Tea social brings community together


by Tessa Lengeling, news editor

Winter is here and that means warm beverages next to the fireplace. What better place to stay cozy on a snowy Saturday morning than Holy Grounds coffee shop with a cup of free tea?

Simpson College Interfaith and Holy Grounds teamed up to host a tea social for the Simpson community. Interfaith and Holy Grounds are both under the Religious Life Community (RLC), and wanted to bring together people of all faiths or non-faiths.

Victoria Halloran, Holy Grounds coffee shop manager, said, “The idea originated with the fact that RLC likes to collaborate with different groups.”

They did just that.

“We thought it would be fun to get Interfaith involved with the coffee shop because we are the two non-traditional parts of RLC,” Halloran said. “We don’t have the main Methodist focus.”

A tea social was chosen to bring the two groups together to try different teas from Gong Fu Tea in Des Moines.

“Tea has played an important role in different cultures and religions,” Halloran said. “We wanted to do a tea ceremony, but that requires special equipment and most places do it in their shops and won’t come to you unless you pay a lot of money.”

Halloran and MacKenzie Bills, Interfaith intern, wanted to host a tea social first to gage interest in the idea. There were over a dozen people in attendance, including faculty.

“We might do an actual tea ceremony event at Gong Fu Tea in Des Moines in the spring,” Bills said. “Tea ceremonies come from Eastern traditions, especially Japan. They have a special teapot and the ceremony differs for what time of year it is and what is being honored.”

The tea social offered five different teas to try. A black, holiday blend, green, white, oolong and herbal tea were available.

“Warm beverages this time of year bring people together and it’s fun to see people meet and bond over that,” Halloran said.

Bills and Halloran consulted with Gong Fu Tea to decide which teas to provide and give participants a different experience.

“I think it’s great we have big concerts and events, but I’m a huge fan of the quaint events like this,” Halloran said. “It’s cozy and you can have more intimate conversations and one-on-one time with people.”

Holy Grounds serves tea and coffee daily. Coffee refills are 75 cents and all workers are volunteers.