Imagine You Are A Bahá’í

The Bahá’í Faith

The Bahá’í Community in Suffolk - its Aims and Aspirations

Baha’i Contribution to the Mayor of Ipswich’s Celebration of Community 18th November 2012

Rose’s Story Part 1 - Beccles 1995

Rose’s Story Part 2 - Beccles 2013

Khatereh  - My Life in Suffolk – Ipswich 2013


You believe in the Oneness of God,

the Oneness of humanity

and the Oneness of all religions.

You strive to establish world peace,

racial harmony and equality of the sexes.

You follow the teachings of Bahá’u’llah,

the Messenger of God for this age,

who lived in Persia (modern Iran)

during the 19th century CE.

Every morning and evening

you read Bahá’í scriptures.

You recite a daily obligatory prayer.

You try to live a moral and upright life.

You pray and consult with other Bahá’ís

at a gathering every nineteen days.

An important festival is Naw Ruz (New Year),

marking the first day of spring (March 21st).

You fast during the last month of the year.

Your fellow Bahá’ís live

in all the countries of the world,

“mixing with the followers of all religions

in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship”.

bahaisThe nine pointed star is a symbol for Bahá’ís. The letters of Bahá (glory) have a numerical value which adds up to nine and the number nine has a mystical significance. The Bahá’í scriptures recommend the erection of a nine

Taken from the Bahá’í Faith Card in the Diversity Game

baha'i temple2.tif

baha'i temple_0001.tif

The Bah’i Temple at Haifa

The Baha’i Temple
at New Delhi, India




Who are the Bahá’ís?

Bahá’ís are followers of Bahá'u'llah, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. They come from every race and background, and are to be found in every part of the world. Bahá’í is pronounced `baa-high' .


Bahá'u'llah was born in Iran in 1817. As a young man He was known as the `Father of the Poor' because he cared for the downtrodden and destitute. He stood strongly against injustice.

He was arrested because of His beliefs and put into prison. He was then sent into exile with His family, first to Baghdad, and then eventually to Akka in the Ottoman Empire (now Israel), where He died in 1892, still a prisoner.

It was while He was in prison that He became aware that God had chosen Him to bring new teachings to humankind.


His son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, who had been a prisoner with his father ever since he was a boy of nine, was given his freedom in 1908, when he was nearly seventy years old.

He spent the rest of his life travelling thousands of miles to bring his father's teachings to Europe and America. He came to Britain in 1911 and again in 1913.

Bahá'u'llah's Teachings

While He was a prisoner Bahá'u'llah wrote many books, covering all aspects of human life. They contain one central message however: that of 'unity'. He said that the human race is one family and we must live together in peace and harmony.

In particular, Bahá'u'llah teaches that there is only one God who has guided all humankind through His Messengers . These Messengers are the Great Teachers for all people. They have come at different times in history, with different names. They have brought different laws suited to the needs of the age. But their basic message has always been the same. We must therefore love and respect people of different religions.Here are some more of Bahá'u'llah's teachings.

·        Each person must search for truth.

·        We must treat everybody as a friend, even if they seem very different from ourselves. We should realise that we are all different. We should enjoy the diversity, not fight about it.

·        We should pray every day.

·        We must try always to be honest, kind and joyful.

Bahá’í Festivals

There are nine Bahá’í holy days in a year. The main ones are:

Naw-Ruz, which is the first day of the Bahá’í year, on 21 March . `Naw-Ruz' means `new day'

Three days of Ridvan celebrating the time that Bahá'u'llah spent in the Garden of Ridvan, when He told His family and followers about His Mission. The Festival of Ridvan is 21 April to 2 May. Ridvan means 'paradise'.

The Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá'u'llah on 12 November.

How Bahá’ís worship

There are no priests in the Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’ís believe that prayer is like talking to God and should be done in private. However, there are times when we come together to celebrate and worship God.

There are Bahá’í Houses of Worship on every continent, and these are open to people of all faiths to come and pray to God in their own way.

