If this pandemic has taught us nothing else, it is how to do traditional events in a new way. St. Peter, Erindale has a longstanding tradition of offering a Seniors Tea three times a year. Although we could not meet in person this year, we created a tea party experience at Thanksgiving. We created a YouTube video that included a short worship service, entertainment and a sing-along.
Several days in advance, tea party boxes containing seasonal plates and napkins, party favours and knitted prayer squares were dropped off at participating long-term care and retirement homes. A number of people from the parish were involved in creating and shopping for the items that went into the boxes, including our Prayer Shawl Ministry team of knitters, and Doris Huggett, who made favours for all of the residents who had signed up to participate in the tea. Sharmini Arulanandam recorded the musical accompaniment for the hymns and singalong, and Lenna McLaughlin helped with the organizing and filming of the video. People at the long-term care and retirement homes gathered safely in small groups to watch the video together and to enjoy the treats.
The event was so well received we decided to do another tea at Christmas, and this time the church of Trinity-St. Paul, Port Credit joined in the fun. As well, a larger number of St. Peter’s parishioners participated by recording themselves singing or playing Christmas carols for the sing-along portion. We were fortunate to be able to film the worship portion of the video in the sanctuaries of St. Peter’s and Trinity-St. Paul. It was a wonderful, collaborative effort encompassing people of all ages and two parishes. One hundred residents from five different long-term care and retirement homes were registered to participate. We plan to hold another online tea at Easter.