The Smyrna, Tenn., Church of Christ welcomed me over the weekend for the congregation's biannual Hospitali-TEA. Months ago when I told Joe I had been invited to speak, he said yes as soon as he heard the name of the event.
The Smyrna Church of Christ hosts a successful ladies retreat, but several years ago the women decided they wanted to plan an event that would accommodate those who could not get away for an entire weekend. They wanted attendees to enjoy the fellowship and refreshment the retreat provides, without leaving town. So the Hospitali-TEA was born, and the two events rotate from year to year.
For the Hospitali-TEA, ladies of the congregation decorate tables in the fellowship hall for a catered dinner and guest speaker. Before the doors open for the big reveal, ladies congregate in the lobby to visit and enjoy appetizers. This year's theme was "God's Garden." Each table was decorated with a different flower.
I admired the creativity and attention to detail reflected in all the tables. Check out the wooden chargers cut by the tablescaper's husband on the violet table above.
This lovely lavender table reflects the tablescaper's roots in Washington state. In fact, she dressed her table in bundles from a favorite lavender field from back home.
Guests were eager to visit the Star of Bethlehem table to view the flowers shipped in from Columbia for the event. Many women remarked that they have never seen Star of Bethlehem blooms in real life.
Tables ranged from casual to formal, but each one reflected the personality of the lady who decorated it.
Tablescapers incorporated party favors for the ladies who sat at their tables into their place settings.
When the ladies checked in to the Hospitali-TEA, they were assigned seats. Ladies were seated with guests they brought, but coordinators wanted to fill all the tables equally and help the ladies mingle.
I chatted with the tablescaper who decorated the sunflower table. As a new member, she said planning her table helped her feel a part of the congregation.
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking for this event. Ladies eagerly anticipate the Hospitali-TEA, and it grows by leaps and bounds each time it rolls around. Thank you to the Smyrna Church of Christ for giving me such a warm welcome!
Tomorrow, a clever appetizer served at the Hospitali-TEA.