Prayers for Children

0 God! Educate these children. These children are the plants of Thine orchard, the flowers of Thy meadow, the roses of Thy garden. Let Thy rain fall upon them; let the Sun of Reality shine upon them with Thy love. Let Thy breeze refresh them in order that they may be trained, grow and develop, and appear in the utmost beauty. Thou art the Giver. Thou art the Compassionate.


0 Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wondrous signs of Thy greatness. 0 God! Protect these children, graciously assist them to be educated and enable them to render service to the world of humanity. 0 God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.

Thou art the Bountiful, the All-Loving.




The Bahá’í writings make it clear that the various institutions that currently hold sway in the world are on "borrowed time" — that is, they are not "fit for purpose".  Not only are most of the world's institutions unable to prevent the disintegration of society, they are in fact contributing to this disintegration.  One obvious example is the world's banks and financial institutions.

This collapse of society is just as acute at the local level, as the prevalence of crime and anti-social behaviour, and the high incidents of mental ill health and suicide indicate.

The task of arresting, and finally reversing, this social breakdown is the one which the Bahá`i community together with all people of goodwill, is working on.

Among the projects with which Bahá’ís are engaged  is a worldwide initiative, which began in South America and which is now taking off in Suffolk, based on "Study Circles".  These "Study Circles" are designed to promote and expand fundamental aspects of Bahá’í community life, such as children's classes, teaching activities and devotional meetings.

Many of these activities are held in the homes of Suffolk Bahá’ís.  However there are occasions, such as holy day gatherings, which require larger meeting places.  Finding suitable venues for such meetings is a constant struggle.  The Bahá’ís of Suffolk would like to express our appreciation to the Unitarians, Quakers and other Faith groups of Ipswich and Suffolk, who have warmly welcomed us in the past.

Although many activities in which the Bahá’ís of Suffolk are engaged have as their goal an increase in the number of people who embrace the Bahá’í way of life, there are some projects (such as "Junior Youth Classes") which aim, rather as SIFRE and all its members do, to foster the general spiritual life of Suffolk.  In this respect, I sincerely believe that all Faith groups, and all individuals, can learn from each other.

An issue which has featured in Bahá’í meetings for thirty years, and which in recent years has again become a prominent matter, is the persecutions of Bahá’ís in Iran.  This situation is on-going and will, it appears, remain a serious concern for some time.  The Bahá’í’s of Suffolk are very thankful to members of SIFRE, local politicians, and the wider community for the support they have expressed and, in some cases, for the actions they have taken regarding this subject.



Bahá’u’lláh’s healing message of love and unity first came to this country in 1898, was gradually established in different parts of the UK and finally arrived in Suffolk in the late 1950s.  Since then, there has been a vibrant multi-ethnic Bahá’í community in Suffolk.  Many believers have since moved on to other parts of the UK or overseas, while others have lived out the rest of their days in Suffolk.  One of our earliest members was an English lady named Margaret Bachrich, who settled in Ipswich as a Bahá’í ‘pioneer’ and remained an active member of the Ipswich Bahá’í community for the rest of her life.

Suffolk has also offered refuge to some of those Bahá’ís fleeing from Iran, where the Faith has been subject to persecution at the hands of Iran’s civil and ecclesiastical authorities and their followers.  The severity of this oppression is now growing ever more intense.  We are thankful that the gentle people of Suffolk have embraced Bahá’ís who arrived here after being forced to abandon their homeland.

Since there are no clergy in the Bahá’í Faith, community affairs are administered by Spiritual Assemblies, whose members are democratically elected each year from the general body of the believers.  These Assemblies operate in accordance with the Faith’s guiding principle of consultation.  The Spiritual Assembly of Ipswich was established in 1969 and was later legally incorporated as a private non-profit-making company.

