Dear friends, the Office of the Treasurer sends annual materials to the community at Unit Convention. Since Unit Conventions will not be held in-person due to the global pandemic, we would like to share a special edition of the Bahá’í Fund Bulletin, featuring announcements and updates related to the Fund and the efforts it supports.
Office of the Treasurer Webinars
The Fund: A Sacred Obligation
Recent months have seen further advancements in the building project for the new National Bahá’í Archives facility. A professional engineering firm with extensive experience in archival facilities has been working, in consultation with the Bahá’í National Center’s architect, on a design for the new building’s structure and equipment. The existing building dates from the early 20th century and most of its structure will need to be demolished and replaced with stronger, higher-quality materials enclosing a larger space. The front of the building, which was originally of carved limestone but had been partly replaced with brick in the 1960s, will be returned to a more dignified and historically appropriate appearance. The climate control, fire suppression and other technical systems in the building will be the best available for an archives, and engineered for sustainability and efficiency.
A rendering of the restored façade and other design elements was recently shown to the Zoning Board of Wilmette, which approved several requested variances and forwarded the matter to the Village Board of Trustees. The building’s storage system will consist of custom-designed mobile compact shelving units to maximize efficiency, safety and convenience. These are expected to hold all the archives that are currently stored in our current quarters in the House of Worship, as well as materials we are currently storing offsite. As with so many projects, the pandemic and associated difficulties have delayed part of the work, but the project is on track and construction is hoped to be underway this year.
Restoration in the House of Worship
Inside the House of Worship in Wilmette, IL, visitors will find that the chairs have been refurbished, making the space even more beautiful and welcoming. Note that the House of Worship and Welcome Center are open, but will now require visitors to wear masks if they enter the buildings.
The Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Nearly ten years have passed since the launching of the Online Contribution System (OCS) to the American Bahá’í community. OCS has become a viable, cost-efficient tool assisting members of our community in developing a direct relationship with all the funds of the Faith. Within those ten years, we continued to learn from the user community their growing needs and made frequent updates to the system. We are excited to share that a complete revamping of the OCS has launched! This new version has many of the same features the friends have come to know and expect; however, in addition, it features an updated interface, including a dashboard.
Robert C. Turner Resting Place
Work is underway in creating a befitting resting place memorial for Mr. Robert C. Turner, the first Black Bahá’í in the West and a Disciple of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for America, whom the Master addressed as, “O thou who art pure in heart, sanctified in spirit, peerless in character, beauteous in face!” A fund has been created for this project, and friends can contribute using the drop-down menu on the Online Contribution System or by sending a check earmarked for the project to the Burlingame Local Spiritual Assembly at 1210 Bellevue Ave Apt. 207, Burlingame, CA 94010-4030
Any excess of funds received for the monument will be directed to the important work of teaching efforts focused on reaching out to African American populations. For more information, visit: https://www.robertturner.org/
Finding Fund Resources on Bahá'í.us
On the home page of Bahá'í.us, Fund resources are easily found. A thermometer chart shows the current National Fund contributions in relation to the annual goal, and the Writing of a Will and Testament booklet is accessible with one click.
Stay Up-to-Date with the Office of the Treasurer
At the Midpoint
The Office of the Treasurer is heartened to see that, once again, the American Bahá’í community is contributing more than ever before with more of the friends contributing. The fact that this trend is continuing in the midst of another year marked by a pandemic and financial insecurity is all the more reason to celebrate this wonderful achievement.
As of September 6, the friends contributed more than 13% to the National Fund than the previous year at the same time. Nearly 37% more was contributed to the Regional Bahá’í Councils and Institutes for the same time period. These loving contributions support the work of the Faith at every level, from the publishing of prayer books, sacred writings and teaching materials, to the institute process taking root in thousands of clusters and in some places advancing remarkably, to the upkeep of Bahá’í properties, from educational and training centers to those associated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit nearly 110 years ago.
As we approach the two events associated with Abdu’l-Bahá, the Perfect Exemplar of Bahá'u'lláh’s teachings, the moment He passed on to the Abhá Kingdom and the day His will and testament was read, and stand at the midpoint in the final year of the first century of the Formative Age, this community can feel joy and pride in its many accomplishments on so many fronts, not least of which is the Fund.
If this community, the spiritual descendents of the Dawnbreakers, can continue this path of generous giving, the work of the Faith in America can continue unimpeded as we launch a new 9 Year Plan at the beginning of the second century of the Formative Age.
Such support, such an “outpouring of treasure”, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, “no less copious than the blood shed so lavishly in the Apostolic Age of the Faith by those who in the heart of the Asiatic continent proclaimed its birth to the world, can befit their spiritual descendants…” The time is now to contribute to this outpouring.