For a few years now, I have felt the call to lead a Tea and Fellowship Ministry for the women in our parish community. What I have seen is that although the church is always filled for every Mass (we have an extremely large church) and there is always a big turnout for events, I noticed that there aren’t many true friendships.
Here is what I found. When I meet someone new through church, I always ask how many people they know from our parish. I am not talking casual friendship; I mean true friendship. The kind that warms your heart and feels like family when you walk into church or a parish event. The kind where you know you have support in your Christian walk, and there is always someone to call when in need. The kind where you, yourself, are always open and available to your sisters in Christ. The answer is usually the same. They may know one or two people; not many close friendships at all.
When I was younger, and raising my boys, the women were the ones who developed the relationships in the communities. It was much simpler back then, because most of us were stay at home moms, and relationships seemed to develop themselves. As the women in the communities became closer, they would draw in their husbands, and family friendships were forged.
Now, with so many single moms, and two parent working families, it seems that there is no time for developing friendships. It is extremely difficult to balance jobs, time with our spouses and children, homemaking, and all of the transportation and errands that are needed. What suffers? Usually time for ourselves and time to actually have relationships with our families in Christ. Sometimes it seems as though our Church Community, which should be an inviting place of acceptance, love and fellowship, turns into once or twice a week worship, and maybe some more “events” to add to our schedules. It is a vicious circle.
There has been a gentle tug of the Holy Spirit for me to start a Women’s Tea and Fellowship group at Church. I outlined a plan, and presented it to our Pastor, and then to a few women who are very active in our Church. For some reason, nothing ever came of it.
My idea to bring women together to form relationships and community remained in my heart. I believe those relationships are the foundation that will ripple out, not only to our Catholic Church Community, but eventually into the surrounding communities.
Isn’t it funny how the Holy Spirit works and tugs at your heart until you finally see the light? For me, it was the realization that I did not need to have a formal “ministry” in the Church to carry out the true ministry. I can keep my eyes, ears and heart open to opportunities to be a blessing to the women and groups I encounter. Either at Church, or anywhere at all!
A few months back, I was volunteering at the library, and talking with Sheila, who is the “Director of the Library”. Not really sure of her true title, however, she is the one to talk to about any question regarding the library or the volunteers that help to run it. I asked if I could host an Appreciation and Fellowship Tea for the volunteers. Sheila’s face lit up, and she said that would be a wonderful idea. My heart warmed up thinking about the tea and thinking of ways to pamper the ladies!
After lots of planning, baking, and decorating, the tea finally came to fruition this last Saturday. It was a beautiful experience to meet and get to know some of the wonderful women from our parish. We enjoyed each other’s company, and they were pampered with relaxing music, flowers, cookies, and tea sandwiches, which were served with china plates and tea cups. Somehow it just feels different to drink your tea and eat your cookies from vintage china. Before we knew it, we were having a great time, sharing stories, and laughing. I look forward to getting to know them better in the future. Another tea in the Spring is already on my agenda!
Now, my heart is open and I am listening for the Holy Spirit…to lead me to the Church Ministries, or particular women who could use a “Fellowship Tea”. My plan is to offer friendship, heart to heart, and in doing that, sharing Christ’s love. Through God’s grace and blessings, His perfect love will radiate out to many hearts in need.
We all have specific callings, gifts and talents. It’s our daily lives and the “little things” that touch the most hearts.
Any suggestions of ways for us to share with others in the Community of Christ? Please share any ideas you may have.
May God bless you!
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:12-15