To write a tribute for Mr. Ian Semple – a man so radiant and beloved – is a task which in itself an undeserved honour.
Mr. Semple was a man distinguished by both his exemplary character and his dedicated and unwavering service to the Baha’i faith from the days of his youth until his passing on the 1st of December at the age of 82.
Mr. Semple embraced the faith as a university student and went on to be elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the British Isles in 1956. He later served as an Auxiliary Board member in Europe before being elected onto the Universal House of Justice in 1963, the year of its establishment. Mr. Semple served steadfastly on the Universal House of Justice until 2005 when he was 76 years old.
In a message to the Baha’is of the world regarding the passing of Mr. Ian Semple, the Universal House of Justice writes:
Our hearts are laden with sorrow at the passing to the Abha Kingdom of our dearly loved former colleague Ian C. Semple, staunch, clear-sighted, outstanding servant of the Blessed Beauty. Having embraced the Cause of God in the prime of his youth while at university, he devoted his considerable energies, eloquent pen and keen intellect to its protection and to the promotion of its vital interests throughout the rest of his life. A distinguished record of six decades of uninterrupted labour in the Divine Vineyard included service as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles, of the Auxiliary Board for Propagation in Europe and of the International Baha’i Council, and culminated in forty-two years of membership of the Universal House of Justice from its establishment in 1963 until 2005. The shining qualities of his being, his immense courtesy, surpassing humility, purity of heart, irrepressible joy and unfailing optimism – all born of an unshakeable faith in the Word of God and its capacity to redeem humankind – endeared him to everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.
This message so beautifully puts into words those qualities possessed by Mr. Semple that touched the hearts and souls of everyone he met.
Those who had the privilege of meeting Mr. Semple will testify to his sincere love for everyone, his infinite compassion and attention to every detail to ensure that no heart may be saddened. Mr. Semple embodied the very essence of humility, servitude and obedience. Through his reverent disposition he reminded all who visited and served in the Holy land what a bounty it was to be there.Reflecting on the personage of Mr. Ian Semple, it becomes clear that he was a man who truly exemplified the admonition of Baha’u’llah; “let deeds, not words, be your adorning.”
As Baha’is around the world hold memorial gatherings in homes, centres and Houses of Worship for this precious soul, those who met him share sweet recollections of encounters with Mr. Semple – each and every experience infused with his characteristic love, courtesy, humility and certitude.
May Ian’s valiant soul receive a joyous welcome in the celestial realms above and be richly rewarded for his fealty and his exemplary dedication to duty. The Universal House of Justice
You can read more of the message from the House to the National Spiritual Assemblies on Baha’i World News Service.