4:50 PM / Wednesday February 19, 2020

5 May 2013

Sunday best! Philadelphia church’s Annual Tea celebrates African American church tradition

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May 5, 2013 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: “Hat Promenade” celebrates Black Church tradition at Mother Bethel’s Annual Tea


Historic Mother Bethel AME Presents “Pearls Of Wisdom” tea this Saturday (5/4) from 1-4pm featuring women aged 9-90. This inter-generational celebration will showcase talent and fashion including fascinators, wide-brimmed hats, pearls & lace gloves. [Also in the SUN’s Church Calendar]


Historically, African Americans have worn large, colorfully adorned church hats as part of their “Sunday Best” – a saying that dates back to their ancestors when dressing up for church was one of the few opportunities African Americans had to remove domestic aprons and house dresses.



These drab garments were replaced by bright colors, fancy shoes and elaborate hats that would stand out in a crowd. Style and sophistication would rule on Sundays when African American women went to church.


The annual tea at Mother Bethel looks to embrace this tradition at one of the annual, premiere events in Philadelphia. On Saturday May 4, 2013, from 1pm-4pm, More than 150 African American women and young girls will don church hats, lace gloves, and pearls.


Men and young boys will wear tuxedos, bow ties, and maybe even tails, for Mother Bethel AME Church’s annual tea “Pearls of Wisdom.” The tea will take place at the church, located at 419 South 6th Street and will be a formal tea with three courses: bread, savory, and sweets with food presentations by Simply Sweet Philly, Just To Serve You, and It Takes a Cake. Tea Sommelier: Whispering Leaves Herb & Sip Shop Cafe will cater both hot and cold teas.


There will be live performances by local pianist and vocalist Dena Underwood; dramatic readings by comedian Najwah Abdul Sabur; and singing and dancing by the Mother Bethel teenagers and youth. There will also be the famous “Hat Promenade” featuring all of the women in attendance sporting their fancy chapeaus. In the African American tradition, the act of wearing a hat during worship has its roots in scripture (1 Corinthians Chapter 11) where the Apostle Paul writes about showing respect for God by covering your head. 


For more information about Mother Bethel’s Annual Tea “Pearls Of Wisdom” this Saturday May 4, 2013, at the church at 1pm call (215) 925-0616. All media inquiries should be directed to Leslie Patterson-Tyler at (609) 247-2632 or via email at [email protected]


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