My mother encouraged me this Christmas to make the best use of my place here as "our minister's wife" and take time to exhort the women I find myself in congregation with. Most of them are many years my senior and it is daunting to think about teaching my elders. She suggested something a little more subtle. And so begins my next spiritual discipline: tea parties!
For Christmas Mom gave me three tea-party-as-ministry books. I've always wanted these and they have provided me with the motivation to get started. I am hoping to do one tea party a month, inviting only a handful of women to each. We'll enjoy each other's company, share stories, and, I hope, I'll have a time to give a devotion or share something the Lord has put on my heart. I'd like to have a hostess' gift or party favor for each woman to take home along with some sort of reminder of the time.
For this first tea, I've invited four of the older women of our congregation. They are all very active in the congregation and have been for many years. I hope to encourage them to continue in doing the work they are already doing as well as challenging them to be mentoring younger women. I'm calling this a New Beginnings Tea and I hope to remind these seasoned members that they still have much to give to this body, even with a new young whippersnapper in the pulpit! The kids have helped me to bake an apricot ladder loaf, make fancy tuna salad for tea sandwiches and I've started making sets of quilted coasters for each woman to take home. I'm looking forward to our time together.
Please pray for this gathering as we minister to each other. Pray that it is the first of many gatherings of the women of our church to encourage one another to grow in our discipleship, and please pray for me in this strange position of leadership in which I find myself.