The Bahá’í Faith has a long history of contributing to the welfare of the wider community and in Suffolk, the Bahá’ís have been actively involved in various causes over the years, including the ‘Band Aid’ project of the 1980s, when we organised food collections in Ipswich Town Centre where it was visited by the Mayor and Mayoress of Ipswich the late Councillor Eric Grant and Mrs Grant.

Current causes supported by local Bahá’ís include the Ipswich Town of Sanctuary movement, which aims to declare Ipswich a welcoming town for asylum seekers.  We are also involved in chaplaincy work with Ipswich Hospital, Suffolk New College and University Campus Suffolk.  As part of this on-going service to the community, the Bahá’ís of Ipswich and Suffolk offer everyone regular Study Circles, aimed at developing essential aspects of community life, such as spirituality, education and service to others.

Bahá’u’lláh the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith has encouraged His followers to “consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship”.  Consequently, in Ipswich we have eagerly supported Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource and the East of England Faiths Agency;  playing a central role in the establishment of the inter-faith out-reach programme of St Margaret’s Church, and taking part in the Mayor’s Civic Celebration of the Community in Ipswich ever since the event’s inception more than thirty years ago.

We would like to end by imparting the essence of Bahá’u’lláh’s Message to humankind: “The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion.  War shall cease between nations, and by the Will of God the Most Great Peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world and all men will live as brothers.”

There are currently 38 registered Bahá’ís in Suffolk, dispersed as is their custom, around the county.

For further information on the historical background see SIFRE’s book “Faiths in Focus in Ipswich and Suffolk” 1993, and for information on current cultural practices (e.g. Bahá’ís may not be buried more than an hour’s journey from the place of death) see SIFRE’s “A Handbook of Faiths” 2005.



I'd like to introduce myself.  I'm married, and have been for 26 years.  I have two teenage children, the older a girl and the younger a boy.  Our family has recently undergone a shift of responsibilities, as I have returned to full time work as a speech and language therapist, after years of working part‑time, and my husband has liberated himself from the factory job which was slowly grinding him down.  We are both from strongly Christian backgrounds, but both joined the Bahá'í Faith eleven years ago.

How does being a Bahá'í affect my day to day life in Suffolk?  Well, actually it often seems to take me out of Suffolk, but we'll come to that later.

Day by day, I try to keep up the practice of morning and evening prayer, and reading from the Bahá'í writings.  How much or how little time I spend, and exactly what I choose to read is up to me ‑ it doesn't need to be a lot.  There is a short obligatory prayer to be said in the middle of the day, which helps to bring you back to the centre from the distractions of the day, but which I've personally had great difficulty in remembering to say.

Bahá'u'lláh's teachings, on which I try to base my life, are not only spiritual, but political, in the sense that they tell us how to organise our community life in such a way that, bit by bit, we can create the "new heaven and the new earth" referred to in the bible, and bring about the fulfilment of the prayer "Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven", which many of us have said so many times.

The Bahá'í Faith is perhaps unique in that the administration is part of the revelation, and to be an active part of it is a spiritual obligation for Bahá'ís.  In practice this means working in love and harmony with whoever we find ourselves alongside ‑ not always an easy task, but one there is ample advice and guidance about in the writings.  For me, currently, fulfilling my obligations to the building of the new world order means accepting the role of secretary of our local group cheerfully, and being willing to travel to Southport in April as Suffolk's delegate to the convention at which our National body is elected.  I didn't put myself up for the job, and neither did anyone else.

In the Bahá'í Faith there is no canvassing and no nomination.  All adult Bahá'ís can vote for any Bahá'í they consider suited to the task, and the person elected accepts the privilege of serving, if at all possible.  Opportunities for service (a Bahá'í euphemism for work), abound in the Faith, and there are always jobs to be done.

