Letter from the South Island Regional Bahá’í Council
Tēnā koutou, te whānau Bahá’í
We are now almost midway between the two bicentenaries—“the period during which the greatest share of the effort needed to fulfil the objectives of the Five Year Plan [is] required”. With this in mind the Council wishes to encourage you all to support the regional goal of holding devotional gatherings in every Bahá’í home. The House of Justice states that “in their acts of service, especially in their regular devotional gatherings, Bahá’ís everywhere are laying the spiritual foundations of future Houses of Worship”. Devotional gatherings are something every one of us can hold. They may be for members of our own household; we may wish to invite our neighbours, our work colleagues. Devotional gatherings may be large or small, elaborate or simple. However we wish to conduct our own devotional gatherings, they should be distinguished from our normal daily prayers by the characteristic of being planned and scheduled, regardless of whether others join us.
When Counsellor Tessa Scrine met with the Canterbury friends on Sunday 2 September at the weekly devotional gathering at the Bahá’í Centre, she shared several examples of devotional gatherings.
1. The one day that the Counsellor is invariably at home is Wednesday. She decided to open her home to friends and neighbours every Wednesday morning for devotions and breakfast before they all rush off to work. Sometimes no-one comes and sometimes many friends attend.
2. A friend who works at the National Gallery had invited a number of his colleagues to the bicentenary celebrations. Following the celebrations he had not known how to build on this connection with his colleagues. Finally, with some uncertainty he decided to start monthly devotional gatherings at his work place and has been surprised at the enthusiastic participation of his colleagues, who come from a variety of spiritual disciplines.
3. A group of young mothers meet every week at the local park where they walk their little ones in strollers. When the children fall asleep they are then able to sit together and share devotions.
Please see the map of the South Island showing the regional goals we have promised the House of Justice to fulfil by the end of the Five Year Plan. You will also see that we are calling for pioneers to several communities around the South Island. If you are interested in home front pioneering please contact the Council secretary.
Ngā mihi nui
South Island Regional Bahá’í Council
 Message of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies dated 1 June 2018.
 Message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, Ridván 2018.
Featured photo: This photo was taken on Saturday 4 August at the Christchurch Bahá'í Centre and shows the first meeting of Counsellor Tessa Scrine with representatives of the Canterbury cluster agencies: Pascale Hennessey and baby Kye - Area Teaching Committee secretary, Mirabelle Enlow - Junior Youth Coordinator, Shahrzad MacDonald with Bayan and Nour - Study Circle Coordinator.