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09 December 2019

Review: Tea & Thread—Portraits of middle eastern women far from home


Bathgate, Sally & Gulbrandsen, Katrina Flett. tea & thread: portraits of middle eastern women far from home. Australia: Grace Abounding Books, 2017.

Review by Evangeline Hester
Communications Assistant at CMS Australia

Tea & Thread is a heart-warming kaleidoscope of stories from women of diverse cultural backgrounds. They offer shards of their lives in reflections of grief, crafts of love, recipes of hospitality and photographs that portray the truth of their lives in an unfamiliar country. Flett Gulbransen writes, “We hope that these stories will kindle your openness to refugees and new immigrant families in your own communities; that you will be encouraged to take action—to offer hospitality, to listen, to include, and to start new conversations and connections.”

Hear stories of women far from home while learning pieces of their heritage. Learn how to palm weave from an Iraqi-Armenian believer, sample half a dozen recipes for tea in Lebanon, and read about a special technique for Mjederra (Lentils and rice with crispy onion) from a woman who has been exiled from her home culture since birth. Each story is vibrantly illustrated with portraits of these women’s families, homes, and cultures.

Tea & Thread feels like being warmly invited into the home of another culture, and teaches empathy and curiosity for the many people in our own suburbs and cities who are far from home, a cross-cultural mission field in our own backyards. A great gift idea for a friend this Christmas.

Sally Bathgate is married to Ben and is involved with MENTAC. MENTAC is a CMS-run program in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane which aims to help people explore whether long-term cross-cultural ministry is right for them.