Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Friendship Tea

At 6 pm Friday night, I received a phone call, a personal invitation to attend a Friendship Tea at the Mitchell Methodist Church, a short drive from my house.  "If you don't have any plans for tomorrow afternoon, would you like to go to a tea?"  Yes, I had plans, but not the kind of plans that would keep me from enjoying a relaxing afternoon of tea.  I could sit outdoors, take a walk, do some paper crafting earlier or another day. "Yes, thank you. I would love to go to tea."

What will I wear?  Usually on the 12th of March, the ground is covered with snow and the temperatures are consistent with winter: 25 - 30 degrees.  But not this year.  This has been an El NiƱo winter.  And so we were blessed with abundant sunshine on a cloudless day, and temperature way beyond normal - 63 degrees!   This will dictate our fashions.  I chose a long skirt with a lace sweater, and a hat like a spring garden.  Were other ladies wearing hats?  I didn't know, but I knew that's what I would wear to a tea.

"How did you hear about the tea?"  I was asked by a member of the United Methodist Women's organization.  "I was invited just yesterday," I replied, "and my friend who invited me, was invited by a lady from your women's organization."  She replied, "We sent invitations to area churches.  We have flyers and posters all over town."  Another lady noted that she thought there would be more than 35 in attendance, looking around the room that was set for 50.  "I never thought to personally invite someone.  I guess we could have invited our neighbors and friends, who don't come to this church."

That is the message that the new "president by default," Ethel Dobson expressed. She is the new president because the former president of the women's organization passed away.  "This afternoon's event is an ecumenical event.  It's where women of many faiths come together to enjoy the afternoon," and celebrate our faith in Jesus.  Having never attended their Friendship Tea in the past, I never once felt that the event was lacking in anything.  Yes, there were several empty chairs, but there were many ladies in attendance as well.

Ethel introduced a talented guitar player and vocalist, who freely shared a message of love in her three songs.  We were encouraged to clap and sing, something many of us have not grown up with in a church setting. Linda's voice and guitar playing made me want to do more than clap and sing - it made me want to get up and move with the Spirit of Christ that I felt coming through her music.

Pastor Doug welcomed us and read about International Women's Day, followed by reading Proverbs 31, and specifically, Verse 10, " Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."  He declared that this text related to every woman sitting in this room. 

 Following a prayer of blessings on all in attendance, thankfulness for the hands preparing the food, and requesting that God used each of us in our lives, by orderly fashion, we filled our plates with delectable savory sandwiches and delicious sweet treats. 

The women of the Mitchell United Methodist Church used St. Patrick's Day as their theme, which many ladies in attendance did as well with their choice of clothing.  It was such an honor to be in attendance at this annual event, a Friendship Tea.  Whether I was meeting someone who knew my parents, or saying hello to Eliza who will be 103 years old this year, sharing memories and making plans to meet again, this afternoon was full of God's blessings.

Thank you for hosting a Friendship Tea.  Thank you for blessing us with your music, beautiful decorations, delicious food, company and fellowship.  I'm planning to attend the Friendship Tea at the Mitchell United Methodist Church again next year.  Let's celebrate Women together!

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