Universal House of Justice
The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing body of the Baha'i Faith.. It is elected every five years National Spiritual Assemblies A National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) normally represents a country, although sometimes regions are assigned their own NSA . These assemblies are elected annually through locally elected delegates.
Regional Baha'i Councils
Regional Baha'i Councils (RBC) act under the direction of a National Spiritual Assembly and are elected by members of the local Spiritual Assemblies in their jurisdiction. They are increasingly taking on community growth and development activities, and provide guidance and structure for local communities.
Local Spiritual Assemblies
A Local Spiritual Assembly (LSA) represents a town, city, or county, and are elected annually by direct election. The Local Assemblies govern Baha'i community life at the local level, and administer the affairs of the entire community, including coordinating the Nineteen Day Feast, holy day observances, funeral services, marriage counselling and many other tasks, though these are generally done through committee appointment.
The appointed members act as individuals. While they have no authority to command or rule on matters, they are "the learned" and individuals and institutions are morally obliged to consider their opinions. These individuals inspire, encourage, enjoin, and make the community aware of relevant scripture and guidance from the central institutions. Their function is loosely defined, though their duties are divided into the two general categories of protection and propagation of the Baha'i Faith.
The International Counsellors are nine individuals appointed to the International Teaching Centre, which is a body that directly assists the Universal House of Justice at the Baha'i World Centre. They advise Baha'is at the international level and coordinate the efforts of the Continental Counsellors.
Individual Counsellors are assigned to continental boards, where they interact directly with several National Spiritual Assemblies. They often act in an informational capacity, communicating the direction and discussions at the Baha'i World Centre to national communities. They will often focus their work on one or a set of countries within their jurisdiction.
Auxiliary Boards are appointed by the Continental Counsellors to assist them on a smaller geographic scale. They work with any Local Spiritual Assemblies, Regional Councils, and individuals within their jurisdiction. There are typically two boards in a single geographical region, one responsible for protection, and one for propagation of the community Both boards report to the Continental Board that appointed them, regardless of their focus.
Auxiliary Board Members appoint "assistants" that operate on their behalf at the grassroots level. Their role is as flexible as their Auxiliary Board Member feels is appropriate.