I teach a children's class, try to remember the refreshments, write letters, make cakes, take the minutes and so on, like lots of other women everywhere, while always trying not to let the fog of small daily obligations obscure the greater vision that attracted me to the Faith in the first place, "- so great is the light of unity, that it can illumine the whole earth".  (Bahá'u'lláh)

Unity is what the Faith is all about, and the purpose that must never be lost sight of.  I believe Bahá'u'lláh's statement that "the well‑being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established", so I take great pleasure in having been a factor in establishing a wonderfully diverse but unified community enterprise in Beccles, where about thirty people at any one time, from all beliefs and none, work together in love and cooperation to run a high street shop promoting justice in international trade, and a new attitude to consumption, and use of resources.  The shop is now in its ninth year, and hopefully has informed and enlightened lots of people who are not readers of specialist magazines and so on about things they can do for the world’s wellbeing, while offering them beautiful goods, and guilt free tea and coffee.

I mentioned that the Faith has sometimes taken me further afield than Suffolk; often to previously unvisited parts of the U.K. for conferences and festivals, but to more exotic parts too.  So far I've visited Poland, Israel, Holland, Kenya and Tanzania for one Bahá'í reason or another, and my nineteen year old daughter, at present in East Africa, has lived and worked in Russia and the Mosquito coast of Honduras.

Why all this travelling?  Well, the Bahá'í Faith is relatively young (150 years old), and relatively small, and its focus is unity, so the world family of Bahá'ís tends to keep in close touch, and as in any other family, there's a lot of visiting and helping out and sharing of all sorts.  On our recent visit to East Africa, my husband and I took part in a very fruitful workshop where we British Bahá'ís contributed some finance and goodwill, the Kenyans contributed their research and practical experience in running rural pre‑schools, and the Tanzanians were both loving hosts and eager students.

It was interesting that our food in Africa was served by charming young men, and that the Kenyan teacher who came with us to demonstrate her lively teaching methods had left her three older children at home with her husband.  This is not a common experience in Africa, where men see domestic chores and children as women's work.  These were Bahá'í men, who believe Bahá'u'lláh's teachings that men and women are two wings of a bird, and that both must be equally developed if the bird of humanity is to soar.

Bahá'u'lláh stressed the absolute importance of educating women as a vital ingredient to the well being of the world and the establishment of peace.  Research is now proving him right, and the education of women is proving to be the most significant factor in the success of many social and economic development projects, particularly in the field of population control and child health.

Does my Faith affect my working life? I hope so.  I truly believe we were all created equal, with the capacity to reflect the attributes of God, and I hope I can be clear‑minded enough to acknowledge any prejudices that linger despite my best efforts, and strive not to let them get in the way.  Bahá'u'lláh teaches us to look only at the good qualities in our fellows, and to act at all times with love and courtesy.  It’s surprising how helpful this can be in staff meetings and potentially difficult situations, if only we can follow it.  Patience is easier to come by if you're doing your job for love as well as money.

My working life is made easier by the support of my husband, who combines keeping the household clean, comfortable and fed, with lots of useful casual and voluntary work, after a lifetime of being a "wage slave" for the family.  He takes pleasure in service, and does not feel demeaned by his role, any more than I feel I deserve special privileges for being the main income earner.  We have tried to bring our children up to be independent but not selfish, and to practice the habit of consultation.

In the Bahá'í Faith young people cannot be deemed Bahá'í by virtue of their parents' religion.  Once they reach the age of fifteen, they are responsible for their own beliefs, and can choose to register as Bahá'ís if they wish.  My daughter has no doubts about her Faith ‑ the Bahá'í vision is what inspires her and motivates all her choices and actions.  My son is still weighing things up, but I am pleased to see on his report that he can be a "moderating influence" in class discussions, and am confident that whatever he chooses, the Bahá'í teachings are a treasury he'll draw on all his life.

I'd like to finish with an exhortation that I'm happy to take as my inspiration, "O handmaid of God; peace must first be established among individuals, until it leadeth in the end to peace among nations.  Wherefore, O ye Bahá'ís, strive ye with all your might to create, through the power of the word of God, genuine love, spiritual communion and durable bonds among individuals.  This is your task."



