Profile of the Bahá'í Faith in Bristol
We are the Bristol community of the Bahá'í Faith which now ranks as the second most widespread world religion, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica Book of the Year 2004. Born in 1844 in Persia it is now embraced by over 5 million in 235 countries in the world. More>>
Abdul-Baha's Visit, 1911 and 1913
The Bahá'í Faith entered Britain in 1898, and the community was privileged by the footsteps of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of Bahá'u'lláh, as part of his tour to promulgate the Bahá'í Faith in Europe. He visited five cities namely London, Bristol, Oxford, Liverpool and Edinburgh. In his visit of Bristol in 23-25 September 1911 he stayed at 17 Royal York Crescent Rd., Clifton Guest House, Clifton. More >>
Abdul-Baha's visit to Bristol in 1913 was well represented in the press. Clifton Chronicle dated 22 January 1913, for example wrote an article on a "Persian Reformer Message to Clifton", reporting of "a large number" of visitors of Abdul-Baha at the Guest House. The article stated the object of Baha'i movement as unity and the "most great peace" throughout the world. It then briefly covered the history of the Faith, mentioning Abdul-Baha, 69, as the centre of a Faith with 2,000,000 adherents. It described Abdul-Baha as "an aged man of venerable appearance, with flowing grey beard, massive brow, and large kindly eyes and striking figure". The article then moved to cite his speech on eleven principles of the Baha'i Faith such as the need for peace in this age, the basic fundamental of all religions to promote fellowship, eradication of all forms of prejudice, equality of sexes, and so on. As with most of his addresses, this speech was based on logical arguments rather than mere religious admonitions or forceful statements. Considering the developing political strains in Europe that within a year conflagrated to World War I, Abdul-Baha's speech must have been regarded timely and appropriate, his style relevant to the intellectual and critical audience of Victorian Britain.
To a representative he was reported to say: "I am most delighted and pleased with the situation of Clifton and surrounding valleys and hills. Therefore before returning to the Orient I have come here to spend one night. In reality the people of Clifton are very intelligent ... May they become the means of creating good fellowship between children of men..." (Clifton Chronicle, Vol III, No 3231, January 22, 1913).
First Bristol Spiritual Assembly
The first Local Spiritual Assembly, comprising the first collection of 9 Baha'is in the city, was elected in 1948. In response to their message to Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith, he responded with the following praising words in his own hand-writing:
Dear and Valued co-workers,
I was so pleased and grateful to receive your message, and I wish to assure you all of my loving and fervent prayers for the progress of your historic work, the extension of your activities and the realisation of every hope you cherish for the promotion of our beloved Faith. May the Almighty watch over you, sustain you in your valued endeavours, and aid you to render memorable services to His Faith and its institutions.
Your true and grateful brother
22 September 1948