November 6, 2010

Jan. 1960: Horace Holley Left U.S. for Holy Land after Thirty-Six Years Service on U.S. National Spiritual Assembly

On March 12, 1923, the beloved Guardian addressed a letter to the Baha'is throughout America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, and Australia emphasizing the responsibility of believers in spreading the Teachings and in establishing local assemblies in all cities having nine or more adult Baha'is. In the same letter the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly was presented in detail.

During Ridvan of that year there were elected for the first time local and national institutions having the functions of spiritual assemblies as we now recognize them in East and West. Horace Holley was elected a member of the New York Local Spiritual Assembly and of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada that year. He has continued his services on the National Spiritual Assembly for thirty-six years without interruption, and has been its secretary since 1924. He has therefore been an active participant in the evolution of the Baha'i community throughout all its stages of administrative development following the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha, including the two seven-year teaching plans formulated by the Guardian, the celebration of tine Centenary of the Bab, the celebration of the Centenary of Baha'u'llah, and the Guardian's World Crusade up to the present hour.

Before the rise of the administrative institutions, Horace Holley attended Baha'i classes in Paris and in New York, traveled and lectured in many cities, and wrote books and articles to promote the Faith.

As a Hand of the Cause he participated in the intercontinental conferences in 1953 held in Kampala, Chicago, Stockholm, and New Delhi. By the Guardian's appointment, he acted as treasurer of the Continental Fund of the Baha'is of the Western Hemisphere. When Latin American national Baha'i assemblies were established, he represented the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States at conventions held in Panama and Lima, Peru.

By editing ‘Baha'i Administration’, ‘Baha'i Procedure’, ‘Baha'i World Faith’, and other works, Mr. Holley made the Teachings available to Baha'is and students of the writings. He also founded BAHA'I NEWS and ‘The Baha'I World’, and served as co-editor of World Order Magazine.

The Guardian's answers to questions addressed to him by Horace Holley, as secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly, have been the exposition of Baha'i administrative principles which have been the guidance of local and national assemblies throughout their formative years.

The profound sense of loss which the entire American Baha'i community feels as Horace Holley leaves our midst to serve as one of the Hands of the Cause residing permanently in the Holy Land is mitigated by our knowledge and assurance that his wisdom, his inspiration, and his unique experience as a chief champion-builder of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah will find their highest expression at our World Center during the remaining crucial years of the Ten-Year World Crusade.

The American Baha'i community will also greatly miss Mrs. Doris Holley, who has served the Faith as a member of many important committees, but she is best known as the very gracious hostess of the National Hazirat'ul-Quds since 1924.

On December 19 the National Assembly was host to a farewell gathering for Mr. and Mrs. Holley in the Foundation Hall of the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. Letters of invitation were sent to all Baha'I communities in the United States.
-U.S. National Spiritual Assembly (Baha’i News, January 1960)