Many of these events would work equally well as fundraisers or just for having a good time and getting better acquainted. Mix and match these ideas to suit you, inviting any variety of participants: regular group members only, mothers/daughters, entire families of group members, all church women, all church members, a women’s group from another local congregation, or friends without a church home. Be sure to publicize your events well in advance.
Movie night with a twist: Borrow a big-screen TV and set it up outside. Set out picnic blankets, pillows, and lawn chairs, light some citronella candles, pass buckets of popcorn, and watch a family video.
Stargazing night during the meteor season, with thermoses of hot cider to share. Bring available binoculars and/or telescopes and invite someone to help identify constellations and tell the stories behind their names (check a local science museum for constellation maps).
Church-wide art show, possibly showcasing works by women and girls. You might include framed poems or other published writing, plus music, drama, or dance performances. Afterwards, selected visual art works could be sold in a silent auction benefiting a worthy cause.
Finals fun: Surprise college students with pizza gift certificates (or even deliver hot pizzas yourselves). Other care package favorites: Poptarts, pens, phone cards for long distance calls, blank computer disks, quarters for laundry, highlighters, microwave popcorn, cocoa packets.
Summer socials: Provide strawberry shortcake or watermelon, along with seed-spitting contests and artistic watermelon carving. Or let everyone take a turn at the crank, making homemade ice cream.
Learn and Laugh, an evening or Saturday class in a skill—such as canning or crocheting—which younger women may not have learned.
Quilt show: Drape quilts and wallhangings owned by group members one by one over the church pews as their stories are told. Avoid making this a sewing “work” night. Celebrate the artistry and heritage of the quilts.
Business opportunity day, in which church members can promote their home businesses, whether they provide goods or services. Hold during a special Sunday morning coffee break—perhaps on Labor Day weekend.
Ministry expo: In conjunction with a potluck or congregational meeting, invite each church ministry to set up a table so that members can learn about and volunteer to serve in their ministry of choice. Include a table for your women’s group, displaying photos of your activities.
Swap-O-Rama, a “free” rummage sale. Set up on Friday evening, with signs on different tables showing what goes where; let people come and set out the items they are giving away. Designate some supervisors for Saturday, when anyone who brought something can come and take. Make it a fun atmosphere by having music playing and snacks available. At the end of the day put together care packages for anyone you know who could use certain items, and donate the rest to charity.
Tie and Pie night, in which adults and children learn how to tie comforters, roll bandages, and bake pies (served a la mode to all workers).
Card/tape ministry: Send personalized cards on birthdays and to the sick, plus cards of welcome to new members and encouragement for those struggling. Alternatively, make cassette tapes to send to mission workers and other absent members of your congregation, including personal greetings, readings, storytelling, singing.
Meal ministry: Provide food for new mothers, the sick, or those bereaved. Be sure to call first and ask how you can help.