The Meaning of Tea
This article was submitted for publication by The Rev. Matteo Carboni, Incumbent of the Parish of Humboldt, Diocese of Saskatoon.
On Sunday, September 18, 2016, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Humboldt will host an Ecumenical Tea Social. The Tea will conclude the events of Humboldt’s first Pride Week.
As many people know, the world wide Anglican Communion is grappling with discussions about including LGBTQ2S people in the life of the Church. For this reason, to hear that an Anglican congregation is hosting an event for Pride Week may bewilder people.
So, why is an Anglican church hosting a Tea Social for Pride Week? The reason is Tradition. The Anglican community at St. Andrew’s has been a part of Humboldt since the city’s founding, in 1905; and, it seems that they have been hosting Teas for just as long. For one member of St. Andrew’s church council, Teas are a local tradition. “Teas are just something we do,” she told me.
Traditions are those actions we repeatedly do that reflect our values and beliefs, and hosting Tea Socials are no exception. According to the church council, these events reflect three values held by the Humboldt congregation: (1) welcoming people into our lives and homes; (2) promoting good relationships between people; and, (3) helping to create a safe community where all people can live.
Because we are all created by God, we have a responsibility to uphold the innate dignity we share as children of God. This means being kind and generous to our neighbours.
The Teas, the church council hopes, allow these kinds of relationships to blossom and grow. The aim of Pride Week, as I understand it, is to create safe communities in which all people, regardless of sexual and gender orientation, can live. In some communities, the Anglican Church has unfortunately played a role in creating an environment of homophobia and transphobia. We hope that, in our way, we can help to reverse this and bring people together.