By Rebekah Martin
Associate Editor

Ladies of the Hopewell United Methodist Church and surrounding area gathered together last Saturday for the 10th anniversary of the Sweet Tea and Jesus luncheon. Carolyn McConnell started the annual luncheon in 2006, after attending a similar event at Pine Grove Methodist Church. Due to health concerns and the magnitude of the work involved, this year’s event was McConnell’s last year as organizer, and she said she is unsure if the event will continue in the future.
More than 60 women from the area celebrated the anniversary of Sweet Tea and Jesus.
“Our mission has been to teach by inspiration and example, as we work together and strive to meet the everyday challenges of being Christian women and mothers in a sinful world,” McConnell said.
The program opened with greetings from McConnell, and Danielle Goff followed with a brief devotional thought. A special music program was provided by Mary Slaton. Ann Hillyer, who was the event’s inaugural speaker in 2006, was the guest speaker, and presented those in attendance with a message on ‘Reflections.’ Hillyer challenged the group to draw near to God and absorb his word in their lives. “It takes time, it takes perseverance, it takes rearranging your day, rearranging your life, it takes rearranging your heart and your mind to understand that the privilege of drawing near to the living God, the creator of Heaven and earth is ours,” Hillyer said. “ As we draw near to Him, we don’t just reflect the Word of God, the spirit of God. We absorb the word of God. There is a big difference between reflecting God and absorbing God.”
Annette Edwards has attended the annual event as often as possible over the last decade. Edwards drove from her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina to attend this year’s Sweet Tea and Jesus luncheon. Edwards said she travelled the great distance because she loves the messages and camaraderie the event provides. Edwards went on to later present McConnell with a plaque in honor of the hard work she has put into organizing the event since its beginning.
The program ended with a potluck lunch and door prizes.