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Akron Bethel’s Ladies Club Holds “An Autumn Tea”
Story and photos by Charlyce Wallington-Reynolds
It was a cool and rainy Sunday afternoon when more than 70 women came to Allegheny West Conference’s Bethel church in Akron, Ohio, for “An Autumn Tea.” It may have been chilly and cloudy outside, but it was warm and sunny inside, as the Akron Bethel Ladies Club held their fourth tea gathering in the last six years. The gathering, which welcomed attendees as young as 2-years-old and as old as 89-year-old, is intended to be an evangelistic ministry as well as time for fellowship.
The ladies mingled and got to know each other briefly, then they indulged in refreshments, that included vegetarian chicken salad, fruit, vegetables and of course, a variety of teas.
Teresa Westbrook sang and 12-year-old Tiere Weems performed “Unspoken Praise.” Twila Belle, a club member, presented the keynote address. Her message, “Lighten Your Load,” was based on Matt.11: 28-30. Belle encouraged the women to lighten their load by yoking up with Jesus. At the close of her message, she asked each woman to share a personal burden with the person next to her. She then shared prayer with specific requests. Westbrook gave another selection, and the ladies parted all warmed by the tea, with lighter “loads,” some with door prizes and the flowers used for decoration.
“We really enjoyed it,” said Flora Gamble-Williams, a first-time attendee. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it was very nice. It was inspirational, it was entertaining and we got the message!”
Charee Wilson, a club member, observed, “I really appreciated the amount of support we received from the diversity of women (ages and religion). [There was] unity in the midst of diversity! It was heavenly, and I know the Lord was pleased.”
Jeanette Johnson, the club’s president, said of the week leading up to the tea “All week, I fasted and prayed. I said to God, ‘You let everything fall into place … Let your will be done, let it be a nice tea’ and that’s exactly what He did!”