Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More than a Mere Trifle

Summited & written by Louisa Beckett 

All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Jensen Beach hosted a delightful “Tea with Mother Goose and Friends” on April 13. Ninety-six people (many of them women wearing elaborate hats) attended this highly popular annual event. The tea party raised more than $2,800, which will benefit All Saints’ T.R.U.E (Toward the Relief of Unusual Emergencies) Fund, an outreach program that helps individuals and families in crisis, as well as the restoration fund for this 105-year-old, Carpenter Gothic church.

Photo Credit: Louisa Beckett
All Saints’ Annual Tea got its start a decade ago, when British-born parishioner Iris Langran hosted a traditional English high tea for her church’s rector, the Rev. W. Frisby Hendricks III, and members of the Vestry. Father Frisby, as he is affectionately known, commented, “I wish we could do this at the church.” The rest is delicious history.

This year’s tea was the result of a church-wide effort between many of All Saints’ ministries and talented individuals. The “Mother Goose and Friends” theme was beautifully illustrated by an array of wall hangings depicting Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Women’s Fellowship member Diane Dougiello spent several months creating the artwork, which included a near-life-size Humpty Dumpty atop the proverbial wall.

One section of the parish hall was devoted to a large “Chinese auction” featuring an assortment of goods ranging from picnic baskets and beach paraphernalia to an antique Shirley Temple doll. Also on display was a hand-sewn “Teacup Quilt” that was donated by a parishioner as a raffle prize. Langran, Chairperson of the Annual Tea, awarded the prizes to lucky winners during the event.

The tea party was a three-course affair served by Father Frisby, the “MaĆ®tre d’”, and 23 other volunteers in black tie. They poured countless cups of tea – brewed to perfection by “tea guru” Bill Winsemann – from an eclectic assortment of teapots. The guests, seated at tables that were each laid with a different china pattern, nibbled crustless finger sandwiches, followed by cookies and scones with Devonshire clotted cream. Five volunteers, the “scullery maids”, labored unseen in the parish hall kitchen filling three-tiered trays with the tasty treats.

The highlight of the All Saints’ Annual Tea was the Trifle Walk. One by one, servers bearing large glass footed bowls filled with trifle, a British dessert made with layers of sponge cake, custard and fruit, paraded down the center of the room. Guests at the tea later agreed the creamy delicacy tasted every bit as good as it looked.