Today in the Mission Yearbook

Intergenerational Valentine’s Day event celebrates women’s friendships

First (Scots) Presbyterian Women share God’s love with local retirement community residents

The last thing that Laura Raffle wants to do on Valentine’s Day is have dinner out at a crowded restaurant.

“Although we of course recognize the holiday, I find Valentine’s Day to be a bit overrated in terms of romantic love,” says Raffle, a member of the 1,300-member First (Scots) Presbyterian Church in historic downtown Charleston, S.C. “What I really love is the fact that it’s a fun day for my kids to get a special treat and to make Valentine’s Day cards, especially my four-year-old daughter, who is just learning how to write. For me it’s all about showing my love to my kids and my friends, especially my women friends.”

Raffle, who is a big fan of “Galentine’s Day”—the Feb. 13 “holiday” that originated on the television comedy Parks and Recreation as a day for women to celebrate their friendships with women—is in just the right church.

For over ten years, the Presbyterian Women (PW) of First Scots have hosted an annual Valentine’s Day luncheon on Feb. 14. While the event has often featured a missional component, the highlight of this year’s luncheon was welcoming and honoring 16 women from the Village at Summerville—one of the Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina— a continuing care retirement community 30 minutes from downtown Charleston.

“For us as women, tying the holiday back to the church is a wonderful way to show our love for each other as women,” says Raffle, who serves as historian and secretary for the church’s PW board. “I had the privilege of escorting some of the women from the Village into the lunch. They were so happy and festive. One woman even had a flower in her hair. It was beautiful.”

Following the enjoyment of a skillfully-crafted Valentine’s themed menu prepared by chef Nancy Hunsicker—accompanied by celestial music from harpist Susie Hyman—the 60 PW members and their guests from the Village at Summerville played table games, laughed and celebrated one another.

“It was really lovely to witness the conversation and fellowship among the intergenerational crowd,” Raffle says. “Truly it was a joy to see so many women come together to celebrate our love for Christ and our love for each other.”

In his invocation and blessing, the Rev. Dr. Joseph S. Harvard, the church’s transitional pastor, emphasized exactly that.

“We pause on this Valentine’s Day to celebrate the reality of God’s love,” he offered as he prayed. “Scripture tells us that God’s love has the power to cast out fear and bring us together. What an important time [this is] for us to affirm the reality of a love more powerful than hate, hostility, and fear.”

Emily Enders Odom, mission communications strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: Presbyterian Women

Let us join in prayer for:

First (Scots) Presbyterian Church Staff

Joseph S. Harvard, transitional pastor
James T. Rogers, associate pastor
Margaret F. Beamguard, associate pastor
Jennifer McPherson, minister of music and organist
Ricard Bordas, director of choral music
Deanna Barteet, church administrator

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Margaret Boone, PMA                                                                  
Karen Bosc, PMA

Let us pray:

Merciful God, thank you for loving us and calling each of us by name. Help us to see each person we encounter as your beloved creation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 27; 147:12-20
First Reading Jeremiah 20:7-11 (12-13) 14-18
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 10:14-17; 11:27-32
Gospel Reading John 17:1-11 (12-26)
Evening Psalms 126; 102