Summer Teas came back to Weldam this year. Jeanet, one of the Wardens, was the driving force behind reintroducing them. Moreover, they proved to be a resounding success. From Sunday 7 July, 14 July, 21 July, 28 July, 4 August, 11 August, during some of the best weather this year, a splendid array of baked goods were sold to a steady stream of eager visitors.
Was that all the Summer Teas were for? Were they only run to raise money? Oh no, the Summer Teas were far more than that. Raising a significant amount of money was, of course, most welcome. However, of equal value was the fun. Let me explain.
Naturally, this being the Church of England, it began with a rota on the wall. Volunteer bakers, sellers and guides happily put their names down. Caroline Siertsema generously held a scone-baking course on a Thursday for would be scone bakers. This initiative was doubly welcome as the fledgeling scone bakers can now produce scones for the upcoming Castle Fair.
Those who were not confident with their baking skills bought in cakes from shops around the Weldam chaplaincy. Others brushed up on their knowledge of the chapel in preparation for guiding visitors. Posters were put up, and both the magazine and the website advertised the teas.
With the result that from the very first Sunday, a steady trickle of passing cyclists and ramblers entered the hut to place their order. Then they would wander out to find a free chair at one of the tables placed under the trees. Some found the chair first and waited at the table for service, but whichever route they chose, all were interested in the St Marys. The guides in the chapel were kept equally busy answering questions from interested visitors. Many visitors, however, just came in, wandered around before taking a pew and sitting in quiet contemplation.
By the end of each afternoon, all the happy helpers were tired, but all agreed they had enjoyed themselves. Summer Teas gave us an opportunity to tell visitors about the church we enjoy attending. Moreover, as a bonus, Summer Teas earned €680 for our chaplaincy.
Contribution by Blair Charles.
Some thoughts on why we do the Summer Teas. (pre Summer Teas)
Let them eat cake!
Some rural parishes have noticed that offering refreshments and cake to visitors makes sure a welcome feeling is left with the visitor at it will be well remembered and talked about.
A group of visitors told about the friendly way they were treated to tea and cake and a well deserved rest, with the friends of the cycle club. Thus began a steady flow of vitiors to the chapel, which were all made very welcome.
It appears that open, welcoming churches will noticed and talked about.
Some tips for making a church welcome, also on regular Sunday openings, might include:
- A display that shows the church is an active community of faith.
- A place where visitors can leave prayer requests, which then are prayed for by the congregation in Sunday worship.
- A free duplicated sheet as a guide to the church, its purpose, history and special features.
- A visitor book to sign.
- A space in the church for private prayer and reflection.
So open your church and welcome anyone who may come in. Let’s pray that your visitors will become pilgrims, and even your friends.
From ©Parish Pump
Most of these aims are met by the Summer Teas offered at St Mary’s. To be a success it is important that everyone supports Summer Teas either by offering baking, their time, or preferably, both. So come on everyone and sign up.