Anglican church plays host to vintage tea party fundraiser

Ryan Cooke
Published on May 24, 2014
Wayne Renshaw and his wife, Janet Dowell-Renshaw, donned their best old-school apparel on Saturday afternoon, as the St. John’s Anglican Church hosted its second annual Downtown Abbey Afternoon Tea – a fundraiser for the church in the style of the hit TV show, Downton Abbey.
Ryan Cooke/Truro Daily News

TRURO – The St. John’s Anglican Church was abuzz on Saturday afternoon, with a shindig straight out of the early 20th Century.

More than a hundred people flocked to the church’s upstairs hall, decked out in flashy, English-style garb to take in a tea part.

The event, labeled Downtown Abbey Afternoon Tea, was the second annual installment of the church’s fundraiser in the style of the hit British television show, Downton Abbey.

“This is a lot more than we were expecting,” said Adele Stokoe, one of the organizers for the event. “We sold 85 tickets last year, and then this year, it just took off.”

Nearing 3:30 p.m., with a half-hour left to the party, people were still showing up.

“We’re soon going to have to start looking somewhere else to make sandwiches,” Stokoe laughed. “It’s a great bonding experience though, for the church and the public. It’s fun, it’s light-hearted, and it’s for a good cause.”

The cause for the afternoon was to raise money to add an elevator to the church.

“The way it is right now, the building is just not very accessible,” said Rev. Lori Ramsey. “We have a lot of seniors in our congregation, and it’s just not overly convenient for them.”

Ramsey herself was decked out in a dress and old-fashioned jewelry, taking part any way she could in the day’s event.

“It’s a really fun way to let your hair down, dress up and do something good for the church and the community.”

Sipping tea at a table in the corner of the room, Janet Dowell-Renshaw and her husband Wayne were dressed to the nines. Janet wore a floral dress, Victorian hat and a fur draped around her shoulders, while her husband donned a suit, tie and fedora.

“It’s like time travel,” Wayne laughed.

“It really is,” Janet added. “It’s fun to be able to think outside the time you’re living in.”

Last year’s event managed to raise enough money to place a defibrillator in the church.

More than 140 people attended the event, with tickets being sold for $8 in advance and $10 at the door.