By Jo Ann Burrell
I’m writing this on International Women’s Day, and thinking of the women in my life, and of women near and far. I’m struck by the many ways that women impact others, the environment, their communities, their governments, and more. Whether their contributions are international, national or local, whether they volunteer or are paid, women care for others and the world in ways big and small. And even the smallest actions can have a huge impact.
I thought about this while drinking my daily tea from the most beautiful teacup. I purchased this teacup and saucer at the little thrift shop attached to West Fayette Presbyterian Church when I was on the 2019 USA Mission Experience (USAME). The small congregation at West Fayette in Geneva, New York, came out in a big way with hospitality. They fed the 23 USAME participants, and educated us on the land, farming, commerce and the people in the area. The congregation opened their hearts to us. West Fayette Presbyterian Church families demonstrated the second commandment, “love your neighbor.” Their hospitality made anxious disciples into powerful witnesses. West Fayette Presbyterian Church showed us the utmost in hospitality.
Every time I drink from my West Fayette teacup and saucer, I feel warm. I feel cared for, and I feel joy that I met these wonderful people, whose hospitality left a lasting legacy in my heart.
I’ve realized that a teacup is a small token that is easy to turn into a meaningful gift. Perhaps you have a few more teacups—or mugs, plates or bowls—than you need? A set of china that needs a new home? Why not use these pieces to brighten someone’s day with a little care?
Write a message of love and hope to tuck in teacup with a few tea bags. Or tape an inspiring scripture passage on a covered plate of cookies or fruit. You may want to wrap the item in cloth, paper or clear plastic, and tie nicely.
Adding a handwritten note about the receptacle, the treat and/or your intentions may also warm the heart of those who receive your gift. Even a brief note—such as “I pray you have peace, happiness, love, and joy all of your life” could be the care the person needs. Give these to people you know, people you do not know, neighbors, or anyone you feel needs hospitality!
Keep praying for the many ways women are at work in the world, including the global platforms like the Commission on the Status of Women. Pray for the nations and individuals, who work diligently on gender issues, and for deepened faith for all.
Jo Ann Burrell is PW’s 2018–2021 churchwide vice moderator for mission relationships.