Harper's Chapel UMC reaches out to community with tea party


By Kara Witherow, Editor

More than 80 women gathered at Harper’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Baxley on Saturday, Aug. 22 for a day of learning, fellowship, fun, and worship.

With a special tea party theme and outfitted in their finest dresses, hats, gloves, and jewels, the ladies celebrated womanhood and the significance of who they are as women in the body of Christ.

Long-dreamed-about, the ladies’ tea party was finally realized under Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed’s leadership and guidance. The weekend event was an opportunity for the congregation to deepen their faith and reach out to the community. 

“We wanted to have a conversation about our relationship with the Lord and that was the emphasis of it,” said Rev. Lattany-Reed, pastor of Harper’s Chapel UMC. “But we are using opportunities like this to do community building and relationship building, too.”

This weekend event was important to the women and the church, said Sandra Simpson, a member of the planning committee.

“We wanted to do something different, something we’ve talked about for years and never done,” she said. “It was important to get a group of women together to get to know each other better and to spread the word about our church and who we are and what we are doing.”

While the backdrop may have been a formal tea party, the weekend’s emphasis was really all about fellowship, connection, and spreading the word about Harper’s Chapel. 

Women came from all over – Baxley, Savannah, Uvalda, and other surrounding communities – and several had never been to the church before. There were 86 attendees at the women’s tea on Saturday and 92 in worship on Sunday.

“We had more than 175 people in worship over a 48-hour period,” Rev. Lattany-Reed said. “That proved to them that there’s a lot of growth and vitality at Harper’s, and that they are a part of that. They’re excited about that.”

On Saturday, the women participated in uplifting worship and heard engaging teaching. 

The congregation is blessed with retired and active teachers, Rev. Lattany-Reed said, and one of them took it upon themselves to teach the group about the origin and culture of tea, and for fun, a fashion show was held and attendees modeled their favorite pearls and pins.

Each table in the church’s fellowship hall was beautifully decorated and prepared for tea. The women sat around the tables and engaged in conversation and fellowship.

Throughout the day, nearly $3,000 was given for missions and ministry.

This event was important in the life of the congregation because it showed them that they are able to do big things for God.

“We’re putting feet to our discipleship plan,” Rev. Lattany-Reed said. “We’re in a small, rural area, but we’re doing big ministry, and we’re seeing that every time we stretch ourselves God allows us to do more.”

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