Our Mission and Purpose
To mobilize women to act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ.
As a community of women
created in the image of God,
called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and
empowered by the Holy Spirit,
We commit ourselves to
grow in faith,
affirm our gifts,
support one another in our callings,
engage in ministry and action, and
promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and
Who Are the Women of the ELCA?
Women of the ELCA is a community of women within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) committed to growing spiritually, to praying, to studying the Bible, and to maturing in faith. Similar to the structure of the ELCA, here are 3 expressions of WELCA: local units in congregations, organizations at the synod level refered to as SWO, and Churchwide
Our local expressions are called units. Most units are based in congregations, called congregational units. Some are intercongregational. We also have special units, which are formed in places or situations that do not provide a practical means for congregational affiliation (for example, a college campus). Within the unit, regular meetings take place and plans are made as women decide how to carry out the mission of the organization.
Some units are composed of several small groups, often called circles. There is no limit to the number of small groups a unit can have. Within the unit or within small groups, Bible studies, special programming, social ministry projects, and other learning and fellowship opportunities take place.
The individual participants who bring their energy and vision into the life of their unit are the front lines of the organization.
Conferences are groupings of congregations within a synodical organization. Conferences gather for leadership development, training, and ministry. Conference planning committees and coordinators are important links between units and the Synodical Women’s Organization.
Synodical Women’s Organization (SWO)
Women of the ELCA’s synodical expression comprises 64 synodical women’s organizations across the United States and the Caribbean that parallel the synods of the ELCA. Each Synodical Womens Organization (or SWO) has a board whose members are elected at the SWO’s annual or biennial convention by voting members from units. Each unit sends a voting member to its SWO convention. You can participate in a SWO convention whether or not you participate in Women of the ELCA in your congregation.
The NT-NL Mission Conferences are networks of congregations grouped together by region. within the mission area
Within the Churchwide expression of Women of the ELCA, the Triennial Convention constitutes our highest legislative body. Voting Members to this convention, held every three years, are elected at the SWO conventions.
The Churchwide Executive Board, elected at the Triennial Convention, serves Women of the ELCA between conventions by carrying out the decisions of the Triennial Convention and by conducting the business of the Churchwide Organization.
Women of the ELCA’s programming flows from the organization’s mission, the triennial theme, and the organization’s goals, which are:
(1) to achieve meaningful and relevant intergenerational connections;
(2) to build communities that are cohesive, diverse, dynamic, compassionate and just, based on common interests, concerns and commitments; and
(3) to authentically name, voice, and respond to issues affecting women through awareness, education, action, and advocacy.
The Chuchwide Staff, led by an Executive Director, develops and implements resources, opportunities and ways in which the mission and triennial theme are carried out and the goals met. The Churchwide Staff is based in Chicago, in the ELCA Churchwide Offices.
WHAT DOES OUR LOGO MEAN?
Our logo, with the cross, water and a white lily, identifies women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as children of God; baptized, forgiven, adopted into God’s family, full of grace and hope in eternal life. It is a reminder of the growth, beauty, and vitality that rises out of that life-giving baptismal water. It is also a reminder of the mission of the church to “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).