Sunday Afternoon Tea

Sunday Afternoon Tea

It started about 1922 on Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea. A few blocks from Lake Michigan, a few friends and acquaintances gathered to discuss topics of interest. The Chicago hosts, a husband and wife physician team known for social activism such as missionary work, women's health issues, and health education for the common man, shared a phenomena that they had been observing for years. The tea goers submitted questions. The papers came into being in answer to their questions. The executed process was only understood by the celestials that produced the record. No human fully understood the process, no matter how hard they tried to figure it out. The best explanation comes from the book itself.

Throughout the years, people came and went in the group that met for Sunday tea, some staying the whole duration. The group was cheerful and content. When break time came, they sauntered downstairs on the bustling street to buy a soda or snack. People brought their children. Their children brought their children; occasionally celebrating a birthday or a picnic. When they began, no one had crossed the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane. They met during the Roaring Twenties, the Stock Market crash of 1929, the Great Depression, and World War II. They never realized the full importance of their Sunday tea.

A team from one family took on the responsibility of keeping the papers secure, typing the papers, giving people a chance to study them during the week, and getting them ready for typesetting. This family was called the Contact Commission.

The group that assembled for tea on Sunday afternoons was called The Forum, a term used in the Chautaqua Movement. For fifteen years the Forum members all contributed money to have the book printed. The Forum ended in May 1942.

The Forum members formed a study group called The Seventy in 1940 and 70 people signed up, hence the name. They proceed to educated themselves on the papers in their entirety. They wanted to get ready for the book's eventual publication. In the first decade hardly anyone bought the book. People had a difficult time successfully introducing the book to their friends. Since its existence was disclosed only by word of mouth, it required a lot of patience.

The people who attended the Sunday tea never wanted their name associated with the book. They were merely humble observers of something extraordinary. They knew that the revelators had made their path natural; full of fond memories. Forum gatherings were noted for good humor and congeniality. One Forum member made the analogy--when you get a gift from delivered to your front door, you don't think about the delivery person, you concentrate on the person that sent the gift. Since the revelation is in the form of a book that can be purchased at a local bookstore or checked out at the public library, a reader could ascribe to any religion, any political party, any hobby or interest, or any earthly profession. A reader of a book decides its merits. There was no official interpretation.

It was simple then and still is today. People still join together in homes to discuss the book over a hot cup of tea, pondering life's ultimate questions and sharing their spiritual lives with friends.