MOTLEY - Feather boas, elaborate hats and English accents were all part of a a proper English tea gathering in Motley.
On a crisp January Saturday, the afternoon event featured hot cups of fine English tea, crustless cucumber sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam and whipped cream. All accompanied by the gentle strains of harp music.
The international flavor went beyond world teas as the event raised money for Quantum Connections International's mission to Africa and the ministries of the Motley United Methodist Church.
June Berry (left), Bea Manka and Lynn McCarthy chatted at the Proper English Tea event Saturday at the Motley United Methodist Church. The fundraising event brought out elaborate tables and outfits for a social outing while it raised money for raw materials to build a clinic in West Africa. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson» Purchase reprints of this photo.
With music in the background, June Berry took a seat at one of the tables. She was among a handful of attendees with insider knowledge for such a social gathering.
"This really takes me back," Berry said, her accent readily discernible after years of living in North America. Berry left England in 1957 to move to Canada and then the United States. She now lives in St. Cloud to be close to her daughter and learned of the fundraising high tea event through friends.
Sitting at the elaborate table, Berry said she was reminded of being a young woman and working in the south of England.
"I know all the crusts will be cut off," she said of the sandwiches that were delivered to each table. Traditions of hard English biscuits and tea remained with Berry through the years even though she was far from her roots.
Feather boas, elaborate hats and English accents were part of the social event Saturday in Motley as a social gathering provided a reason to dress up on a cool winter day and raise funds for Quantum Connections International's mission to Africa and the ministries of the Motley United Methodist Church. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson» Purchase reprints of this photo.
And if Saturday's fundraising event was any indication, proper English tea and dressing up for the occasion had a broad appeal. Interest in the event was so keen that organizers were trying to add a 15th table for eight just days before the event.
"I think it's an absolute gorgeous table," Berry said of the settings complete with tapered candles, flowers and tea set. The table, using all English products, was designed to match the formal tea event.
Bea Manka and Khris Sundvahl from the Cushing area, who hope to start a business for such efforts for special events, helped friend Lynn McCarthy of Little Falls with the table.
"We love doing things like this," Manka said, noting the fundraiser and the community aspect.
Decorative tables with flowers and colorful tea sets helped set the mood for the formal tea social event. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson» Purchase reprints of this photo.
McCarthy said even as she lives in Little Falls, she kept her membership at the church because the people were so supportive of her through difficult times.
"They are a wonderful church," McCarthy said.
Rowland Joiner helped the gathering discover the nuances of teas.
The fundraising event raises money to serve the poor. Organizers said in previous years, Quantum Connections was able to help women in West Africa gain an education and better their lives. This year's event was designed to raise funds to help with raw materials to build a clinic.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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