A Day for Very Great Things - The Lives of Howard Colby Ives and Mabel Rice-Wray Ives
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‘This is a Day for very great things.’ – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to Howard Colby Ives
Howard Colby Ives’s book Portals to Freedom has been loved for over eight decades by its many readers who have been touched by its pen portraits of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. But not many know the story of his wife Mabel Rice-Wray Ives, whose dedication to the Bahá’í Faith made her a powerhouse in her own right, developing a method of public speaking that proved highly successful. Together, they formed a powerful team, giving up house and home for 20 years to travel across the United States and Canada in their desire to be of service to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. They taught the Bahá’í Faith in at least 74 communities in 26 states and three Canadian provinces, frequently sent to different areas by the National Teaching Committee, and although they missed each other terribly they never refused these requests.
Most of this book is based on the over 900 letters sent by Howard and Mabel Ives or those received by them, including 17 Tablets from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and 28 letters from Shoghi Effendi, many published here for the first time. Their letters to one another are full of the details of their hopes and their struggles, the places they went and the people they met. When they were apart for any length of time – which was often – they would write almost daily to each other. What unfolds, apart from the details of their activities, is the deeply loving relationship between them, the encouragement and advice they offered one another, and their homey conversations about their living situations, money (always in short supply), and expressions of hope for the next time they would be together. Woven brightly throughout this personal correspondence between husband and wife is the humility of their service, their utter devotion to the Cause they strove to serve with every breath, and their commitment to continually growing spiritually along with daily examples of their constant sacrifices. They did, indeed, accomplish ‘very great things’.
About the Authors
Earl Redman is a geologist who worked in Alaska and Chile for two decades. One job was for the US Bureau of Mines, studying mineral deposits in the Juneau Gold Belt, Alaska. In 1999 he moved with his wife Sharon to Ireland, where he has researched and written multiple books, exploring the gold mines of the stories included in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, the two volumes of Shoghi Effendi Through the Pilgrim’s Eye, a book on the Knights of Bahá’u’lláh, two volumes of Visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá about the pilgrims who came to the Holy Land after His Western journeys, co-authored a biography of Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander and wrote a chapter in The Baha'i Community of the British Isles.
Erica Toussaint, a great-granddaughter of Howard Colby Ives, was raised in a Bahá’í home characterized by a deep study of the Writings of the Faith with practical application – a style handed down through the generations from Howard (and mentioned in the book). Their family time was filled with stories of the early believers and had a constant focus on service to the Bahá’í Cause,
She has served for decades in many forms of the Bahá’í administration, including as an Auxiliary Board member, as a member of a number of Local Spiritual Assemblies, and as both a homefront pioneer and a pioneer to Grenada in the West Indies in the early1980s. She served on the first Regional Báhá’í Council of the Western States as its Chair, on the US National Spiritual Assembly for 15 years, and most recently for six years on the Regional Báhá’í Council of the Northwestern states as its secretary.
Erica has taught in every seasonal school (summer schools) in the United States as well as some in Canada, Alaska, and the Falkland Islands and has been a speaker at many national conferences in the United States. She has been well-known for many decades for engagement with youth and young adults and as a story-teller, as well as for weekend study sessions aimed at strengthening unity in the community and a workshop titled, ‘Characterized by an Abiding Sense of Joy’. Her home is often filled with friends sharing in fellowship, music, study and lively conversations about the Bahá’í Faith.
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Publication year: 2023
Dimensions: 216mm x 140mm