`Abdu’l-Bahá Visits the United Kingdom
`Abdu’l-Bahá's Visit to the United Kingdom
in 1911 and 1912
“East is East, and West is West and never the twain shall meet,”1 thus begins Archdeacon Albert Wilberforce's introduction of `Abdu’l-Bahá on September 17, 1911 at St John’s Church in England. Archdeacon Wilberforce went on to say, “they can and do meet on the common ground of love and here is the proof. Look at our wonderful guest tonight who has suffered 40 years of imprisonment for the sake of humanity ... because of His message of love and unity to all peoples.”2
In 1911, `Abdu’l-Bahá begin his two year journey to the west. He travel across the Atlantic Ocean, by ship, and visited the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America. This trip helped to consolidate and encourage the nascent Baha'i groups in these areas. `Abdu’l-Bahá visited the United Kingdom twice, once in 1911 and again in 1912.3
`Abdu’l-Bahá's first visit to the United Kingdom began on September 3, 2011 when he disembarked in London. On this leg of the of his trip, he was a guest in the Cadogan Gardens home of Lady Blomfield. He visited Surrey, London, and Bristol. He spoke at the City Temple Church, located in Holborn, London, on September 10, 1911, and then, on September 17, he spoke at St. John's Church. He departed England on October 3, 1911.4
December 13, 1912, he returned to the United Kingdom. After he disembarked in Liverpool, he travel, over the following weeks, to Oxford, London, Edinburgh. Woking, and Bristol. January 21, 1913 he left the United Kingdom for Paris, and from there eventually returned to the Holy Land.5
During his travels `Abdu’l-Bahá met with people from all levels of society. He treated everyone with respect and courtesy. `Abdu’l-Bahá the example Baha'is look to in their dealings with their fellow human beings. In 1913 `Abdu’l-Bahá' returned to Palestine, and at this time he began growing grain and storing it. During the food shortage of World War I, this grain helped prevent starvation in Akka. Because of this, the British government knighted `Abdu’l-Bahá' in April of 1920. He accepted the honor; however he never took advantage of it by using it.6
"East is east, and west is west,"7
they do eventually meet,
when love is there to bridge the gap,
and someone take the time to show
that love to humanity.
A Place of Prayer and Meditation
The resting place of Shoghi Effendi, `Abdu’l-Bahá grandson, is considered a place of prayer and meditation. It is located in London, at the New Southgate Cemetery on Brunswick Park Road.8 Shoghi Effendi was the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, and translated many of the sacred scripture reveal by Baha'u'llah, and those written by `Abdu’l-Bahá into English.
Two-Hundredth Anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh's Birth
On the weekend of October 21 and 22, the Baha'is of the United Kingdom, along with the Baha'is of the rest of the world, will celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh's Birth. This is a two day celebration because the Birth of Baha'u'llah's forerunner, the Bab, is also celebrated. The celebrations of this births occur on the first and second days following the eight new moon after Naw-Ruz; therefore, in 2017 they occur on October 21 and 22.
The website of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom is http://www.bahai.org.uk/