A women’s prison isn’t the most likely setting for a ladies’ tea, but that’s where the women of CrossPoint Christian Reformed Church in Chino, Calif., host a tea every year.
The annual event is part of the one-to-one mentoring program that the women participate in year-round.
“The tea is attended by both the mentor and the mentee as well as prison officials,” said Danell Czarnecki, the church’s director of ministries. “A planning team from CrossPoint decorates, plans, prepares, and serves the food, and the inmates provide the entertainment.”
The idea came about when the women’s ministry of CrossPoint was feeling challenged to bless others as they had been blessed. “Though God had been good to our events, the women felt that they wanted to take those gifts of event planning and hospitality out of the walls of the church and to women who would not otherwise have someone or something to make them feel loved and special,” said Czarnecki.
Each year about 250 people attend the themed event, and many are inspired to get involved in mentoring. Dianne Van Diest, a member of CrossPoint and a mentor, said of her mentee, “We have formed a close relationship, and I am so blessed to have met her. She has actually helped me with difficult situations in my life more than I believe I have mentored her! She has given me great insight into how I can reach the troubled students I work with, because she was one of them years ago.”