It is now16 years on since I contributed my story to Finding our Way and Sharing our Stories; how have I and the Bahá’í Faith fared here in Suffolk over that time?

Well, I’m still here trying to be a Bahá’í and still with my husband of 42 years.  The children have moved on and I now have a lovely son-in-law and two bright, healthy grandchildren.  My daughter, who at the last time of writing was actively serving with the Bahá’í community in East Africa, went on to university where she took an active role in Bahá’í activities while making the most of all the opportunities of life in Cambridge.  The next steps were work in management consultancy (a far cry from living in a humble hut in rural Kenya, in terms of lifestyle), followed by a return to university to take up a PhD in immunology.  This period saw her beginning to question her faith, and after much soul-searching, she decided she was an atheist.  My son never made the decision to declare himself a Bahá’í and probably never will – he is not a “joiner” – but he is strongly motivated by the Bahá’í focus on unity, which for him, meant bringing together the diverse communities around the cellar club he loved in Bristol, and fostering the belief that a “good time” was about the company and the music that they shared, rather than how much alcohol was downed.  He feels that labels are divisive, and that’s an opinion I can respect.

Following on from our own and our daughter’s stays in Tanzania, we were very anxious to continue to support that community’s efforts to improve opportunities for quality early years education.  There already existed an inspirational handbook for anyone wanting to set up a kindergarten in an African setting with minimal resources and no formal training – the Yellow Book.  This was the product of work done by a committee formed at the request of the world authority of the Faith and had received great acclaim from many directions, but being in English, didn’t easily transfer to Tanzania.  We set ourselves the task of raising the money to fund its translation to, and production in, Swahili.  This project proved frustrating in the time it took, and if we hadn’t seen the situation in Tanzania at first hand we may have lost patience, but knowing how few people had the skills required for the work and how incredibly overstretched they were, we could wait , and eventually it was achieved.

Another wonderful outcome of our visit to East Africa was that we were able to facilitate a visit here, to our local early years settings, for a wonderful Tanzanian woman we’d got to know.  By a combination of vision, determination and serendipity (or answer to prayer, depending on your point of view) Ruth had acquired a piece of land on which to build a school in Tabora, Tanzania, and had engaged a team from Edinburgh university’s charity HELP, to start building it.  I felt sure she was strong enough to take from our system what would be of value in her situation, and not be overcome by the sheer mass of “stuff” everywhere.  I was right, fortunately, and the visit was wonderfully enriching for her and all the folk she met.  People and institutions were extremely generous with ideas and resources and she returned to make great use of it all.  She has now established a second school, and runs regular training days throughout East Africa to share her knowledge and experience, so our original small fund of £500 is bearing much fruit, and is a reminder that to do something is always better than to do nothing, and that we often have no idea what we’re starting.

Back on home turf the Bahá’í community has been sorely challenged.  Due to boundary changes, when the administrative areas for the Faith were aligned with local election wards, we lost our “local spiritual assembly”, the elected group of 9 adults in one administrative area, which is the basic building block of the Bahá’í administrative system.  From the time of our becoming Bahá’ís we had been members of the Assembly and the discipline of a regular meeting schedule and the focus that comes from a group with a common purpose had underpinned our lives as Bahá’ís.  What had been a cohesive group now dispersed into ones and twos and we struggled to find a new way, which would both maintain a sense of community but also, in the spirit of the change, enable us all to focus on our own small patches.

This had wider ramifications, too, as the Waveney Assembly had been a key element in the functioning of the Faith in Suffolk, and we were left with only one Assembly, in Ipswich, and that beset by problems of ill-health, poverty of resources and other difficulties.  These difficulties probably contributed to my husband’s decision to withdraw from membership of the Bahá’í Faith; always a rather reluctant attendee of meetings, and not drawn to study of the text, he was relieved to follow our daughter in leaving behind the formal commitments of membership.  In an odd way, this was a relief to me, because he had been unhappy about his situation for some time, so unable to be truly supportive of my efforts for the faith, whereas since he clarified his own position, he can now offer practical help and support from a straightforward standpoint of a loving partner.  He continues to live a life of selfless practical service to individuals and to the community – I like to think he’s done the theory and is now doing the practice!

