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Intergenerational Valentine’s Day event celebrates women’s friendships

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

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service

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

Church member, Janie Farr, and her soon to be granddaughter-in-law, Emerald Banas. (Photo by Betty White)

“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, Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina, a continuing care retirement community located 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 Summerville Presbyterian 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

Luncheon guests, Myrtle Myrick and Dot Burrows, from The Village at Summerville, Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina. (Photo by Betty White.)

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 for us to affirm the reality of a love more powerful than hate, hostility, and fear.”

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