Bahai Tea Washington DC

Baha’i Tea Event

A regular featured event at the Washington DC Baha’i Center was the “Baha’i Tea”, usually around 2:00 PM on a specified Sunday afternoon. Its purpose was to provide a suitable venue to receive those invited to meet the guest speaker, usually a person of note from the greater Washington community, and provide means for them to socialize with members of the faith. In this way, both the invited speaker and guests were able to learn about the Baha’i Faith.

On this occasion (ca. 1966), an early afternoon ‘Baha’i Tea’ was prepared and hosted by Baha’i community member, Tehmenia Parsons (front row, 2nd from left).


Back Row: (l/r) Lucille Webster, unknown guest (man, glasses), Green Glen, Jr.,  William Twitty, Katherine Larson (eyes closed), unknown man (partly hidden), Grace Chavis (white hat), Rosemary K. Brown (partly hidden, glasses), Theodies Washington (partly hidden, glasses).

Middle Row: (l/r) Gypsy Goines? (white blouse), Constance and Alfred Beckley, Sarah Pereira, Farkhundih Tawfiq, Inez Cooper, Antoinette Washington (white hat), Marjorie Ingram (Inez Cooper’s daughter), Steven Sewell, and unknown person (with cake).

Front Row: (l/r) unknown guest, Tahmineh Parsons, ‘Guest of Honor’, Betty Atkins, Joy Haxon (kneeling), and Riva Morales.


Tahmineh Irani Parsons – WBC, from a long line of noted Baha’i family members (the Irani’s).  Buried beside her husband at Arlington National Cemetery.  His is the only graved at ANC marked by a Baha’i symbol, a successful project undertaken by his wife, Tahmineh. 
Lucille Webster – WBC, IBP, former employee at the US Department of State.  Her signed name can be found in the Guestbook of various Baha’i communities in several countries.
Green Glen – WBC, employed by the Maryland Youth Facility (challenged youth).
William Twitty – WBC.
Katherine Larson – WBC, Ballet dancer, Washington National Ballet.
Grace L. Chavis – WBC (recent member, 1968).
Rosemary K. Brown (neé Closson), BY, WBC, Howard University student.  Later married David Closson, former Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa.  After marrying, they pioneered on the home-front to the state of New Jersey.
Theodies Washington – WBC, LSA (intermittent).
Constance and Alfred Beckley – WBC
Sarah Martin Pereira – WBC, LSA. [1] 
Farkhundih Tawfiq – WBC, BNC, IBP, Washington Baha’i Center caretaker, and served at the Baha’i National Center. [2] 
Inez Cooper – WBC, one time member of the LSA, wife of a well-respected Washington DC police detective.
Antoinette K. Washington – WBC, BY, involved in various Baha’i projects.
Marjorie Ingram – WBC (Inez Cooper’s daughter).
Steven Sewell – WBC, LSA, and imitator of the Lorton Inmate Baha’i Teaching Project, at the time (ca. 1968) known as “prison teaching”, i.e. teaching the Baha’i Faith to prison inmates. [3] Additional information can be acquired about this project from the Washington Baha’i Archives.
Guest of Honor – Name/position not known. Research required (Washington Baha’i Archives).
Betty Atkins – Member of the Baha’i community in Falls Church, Virginia.
Joy Haxon – WBC. [4] 
Riva Morales – Member of the Baha’i community in Silver Springs, Maryland.



WBC – Member, Washington DC Baha’i Community
LSA – Member (past or present) of Local Spiritual Assembly, the Baha’i community’s administrative body.
BY – Baha’i Youth
BNC – Baha’i National Center
IBP – International Baha’i Pioneer


[1] Sarah Martin Pereira held several prominent Baha’i positions:  LSA member, Washington DC Baha’i community; member, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States; member, the Baha’i Auxiliary Board; member, Continental Board of Counselors for North America.  She would carry out various assignments for the Universal House of Justice, one of which was as its representative to the election of the National Spiritual of the Baha’is of Haiti.  Unforeseen, was the death of Haiti’s leader, François Duvalier* (14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971).  The election of the NSA was in process as the funeral procession passed below, and security forces (possibly the infamous Tonton Macoute) arrived to investigate this Baha’i event.  Satisfied that no threat existed, they departed without incident.  Sarah Pereira was also a Professor of Romance Languages at the District of Columbia Teachers College (DCTC).  She married a Portuguese man, and the union produce a son, Carlos.  He would achieve a Phd in physics from (?), and later conducted research to verify certain theories propounded by Albert Einstein.  Sarah is a product of the well-known and regarded Martin family, educators and early Baha’is in Chicago, IL, and where several institutions of learning bare the Martin family name.  Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, placed a framed photograph of the Martin family on the wall of the Mansion at Baji as an example of a true Baha’i family.

[2] During one of my visits to Macau (ca. 1973) I met her two daughters at the engagement party for Hebert Lee (originally from Canada) and his future wife, she having served several years at the Baha’i World Centre, Haifa, Israel.

[3] The Lorton Reformatory, operated by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, was a prison built in 1910 for the District of Columbia in an area now known as Laurel Hill, Virginia. It closed in 2001.

[4] Joy Haxon was a person blessed with deep spiritual insight.  She was also knowledgeable about forces impacting human nature.  As a child she showed promise in this area, demonstrating similar characteristics as those of her maternal grandmother who wanted to help develop joy’s potential.  However her mother intervened to negate the effort, fearing the effects it might have on her daughter’s life.

*As a medical student in the United States, François Duvalier, for a short time, resided with a Baha’i family (further research required to fix exact reference).

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