Seasonal wreath workshops become major fellowship event for Grace

NORTH AUGUSTA—The women of Grace United Methodist Church have discovered a new way to fellowship: making seasonal wreaths.

The idea was brought to Grace by their church secretary, Vicki, who saw a similar event invitation on Facebook. She promptly sought permission to schedule a workshop for the fall. It wasn’t long before the signup list was double what was anticipated.

“I thought if we could get 15 ladies to come together to learn how to make a fall-themed wreath then we could call the workshop a success,” Mary Chris Newell, workshop coordinator said. “But within a week we had over 30 on the list, and I was close to panic-mode tracking down supplies!”

Once Susannah Wesley Circle leader Michele Chiswell realized most of her Sunday school friends and the majority of her UMW Circle would be participating, she knew it could become an outreach for her Circle. Chiswell remembers thinking, “Once all the details (for scheduling the workshop) had been worked through, I realized that most of the Susannah Wesley Circle members were already signed up for the class, so why not go ahead and make this our October meeting? From there it morphed into providing refreshments (for the event) and promoting the UMW Circle to ladies both in and outside of our church and Circle. “

The first workshop was held on a Tuesday evening in October, and the women each made a pumpkin wreath. Cost for those participating was only $15, and those who just wanted to attend but not make a wreath were encouraged to come as well.

“My goal was to keep the cost down as low as we possibly could so that no one would be discouraged from attending because of the price,” Newell said.

As more and more registered for the class, the event was moved from a smaller wing of the church to the Wesley Center. More than 55 women ended up attending.

“None of us ever really could have predicted what ended up happening,” Newell said. “Church members started inviting friends, neighbors, even co-workers to come participate. Mothers brought their daughters and granddaughters. It was an amazing thing to be a part of and watch it ripple out from what we intended it to be into a way to bring ladies across our community together.”

Chiswell agreed: “It was a great evening of fun and fellowship. The Circle ladies provided a dessert buffet and beverages which gave the class a more festive feeling, almost like a ladies night out.”

Free childcare was also provided by the Susannah Wesley Circle.

“We always include a brief devotion time and prayer during the workshop and make sure that anyone who is searching for a church home knows that they are welcome at Grace,” Newell added.

Follow up events have been equally successful, with more than 45 gathering to make deco mesh Christmas trees and 25 getting together over Thanksgiving weekend to make a poinsettia wreath. In January, the group made a winter wreath complete with snowflakes.

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