And to eat sinfully delicious strawberry treats!
From this vision came the first ever HMC official Strawberry Social.
"We were really excited...about the first women's social," said Kristina Dyck, one of the wonderful women who made it all possible. "[We were] excited because, as women, the need for companionship with other women is so great...regular women's socials are such a great way to develop those relationships and create new ones."
Hanover Missionary Church has a rich history of fellowship - of potluck meals and Christmas dinners, work bees and sack-race picnics - but the current culture often seems too busy for something so 'frivolous' and fun and so, the team approached the idea with some nervousness. They weren't sure if the women of HMC felt such an event was as important as they did. Would anyone really come?
Kristina shared that when they were first planning they talked about how if even 20-30 women attended it would still be a great success; but they stepped out in faith and decided to plan for 50. As the event date drew closer, excitement brewed. With energetic pulpit announcements (during which Pastor Jason, without apology, bemoaned the fact that he could not attend a 'women only' event) and cute posters around the foyer, the buzz began to build. "We felt we should increase that number to 70 just to be safe, but we were blown away when 70-80 women showed up! It was so neat to see women of all ages enjoying each other and in some cases meeting for the first time!"
It was a full house! Auditorium A/B was decorated sweetly with bright pink tissue paper poufs, an adorable bunting made from material scraps, and darling little rocks painted to look like strawberries. The room was alive with the sound of laughter. Women, ages sixteen to eighty-nine, mingled around the room during a lively game of People Bingo, dressed in all manner of hats - the grand, the old fashioned, the wonderfully strange - seeking out someone to sign each box on their card: someone with a toe ring | someone who has bungee jumped | someone who has skinny dipped [gasp!] - it was a brilliant way to get people moving and talking and meeting each other.
After some very 'healthy' servings of various trifles (because you couldn't try just one!) we listened as one of our senior ladies shared her testimony. She told an incredible story of love and loss, joy and heartache and the ultimate freedom through Jesus that had carried her through. I think it's fair to say there was more than one lady who had a tear drip down into her tea.
The testimony was followed by more treats, mingling and countless silly moments in the photo booth the ladies had set up in the basement foyer. With a 'tickle trunk' full of accessories, there was no end to the possibilities for capturing fun memories of a great night.
"We are so excited about the upcoming year and the other events that are in the works," Kristina said. "We are hoping to create a space for fellowship, for women to share their hearts with each other, for mentoring relationships to develop, and of course to just have a great time with each other as sisters in Christ."
"A cheerful heart is good medicine..." Proverbs 17:22a
[See more from the photo booth by visiting our facebook page - click here]
Special thanks to Faith Shelley Photography for capturing the memories!
Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she's trying hard not to love. She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications. You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.