National Assembly Message to National Teaching Conference - North and South
9 ‘Aẓamat 176 B.E.
24 May 2019
Dearly loved Friends,
Tēnā koutou katoa
With hearts overflowing with love, we welcome the friends to He Raranga Hou – National Bahá’í Teaching Conference. As you gather together, may the united, focused, and abundant energies that you each bring with you, result in fruitful outcomes that will contribute to the betterment of our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and rural communities.
It is our hope that the plans you make at this conference, formulated in the context of the current global plan of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, will serve as a productive framework within which your areas of sustained action can be carried out. If learning is “the primary mode of operation in a community, then visions, strategies, goals and methods have to be re-examined time and again.”[i]
The broad framework for understanding the Bahá’í community’s contribution to the betterment of the world arises “from a profound reflection on the appearance above the horizon of the world, in quick succession, of two Manifestations of God, and the implications for the life of humanity.”[ii] With the bicentenary of the Birth of one of these great Luminaries, the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith, to take place at the end of October this year, we have no doubt that every one of us can draw inspiration and courage from the sacrifices and “the heroism of the Báb and His followers, the stirring accounts of whose lives are sure to be revisited and retold in the coming months.”[iii]
“The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind.”[iv] Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings reflect God’s purpose for humankind in this Day, and Bahá’u’lláh has brought us a system for organising and uniting the world. The Bahá’í teachings maintain that a person must rise above certain material aspects of human nature to develop and manifest the inherent spiritual qualities that characterise his or her true self. Through service to others, humility and an attitude of learning, this higher spiritual nature is able to predominate and flourish. Through contributing to the building of more united communities, where each individual’s material and spiritual life can be productively fostered, where trust and collaboration are the mode of operating, we are all labouring to set the foundation for a world civilisation destined to yield its dazzling splendour in centuries to come.
Every individual’s contribution is precious to this process, no matter how humble. Together at this conference we will embark, in a warm spirit of collaboration, on enhancing our understanding of the purpose of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation, of the importance of weaving together a new pattern of life that combines worship, education and service, of ensuring the progress of all communities so they become more spiritually vibrant, of the special significance of the spiritual empowerment of youth and their whanau, and on an exploration of our spiritual whakapapa and destiny in Aotearoa. Through our wholehearted and sacrificial contribution to the community-building process in our country, we will witness, day by day, a greater contrast between this emerging pattern of community life and the decaying social order around us.
The National Spiritual Assembly has at least three of its members at each of the conference’s two locations, along with Counsellor Tessa Scrine in the North and Counsellor Taraz Nadarajah in the South, and this institution is with you in spirit. May you all have a wonderful time of fellowship, learning, inspiration and planning at this conference and we will pray that each of you will take away a fresh impetus to weave your loving services into the fabric of this marvellous community-building process.
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA’IS OF AOTEAROA
[i] The Universal House of Justice, The Institution of the Counsellors, p.13.
[ii] The Universal House of Justice, Message of 1 June 2018 to all National Spiritual Assemblies.
[iv] Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 212