NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY
BAHÁ'ÍS OF THE UNITED STATES
536 SHERIDAN ROAD, WILMETTE, ILLINOIS 60091-2849 • (847) 733-3537• EMAIL: email@example.com
December 16, 2008To all Local Spiritual AssembliesDearly loved Friends,New guidance from the Universal House of Justice has recently beenreceived that we hasten to share with you, mindful of its significantimplications for the Nineteen Day Feasts you conduct in accordancewith your sacred responsibilities. The guidance concerns the presence ofnon-Bahá'ís at Feasts. As both the beloved Guardian and the House of Justice have numerous times pointed out, the Feast is for Bahá'ís only,and non-Bahá'ís should not be invited to attend any portion of it. Ourunderstanding has for some time been that if a non-Bahá'í should appearat the Feast, however, he or she was to be welcomed and invited toparticipate in its spiritual and social portions, while the administrativeportion was to be suspended. The new guidance we have received fromthe House of Justice makes it clear that the administrative portion cannow be modified to accommodate the attendance of non-Bahá'ís ratherthan being postponed. The House of Justice has further specified that:
The sharing of local and national news and information aboutsocial events, as well as consultation on topics of general interest,such as expansion and the multiplication of core activities, serviceprojects, the fund, and so on, can continue as usual, whilediscussion of sensitive or problematic issues can be set aside foranother occasion when the friends can express themselves freelywithout being inhibited by the presence of guests.
The definition of what constitutes “sensitive or problematic issues,”beyond the general exceptions specified above, is left to the localAssembly.The House of Justice has also stated that a similar approach can be takenwhen a family with some members who are not Bahá'ís hosts a Feast intheir home. The local Assembly is encouraged to consult with thesefamilies to “find a satisfactory way to resolve each situation that arises”and “apply the requisites of hospitality and love, on the one hand, andthose of confidentiality and unfettered discussion on important topics,on the other.”