESPOND NEWLY LAUNCHED TRAVEL TEACHING PROGRAM. NATIONAL LOCAL ASSEMBLIES INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS URGED CONTRIBUTE UNSTINTINGLY TIME EFFORT OUTPOURING MATERIAL RESOURCES SUPPORT EVERY PHASE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN COMING YEAR. APPEAL BELIEVERS EVERY LAND JOIN US PRAYERS SUPPLICATION BLESSED BEAUTY GUIDE SUSTAIN PROTECT HIS DEVOTED FOLLOWERS IN THEIR DEDICATED EFFORTS PURIFY THEIR SOULS RAISE HIS BANNER SERVE HIS CAUSE. 2
ANNOUNCE DELEGATES ASSEMBLED NATIONAL CONVENTIONS GLAD TIDINGS COMPLETION EXCAVATION MOUNT CARMEL PREPARATORY RAISING MAJESTIC CENTER LEGISLATION GOD’S FAITH THAT SACRED SPOT, SIGNATURE ITALY FIVE AND HALF MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT FOR SUPPLYING OVER TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED CUBIC METERS PENTELIKON MARBLE FROM GREECE AND FASHIONING THEREFROM THE COLUMNS FACINGS ORNAMENTATION BEFITTING MONUMENTAL BUILDING. DEEPLY MOVED ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE BELIEVERS ALL PARTS WORLD THIS CHALLENGING GLORIOUS TASK. DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTER PARALLELED FURTHER UNFOLDMENT ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE CONTINENTAL NATIONAL LEVELS THROUGH RAISING NUMBER CONTINENTAL COUNSELORS TO SIXTY-ONE BY APPOINTMENT THELMA KHELGHATI WESTERN AFRICA, WILLIAM MASEHLA SOUTHERN AFRICA, BURHÁNI’D-DÍN AFSHÍN SOUTH CENTRAL ASIA, HIDEYA SUZUKI NORTHEASTERN ASIA, OWEN BATTRICK AUSTRALASIA AND ADIB TAHERZADEH EUROPE, AUTHORIZATION BOARDS COUNSELORS APPOINT NINETY MORE MEMBERS AUXILIARY BOARDS, AND CALL FOR ELECTION AT RIḌVÁN 1977 OF SEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES: TWO IN AFRICA, MALI WITH ITS SEAT IN BAMAKO AND UPPER VOLTA WITH ITS SEAT IN OUAGADOUGOU, TWO IN THE AMERICAS, THE FRENCH ANTILLES WITH ITS SEAT IN POINT-À-PITRE AND SURINAM AND FRENCH GUIANA WITH ITS SEAT IN PARAMARIBO, ONE IN EUROPE, GREECE WITH ITS SEAT IN ATHENS, AND TWO IN THE PACIFIC, THE NEW HEBRIDES WITH ITS SEAT IN PORT VILA AND THE MARSHALL ISLANDS WITH ITS SEAT IN MAJURO, THE LATTER BEING SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT OF PLAN. NUMBER NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES THUS RAISED ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR FOLLOWING DISSOLUTION ACCOUNT LOCAL RESTRICTIONS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EQUATORIAL GUINEA NEPAL. OF NINE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE PIONEERS CALLED FOR SPECIFIC POSTS FOUR HUNDRED NINETY-TWO ALREADY SETTLED. ALSO FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-SEVEN OTHER PIONEERS PROCEEDED GOAL COUNTRIES. GREAT OUTFLOW INTERNATIONAL TRAVELING TEACHERS RECORDED. MOVED PAY TRIBUTE INDEFATIGABLE SERVICES HANDS CAUSE GOD PAST YEAR IN PROMOTING ABOVE SUCCESSES AND IN FIELDS TEACHING PROTECTION PRESERVATION PROCLAMATION AND LITERATURE FAITH AS WELL AS SIGNAL SERVICES INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER CONSTITUTING GREAT ACCESSION STRENGTH WORLD CENTER RELIEF BURDENS RESTING UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. MIDDLE YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN NOW OPENING WILL WITNESS GATHERING FOLLOWERS BAHÁ’U’LLÁH EIGHT INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CONFERENCES DESIGNED GENERATE TREMENDOUS IMPETUS PROGRESS PLAN ACCOMPLISHMENT WHOSE GOALS NOW LAGGING SERIOUSLY BEHIND. MOST PRESSING NEED FAITH THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE ITS MISSION REDEEM MANKIND IS FOR EVERY BELIEVER ALL ASSEMBLIES NATIONAL LOCAL CONCENTRATE ATTAINMENT GOALS PLACED BEFORE BAHÁ’Í WORLD, PROMOTE PROCESS ENTRY BY TROOPS, ACHIEVE VAST INCREASE SIZE COMMUNITY, INCREASE NUMBER STEADFAST SELF-SACRIFICING BELIEVERS DEDICATED CONFORM EVERY ASPECT THEIR LIVES HIGH STANDARDS SET SACRED TEXTS. THE FIELD IS VAST THE TIME SHORT THE LABORERS LAMENTABLY FEW BUT ON THE EFFORTS WE FOLLOWERS OF THE BLESSED BEAUTY NOW EXERT, ON THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE SUCCESSFULLY AND SPEEDILY PROCLAIM AND TEACH HIS MESSAGE TO OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS, DEPENDS IN GREAT MEASURE THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY IN THE DECADES IMMEDIATELY AHEAD. 3
24 March 1977 Message to All National Spiritual Assemblies:
REJOICE OUTSTANDING EVENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS MARKING MID YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN: PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH SELECTION WRITINGS BLESSED BÁB OPENING TO EYES WESTERN FOLLOWERS FAITH A PRICELESS TREASURY HIS IMMORTAL UTTERANCES, A BOUNTY WHICH CANNOT FAIL DRAW HEARTS EVER NEARER YOUTHFUL MARTYR-PROPHET; SUCCESSFUL HOLDING EIGHT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES, BLAZONING NAME CAUSE GOD BEFORE A RECEPTIVE PUBLIC, KNITTING MORE CLOSELY TIES LINKING FRIENDS ALL LANDS, RESULTING UPSURGE INTENSE ACTIVITY TEACHING PIONEERING, CONFERRING AWARENESS URGENT CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY GOALS PLAN THIS CRITICAL PERIOD; PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT VISIT TO RESTING-PLACE BELOVED GUARDIAN BY FIRST REIGNING MONARCH TO ACCEPT FAITH BAHÁ’U’LLÁH; DEPARTURE