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by Mark Towfiq
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Pages 72-73


Hail with glad, grateful heart the historic Assembly of the elected representatives of the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the Western Hemisphere participating in the first All-America Convention gathered in the vicinity of the first Bahá'í Center of the Western World beneath the dome of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the West to commemorate alike the Anniversary of the founding of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and the Birth of `Abdu'l-Bahá, the Anniversary of its establishment in the Occident and to celebrate the completion of the exterior ornamentation of the most hallowed House of Worship in the entire Bahá'í world. I recall with profound emotion on this solemn, auspicious occasion the milestones in the progress of the community whose rise constitutes one of the noblest episodes in the history of the First Bahá'í Century. Called into being through the operation of the will of the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, energized at the hour of its birth by dynamic spirit communicated to it by the band of first returning pilgrims, purged in its infancy by fiery tests involving the defection of its acknowledged founder, nursed through the dispatch of unnumbered Tablets by the vigilant Master, as well as by the successive messengers designed to support its infant strength, launched upon its rapid career through series of institutional acts and missionary journeys signalizing the first stirrings of its community life, infinitely enriched by priceless benefits conferred upon its members in the course of `Abdu'l-Bahá's sojourn in their midst, invested with a unique mission through the revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, firmly knit through processes proclaiming the emergence of the Divinely appointed Administrative Order, immortalized through the signal acts of its illustrious member who succeeded in winning the allegiance of royalty to its cause, consummating its record of achievements through total victory of the Seven Year Plan thereby sealing the triumph of the first stage in the Mission bestowed by `Abdu'l-Bahá, this repeatedly blessed, much envied community deserves to be acclaimed the Torchbearer of the civilization, the foundations of which the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is destined unassailably to establish in the course of the Second Bahá'í Century. I am moved to pay a well deserved tribute at this great turning point in the career of so privileged a community to the gallant band of its apostolic founders whose deeds heralded the dawn of the Day of the Covenant in the West, to its intrepid pioneers who labored to enlarge the bounds of the Faith in the five continents, to its indefatigable administrators whose hands reared the fabric of the Administrative Order, to its heroic martyrs who followed in the footsteps of the Dawn-Breakers of the heroic age, to its itinerant teachers who with written and spoken word pleaded its cause and repulsed the attacks of its adversaries, to its munificent supporters whose liberality accelerated the expansion of its manifold activities, and last but not least to the mass of its stout-hearted, self-denying members whose strenuous, ceaseless, concerted efforts so decisively contributed to the consolidation and broadening of its foundations. I desire to direct a particular appeal to the Latin American representatives participating in the Centennial Convention to deliberate on measures to reinforce the ties binding them to their Sister Community, unitedly devise means for the inauguration of teaching campaigns in their respective Republics, the dissemination of Bahá'í literature, the multiplication of Bahá'í administrative centers as preliminary steps in the formation of Bahá'í National Assemblies, and lend impetus to the prosecution of any enterprise launched to carry still further the Plan conceived by `Abdu'l-Bahá for the American Bahá'í Community.

May 15, 1944