Despite the setbacks, the years since I last wrote have witnessed some times of wonderful inspiration and pride of achievement.  Our local Bahá’í community is very rich in artistic talent of all kinds, and when it is all put together “to the glory of God” extraordinary things happen.  One was the creation of a walk through experience designed to bring home to Bahá’ís some aspects of the life of the Founder Prophet, Bahá’u’llah.

This powerful tool was devised and built in a barn just outside Beccles, with the help of visiting Bahá’ís who would come and contribute their skills for the love of the work.  It travelled to Liverpool, where it was installed in the library of the university for the duration of a special commemorative Bahá’í convention.  The powerful effects of the journey through the pitch dark damp “prison cell” with its heavy chains, to emerge into the orange blossom perfumed air and the sound of a trickling fountain in  the final “garden” were far greater than we could have anticipated and for many, it was an emotional experience they will never forget.  Our artistic fellow believers continue to use their arts, whether dance, painting, poetry or music, to illustrate the stories and teachings of the Faith.  One devoted Bahá’í in mid Suffolk has recently taken on the major task of producing a monthly newsletter for all the Bahá’ís of Suffolk, active or not, and this is already proving to be a powerful took in reenergizing isolated believers and strengthening our sense of community.

Unfortunately I am not an artist of any sort, so I have to make my contribution in more prosaic ways.  Looking always towards unity, and building bridges between people, I  volunteered to be a local organizer for SIFRE, which has proved to be a much greater commitment than I imagined, but also more wide reaching.  It has brought me into contact with lots of interesting folk, and taught me the beauty of the developing story of religious revelation and practice.  The Bahá’í teaching, that the teacher learns more than the student, is certainly true when I’m asked to share my understanding of the teachings of my Faith in all sorts of different contexts.  Interfaith activities are a very natural service arena for a Bahá’í, believing as we do that all religions are manifestations of the same truth, and all the revealers of them are of equal station.  Bahá’u’llah gave us very clear instructions to “consort in fragrance with all men of religion” (and women and children too, I’m sure!).

During my time as a speech and language therapist within a SureStart team, I enrolled on SIFRE’s new Diversity module, which ran as a Cambridge extra-mural study course.  The course offered me many insights I would not have accessed easily on my own, and took me to places I would not have gone alone.  For my research project I chose to explore the experience of mothers who had themselves grown up elsewhere in the world, as they tried to bring their own children up in Lowestoft.  This provided an interesting conjunction of work and study, and was valued by the project manager.  On the domestic front, my husband and I decided to offer ourselves as hosts for HOST, an organization that enables overseas students to spend a weekend with an English family, to get a taste of home life that can’t be found in a college hall of residence.  This too has been hugely rewarding and we have enjoyed every one of our guests and the special contribution they have made to our knowledge and understanding of the world.  It’s a privilege to be able to offer hospitality to some of these youngsters who have worked unbelievably hard, often in very trying circumstances, to get the opportunity to study here in the UK, and to see our culture through their eyes can be very enlightening.

2011 finds me retired from paid employment; My new role as grandma gives life another dimension, and my freedom from the clock means I can respond cheerfully to my elderly mum’s requests for lifts or gardening.  I’ve somehow taken on the responsibility for the catering at our local community- run lido, and I offer some informal English lessons to a young mum tied to home with her twin babies and lack of language skills, so time doesn’t hang heavy on my hands.  I continue to offer a monthly Tranquil Evening of readings and music from all inspirational sources and try to maintain the pattern of Bahá’í life in our small community.  There are times when it looks like an attractive option to belong to a faith where there are paid clergy to keep things going!

