First Steps Toward Building Capacity for the Nine Year Plan Conferences

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16 November 2021 / 14 Qudrat (Power) 178 B.E.

Dearest Friends,

The time to begin building capacity for the coming Nine Year Plan Conferences has arrived.

During the past cycle, the Council has noted increased attention to preparations for the centenary celebrations for the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Day of the Covenant. Communities across the region have initiated a variety of creative activities to commemorate these special anniversaries. The Universal House of Justice also refers to the centenary celebrations that will be occurring simultaneously in the Holy Land as the first in a sequence of events leading to the Nine Year Plan Conferences.

Viewed in this light, the commemorative celebrations associated with the Beloved Master are directly connected to the world-shaping global conferences coming early next year.

As we all begin to envision the coming series of Nine Year Plan Conferences, please note that the three protagonists identified in recent plans (individuals, institutions and the community) each have a major role in preparing for the conferences.

While the details of the conferences will not be finalized until after the Nine Year Plan Message has been released towards the end of this Gregorian year or the beginning of the next, there are many steps each protagonist can immediately take to strengthen basic capacities that currently exist within each community. These capacities are the same capacities that are necessary to hold successful devotional gatherings, Holy Day celebrations and the centenary commemorations. A few capacities are mentioned below.

The capacities:

  • for meaningful conversation
  • to invite and attract new people to activities, particularly devotional meetings and institute courses 
  • to directly share the lives and teachings of the Central Figures of the Faith 
  • to directly teach the Faith
  • to create inspiring devotional spaces
  • of coordination and organization
  • for institutional collaboration
  • for collective action 

As part of the preparation for the Conferences, the Council requests that Local Spiritual Assemblies, Area Teaching Committees, registered Bahá’í Groups, groups of friends (tutors, study circle participants, teaching teams, etc.) create spaces where friends can study the September 15, 2021 message from the Universal House of Justice, and work on continuing to develop some of these basic capacities. In these spaces friends may begin thinking about who they will invite and how they will describe the conferences in a way that captures the spirit of the conferences and their world-embracing aims. What is the next step that is needed to accompany each soul on their spiritual journey? The Council has devoted a portion of the regional website to helping the entire Bahá’í community and their friends gain a deeper understanding of the conferences and learn details about the conferences as they develop. Please use this Website Page [1] as a study aide and a guide for developing activities that will lead up to the conferences.

The conversations leading to the conferences and the conferences themselves may well be the most spiritually significant teaching effort any of us have yet experienced. “Of all the gifts of God, the Greatest is the Gift of Teaching.” [2] The greatest gift that we can give humanity at this critical time in the development of the world civilization envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh is to teach the Cause of God. His sacred teachings are the healing balm prescribed by the Divine Physician to cure every illness afflicting our human family. God willing, large numbers of people who attend the conferences will be people who do not currently know about the Faith and will be energized to join in fulfilling the goals of the coming Nine Year Plan.

With Loving Regards,

Regional Bahá’í Council of the Midwestern States

[2] Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, 1974 edition p. 196