FORMER TENANTS HOUSE ‘ABDU’LLÁH PÁSHÁ ENABLING FAITH OBTAIN POSSESSION RECENTLY PURCHASED HOLY PLACE INITIATE PROCESS RESTORATION PREPARATION EVENTUAL OPENING TO VISITS BY PILGRIMS; ARRIVAL HAIFA FIRST FOUR CONSIGNMENTS MARBLE AND INITIATION ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE MOUNT CARMEL; APPOINTMENT THREE ADDITIONAL COUNSELORS NORTH CENTRAL AMERICA AUSTRALASIA; ATTAINMENT GOAL SETTLEMENT MIDWAY POINT PLAN MAJORITY PIONEERS CALLED FOR DURING FIRST PHASE ACCOMPANIED GREAT OUTFLOW INTERNATIONAL TRAVELING TEACHERS; DRAMATIC RESURGENCE TEACHING WORK CRADLE FAITH BY INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS UNDER LOCAL PLANS; FINALLY, ELECTION THIS RIḌVÁN SIX NEW PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE, NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES OF UPPER VOLTA IN AFRICA, OF THE FRENCH ANTILLES IN THE CARIBBEAN, OF SURINAM AND FRENCH GUIANA IN SOUTH AMERICA, OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS AND OF THE NEW HEBRIDES IN PACIFIC OCEAN, AND OF GREECE IN EUROPE, RAISING TOTAL NUMBER NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO 123 TO TAKE PART IN FOURTH ELECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE IN HOLY LAND DURING RIḌVÁN 1978. 4
The Universal House of Justice takes great pleasure in addressing the members of National Spiritual Assemblies gathered in the Holy Land, in the presence of Hands of the Cause of God and Counselors from all continents, at this fourth International Convention, pausing with you to review the course and needs of the Five Year Plan as we cross the threshold of its final year.
The opening of the Plan witnessed the eager response of the friends, careful study made by the national institutions of the Faith of its implications and requirements, the establishment of machinery and the setting up of projects to achieve its goals, and the often arduous struggle to fulfill the first of its three major objectives—the safeguarding and consolidation of all prizes won in earlier campaigns. This phase extended in many countries over a period of several months, and in others continued as far as the midway point of the Plan.
The middle year of the Plan saw the holding of the International Conferences and those many regional and national conferences which were held concurrently and diffused far and wide the inspiration flowing from these eight major assemblages of the believers. These gatherings motivated a great acceleration of the work and helped the believers throughout the world to arrive at a new realization of the responsibility entrusted to the followers of the Most Great Name for the spiritual regeneration of their fellowmen.
We are now in the last stage of the Plan, and this Convention provides us with a welcome and auspicious hour in which to assess our progress and to direct our thoughts to the complete achievement of the goals. 5
The decline of religious and moral restraints has unleashed a fury of chaos and confusion that already bears the signs of universal anarchy. Engulfed in this maelstrom, the Bahá’í world community, pursuing with indefeasible unity and spiritual force its redemptive mission, inevitably suffers the disruption of economic, social and civil life which afflicts its fellowmen throughout the planet. It must also bear particular tribulations. The violent disturbances in Persia, coinciding with the gathering in of the bountiful harvest of the Five Year Plan, have brought new and cruel hardships to our long-suffering brethren in the Cradle of our Faith and confronted the Bahá’í world community with critical challenges to its life and work. As the Bahá’í world stood poised on the brink of victory, eagerly anticipating the next stage in the unfoldment of the Master’s Divine Plan, Bahá’u’lláh’s heroic compatriots, the custodians of the Holy Places of our Faith in the land of its birth, were yet again called upon to endure the passions of brutal mobs, the looting and burning of their homes, the destruction of their means of livelihood, and physical violence and threats of death to force them to recant their faith. They, like their immortal forebears, the Dawn-Breakers, are standing steadfast in face of this new persecution and the ever-present threat of organized extermination. 6
- Universal House of Justice. “Naw-Rúz 1974 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19740321_002/1#666937505. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Riḍván 1975 – The Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19750404_001/1#440203188. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Naw-Rúz 1976 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19760318_001/1#588785373. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “24 March 1977 – To All National Spiritual Assemblies.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19770324_001/1#126429838. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Riḍván 1978 – To the International Bahá’í Convention | .” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19780421_001/1#685039988. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Naw-Rúz 1979 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19790321_002/1#930323345. [return]