A Letter to the Congregation from Tea Room Co-Chairs Amanda Ayers and Hope Gamble
Dear St. Philip’s Family,
After a year of planning, it is difficult to believe that the 2023 Tea Room has come and gone! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of another year of service. It was a tremendous week, and St. Philip’s ministries are going to be incredibly blessed by your hard work and commitment to this enormous undertaking. The word “enormous” might not be large enough...
Each day of Tea Room begins by 7:00 a.m., as Hope updates the volunteer list and reservations, and Ben gets started on his daily “Honey-Do” list. Volunteers begin trickling into the Parish Hall around 8:00. Dave and Caroline scurry to get the patio and porch set up. Connie and the first shift of kitchen help begin chopping and cooking, while Travis mans the phone for delivery orders. Roberta and Marnie roll in to set up the dining room, while Shea starts getting ready to train the dining room staff. By 11:00, the second kitchen shift has started to work, and the Parish Hall is alive with volunteers, catching up and preparing to serve the masses. By 11:30, one of our clergy has prayed, Bill and the rest of his servers are ready with their order pads, and Cantey and her dessert divas are armed with cake servers and bowls of whipped cream.
For two and a half hours, the church grounds are alive with visitors, lured in by Caroline and Hugo at the gate, with the promise of the best lunch in Charleston. They are from all over the country and even the world, drawn to St. Philip’s by the beauty of our church building.
What our visitors learn when they get here, though, is that the true beauty isn’t the physical structure. It’s the people within the structure. The God-given gifts of service, fellowship, love, kindness, generosity, respect, and grace from the volunteers working together is the true beauty. The love of Jesus reflecting off of each of our faces as we aim to make each guest feel welcomed is the true beauty. That is what Tea Room is about. The money we make for our ministries is fantastic. However, the true gift of Tea Room is experiencing joy and fellowship as we help to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As the afternoon winds down and the final guests head out, Todd, David, and Pam begin their jobs of taking down the outside tables, and Lavinia begins washing the dishes.
Nancy and her cashiers quietly count the proceeds, and Loretta begins cleaning up. It is the perfect time for a prayer of gratitude. Gratitude for the volunteers. For the guests. For the fellowship. For the Father’s love that sustained our day.
While we would love to thank each of you individually for your love, support, and service, this letter would most likely go on for days. Please know that your prayers were felt and cherished, the time we spent with you was precious, and we are so looking forward to the blessings that will come again with next year’s Tea Room.
Amanda and Hope
2023 Tea Room Co-Chairs
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