Our Story – Advent Tea
Many of us have treasured traditions and memories during this time of year. Something special at New Life for almost 30 years was our Advent Tea. This was typically held near the 1st week of Advent. Women and girls were invited to gather for a special time of connection, reflecting on the season, song and good food.
December 1988 – Our first Mother/Daughter Advent Tea was held. It was attended by about 75 girls and ladies. It was gala dress-up affair with many in their Sunday best or even Christmas dresses. For many, it was how we marked the start of our Advent season. It was held in the sanctuary (because fellowship hall not been built yet!) Each table had it’s own Advent wreaths. During the tea there would be a litany and lighting ceremony for all the candles.
For many years this annual event featured tea or hot chocolate for the little ones and fancy cookies. Beverages were served in fine china teacups and saucers that participants got to take home. Several of you may still have your Advent Tea cup collection that you added to each year! The program often included a special message from a pastor or other guest. And there was always music and singing. One year, the theme included bringing your own special doll to the tea and sharing her story.
This grew for many years with multiple generations of women attending and many a family photo taken in front of the Christmas tree. By 1999, this event was hosting 150-180 women and girls. In these later years, a meal was added to the event. This was after the fellowship hall was built with the larger kitchen. The Boy Scouts from Troop 34, the troop the New Life charters, served the wonderful meal. At some point, teacups were replaced by Christmas mugs. And in the larger space, the decorations became bigger and enhanced the theme for that year. And there were lots of strings of lights! This enhanced another tradition whereas at the end of the tea, everyone stood in a circle around the outside of the room, with just the Christmas lights on, to sing Silent Night. What a heavenly sound of voices of all ages singing in unity.
Many mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and female friends enjoyed this tradition. It was a special way to mark the beginning of a special season with the focus on family and the upcoming arrival of Jesus as a baby in a manager. This event continued non stop until 2017.
If you have any pictures from the early years of the Advent Teas, please share with Susan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org