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Monday, September 8, 2008

St. Stephen Episcopal Fundraising Tea

Every August, St. Stephen Episcopal Church (c.1767), St. Stephen, South Carolina, holds a fundraising tea to assist with maintenance of the old churchyard cemetery. This year's tea was its seventh!

I really look forward to this! It is so fascinating every year to see what kind of "theme" each table hostess has decided on. And, as you might guess, Southern women just love to show off their china, crystal, sterling - and creativiTEA! My best friend, Mary, and I did a Christmas table this year. We thought it was a great idea, not having seen a holiday theme at the tea before, but as it turned out, a couple of other tables were Christmas themed, as well.

Here's how the tea works: one person (usually with the help of a friend or two) volunteers to "host" a table. The table hostess is responsible for setting the table (using personal china, flatware, etc.), and selling tickets ($16 each) for her table. All the tea food is prepared by a group of church volunteers, and is served buffet style. Volunteer servers (men of the church and local high school students) circulate throughout the Fellowship Hall during the tea, refilling teapots with hot water.

There is always a guest speaker (this year it was The Charleston Silver Lady), and loads of door prizes, donated by local businesses. 100% of the ticket sales go to the cemetery fund.

There were almost 300 people in attendance this year, with close to $4,000 raised.

You can view a slide show of all the beautiful 2008 tables here. When you are finished with that one, you can view photographs from the 2007 tea here. (Be sure to turn your speakers on.)

I have noticed that large-scale, fundraising teas are becoming very popular. Have you ever been to one?

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