Like everything in life, the Bahá’í Faith throws up challenges, and there are aspects of it I sometimes struggle with.  Disappointment about the local situation of the Faith can make it difficult to remember the beauty of the teachings that drew me to it or doubt their efficacy, but I don’t usually have to look far for confirmation, and I know that, like everything else in life, it gives back in relation to what I put in.  Abdu’l Bahá, son of the prophet Bahá’u’llah advised those who sought faith to “act as though you have it” and watch the outcome – good practical advice, I find!



Allah’u’Abha, (an Arabic phrase meaning "God the All-Glorious”), is the word Bahá’ís use to greet each other.  So I would like to say to all of you: Allah’u’Abha.

My life in Suffolk started in 1994, immediately after my graduations from Middlesex University in London, obtaining a Master of Engineering in Microelectronics Design and Production.  This, I say is rather interesting to me at least.  My background routes back to my birth place Iran, where I was expelled from Sommayeh school in Shiraz, for my belief in the Bahá’í Faith!

After graduating, I left London as I found a contract job as a research associate with BT Labs, where we worked on the first high speed Internet access to homes (in technical terms it was called ADSL), and after few months in February 1995, I was employed full time there.

In my spare times, I spent the next few years in promoting faith in the society.  In Felixstowe, I had many Bahá’í youth activities to promote the principles of the Bahá’í Faith, One God, One Faith and One Mankind.  I then moved to Ipswich and extended the activities to Ipswich, Lowestoft and Cambridge and became an active member of the Local Assembly in Ipswich, supporting the annual Mayor’s interfaith service and many other activities promoting peace and love.

In the late 1990’s, I started to travel with my BT work to Europe.  Now as a consultant, I had a lot to offer.  It was interesting to me that in every city I entered, I had a family there, ‘the Bahá’í community’.  They invited me to their homes, and sometimes I participated in their peace promoting activities too.  In the winter of 1999, I chose to stay in Rome for my work.  The beauty of that city captured my eyes and I pitched my tent in central Rome near Piazza Spanga (the Spanish Steps), where I also contributed to the Bahá’í activities to promote love and unity.  I held gatherings in my home and the subject of our activities were mainly ‘Amore’ of the soul.  I visited the orphanage at the top of the nearby Piazza Popolare, which was run by the church there.  A few times I visited the orphan children and took gifts and toys.  They were so happy to receive them and we sung Christian songs together.  I also met my husband in Rome - for romance!

In the spring of 2001, I was happy to return to my home in Ipswich, when I fell pregnant with my twin boys.  I left my work as I concentrated in bringing up my children.  Now I have 4 children and live in Ipswich.  This year in September, I decided to study for a part time PGCE and have started to work as a supply teacher in the schools.  I am a member of the Bahá’í Local Assembly in Ipswich.  I am also an active participant in the great Church Services of St. Margaret’s Church, which is well placed centrally in a beautiful area of Ipswich adjacent to the Christchurch Park.  Three of my children sing in the Church Choir and I would like to invite you all to come and join the church service on Sunday mornings to see them singing!

I often think of two key words: “faith” and “hate”, and how they are sometimes confused.  Bahá’u’llah has taught me to look at the light and not at the lamp.  By practising that, I have learnt to love Christ as much as I love Bahá’u’llah, Mohammed, Buddha and …

Over the years I have been the subject of unnecessary hatred as well as abounding love by the people of faith.  I feel that our advanced civilization is threatened and hanging over these two simple words.  The result of one is spiritual attainment and glorification in all realms of life and the outcome of the other is chaos and confusion, war and famine and destruction of our well established societies.  – Let’s be of the people of faith.  This is the key to our future holdings.

Thanks to Rose Norgate, SIFRE Board member and Co-ordinator of SIFRE in Waveney, and to Shiva Cooper, Khatereh Vahdat and Richard Togher of the Spiritual Assembly of Bahá’ís in Ipswich for their contributions to this section.