Well, I found out something about it:
A “formal” tea was open to the congregation. This also allowed children to participate in an event perhaps very formal for them, but in familiar surroundings (the church building). This was not a blue jean party but a dress-up affair. Candles were used to give a soft light; children who played the piano were asked to play for background music for short periods of time (15 minutes). This gave more children an opportunity to participate. A silver tea service was used with a silver punch bowel, etc. To keep the Advent theme, Advent candles and purple or blue were used for decorating along with lace. Several teams of volunteers were used to serve the refreshments. Many people were asked to bake a little bit of food rather than have a few people do so much. This made the “tea” belong to everyone rather than just a few members of the congregation.
We had small seating areas so small group visiting was comfortable. The tea lasted longer that way!
This activity was started because so often many young people get busy with Christmas fun and activities and forget that not everyone is invited to parties, and that Christmas can be a lonely time for the elderly or those who are alone. To not have any party to attend during the holidays would be very sad.
We accomplished fellowship and real visiting.
Resources used included personal invitations and phone calls. No open invitation was extended, although everyone was invited. Special emphasis was given to those who were elderly, alone, or ill.
I gather that at each table, someone is assigned to serve the tea and present some seasonal scriptural teachings, being “Martha” to the “Mary’s” there. Sounds like it could be a great idea!