A small community, whose members are united by their shared beliefs, characterized by their high ideals, proficient in managing their affairs and tending to their needs, and perhaps engaged in several humanitarian projects—a community such as this, prospering but at a comfortable distance from the reality experienced by the masses of humanity, can never hope to serve as a pattern for restructuring the whole of society.
(Universal House of Justice, to the Continental Counsellors, 28 December 2010)
Look ye not upon the fewness of thy numbers, rather, seek ye out hearts that are pure. One consecrated soul is preferable to a thousand other souls. If a small number of people gather lovingly together, with absolute purity and sanctity, with their hearts free of the world, experiencing the emotions of the Kingdom and the powerful magnetic forces of the Divine, and being at one in their happy fellowship, that gathering will exert its influence over all the earth.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 80-81)
Over 3,500 youth are now engaged to some degree with the processes of growth in the country. Of these, at least 1,200 are involved in the institute process, with over half that number having arisen as active servants of the Cause, hosting devotional gatherings, teaching children’s classes, animating junior youth groups and serving as tutors. The junior youth programme has almost doubled in size, growing from 190 junior youth groups involving 1140 participants of whom 730 were friends of the Faith at the Plan’s outset, to a current 295 junior youth groups, with 2190 participants of whom 1800 are from the wider community. Indeed, it was this increase that in turn propelled the work with youth, ensuring that the necessary resources for the spiritual education of this population were available. As we think of the almost 8,000 youth, junior youth and children who are engaged in studying and applying the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, our thoughts must also turn to their families, their teachers, their friends, who are all coming under its transforming influence.
(NSA – to the Bahá’ís of Canada for the Unit Convention, January 31, 2015)
The Bahá’í Faith is the only religion to have grown faster in every United Nations region over the past 100 years than the general population; Bahá’í was thus the fastest-growing religion between 1910 and 2010, growing at least twice as fast as the population of almost every UN region.
(The World’s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demograph, p. 59)
The House of Justice has every confidence in the ability of your institution to reawaken this enthusiastic eagerness for service throughout your community in order to raise expansion and consolidation to unprecedented levels. It is evident that once you are able to learn to replicate the pattern of intensive action within your most advanced clusters in the hundreds of other clusters where a program of growth has been initiated, it will be possible to engage tens, and eventually hundreds of thousands of individuals in a vibrant, meaningful, and distinctive pattern of Bahá’í community life, open to all.
(Universal House of Justice, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, 5 January 2015)
There are approximately 1800 core activities in Canada that engage 12,000 participants, nearly 5,000 of whom are from the wider community, an increase of some 2,500 participants — 1,500 from the wider community — since the beginning of the Plan. Three clusters have more than 100 core activities, and three more between 50-100 core activities. Five clusters have over 500 participants in these activities, and another six between 250-500.
(NSA of Canada, Annual Report, Ridvan 2015)
Though that goal is far from being fulfilled, the light already blazes intensely in many a region. In some countries it shines in every cluster. In the land where that inextinguishable light was first ignited, it burns bright despite those who would snuff it out. In diverse nations it achieves a steady glow across whole neighborhoods and villages, as candle after candle in heart after heart is lighted by the Hand of Providence; it illuminates thoughtful conversation at every level of human interaction; it casts its beams upon a myriad initiatives taken to promote the well-being of a people. And in every instance it radiates from a faithful believer, a vibrant community, a loving Spiritual Assembly—each a beacon of light against the gloom.
(Universal House of Justice, Ridván Message 2011)
We wish to address some additional words to those of you in whose surroundings marked progress is yet to occur and who long for change. Have hope. It will not always be so. Is not the history of our Faith filled with accounts of inauspicious beginnings but marvellous results? How many times have the deeds of a few believers—young or old—or of a single family, or even of a lone soul, when confirmed by the power of divine assistance, succeeded in cultivating vibrant communities in seemingly inhospitable climes? Do not imagine that your own case is inherently any different.
(Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Message 2015)
What is essential for every National Assembly to acknowledge in this connection is that, if mutual love and support within the community, important as it is, becomes the only focus, a stagnant environment engendered by an insular mentality will develop.
(Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, April 2013)