When my mother, a youthful 88, poured her last cup of tea as president of her local Anglican Church women’s organization last year after 19 years at the helm, the group also went into retirement.
Many of its former members had died or were in nursing homes by then, and there was no one able or willing to take on the rigours of making sandwiches for funerals and organizing fundraising bazaars. After more than a century, the organization that had been home to generations of volunteers was no more.
It is a story being played out across the country, especially in smaller communities with older populations. Church ladies are, literally, a dying breed, and if you have ever watched them at work, or enjoyed the occasional cup of tea offered by one, you will share in a nostalgia and admiration of their generosity and work ethic.