NT-NL Synodical Women’s Organization Election

At the SWO convention in October 2018, we will be electing new executive officers and board members.  All positions will be open for election or re-election.  At this time the president, treasurer, and at least one board member’s position will be vacated.  And there may be others.  But elections will be held for all positions on the board.  It is an honor to serve this organization as a member of the board.

Rank Order Process

Resources

LWR Quilt & Kit Ministry Guide 2018-2019

Ladies who are quilters and kit makers, please have your W-ELCA president/contact person order the new guides.  You can go to lwr.org or lwr@lwr.org to order these guides, or call 800.597.5972 for help in getting the new guides in your hands so you know about any changes that have been made.

Scheduled Gather Bible Studies

Winter 2018:  Multiple meanings:  Learning from other interpretations by Mark Allan Powell.

January:  Session one – Washing hands with distant hearts (March 7: 1-12)

February:  Session two – Prepare the Way of the Lord (Luke 3: 3-17)

March:  Session three – The Good Samaritan (Luke 10-30-37)

April:  Session four – The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-20)

Women of the ELCA – Past, Present and Future

Women of the ELCA – Past, Present and Future

Through the various stages of my life, my participation in Women of the ELCA has ebbed and flowed. I joined a circle and participated in making crafts for the fall bazaar when my children were young. In a time of flow as older participants stepped back, I moved into leadership roles. After becoming overcommitted, I stepped back to let others take the lead. This was a time of ebb.

The last fifteen months has once again been a time of flow. I had decided to learn more about our organization at the synodical level, so I attended the convention in Waco. I sent in my registration. I received a phone call asking that I consider a nomination to the SWO board. As I was the only one from my congregation attending the business meeting, I became the delegate. Before I knew it, I was at my first board meeting. 2017 was quite a learning experience.

I have met a number of amazing women who are excited about ministry in and through this thing we call W-ELCA. Actions taken and words spoken at the congregational, synodical and even church-wide levels have caused me to reflect on where we have been, where we are and what our future looks like.

Martin Luther shook up the world 500 years ago, and almost from the start of this thing we call the Lutheran church, there have been bold women of faith in ministry. At the fall retreat, we learned more about Katharina von Bora, better known as Katie, and the work she did at Luther’s side. Throughout the history of the church, women have been there, whether or not their exact roles have been recorded. Like Katie, they helped to provide welcoming and comfortable places for the men of the church to discuss, learn and teach. They supported and taught each other, raised the next generation in faith through their examples, and led the way in outreach ministry as teachers, nurses and missionaries.

Our past is full of strong women active in ministry. From the history page of Women of the ELCA website:

“Lutheran women in the United States have been gathering in mission since the 1800s, and we owe much to our foremothers who responded to God’s call, created a place and lived out a purpose when women had no voice in the church.”

When women were mostly homemakers, they would gather in home and churches for Bible study and ministry projects. Those who felt a special call to ministry but were excluded for the seminary and pulpit, directed their energy into leadership roles of the women’s organizations. They made quilts and kits, fed people, led studies and classes for women and raised money for community and global outreach.

Our present situation has come about over the last fifty or so years. The model of homemakers doing lay ministry, while it does still exist, is falling apart. More women have jobs and careers than don’t. More and more women answer the call to ministry through seminary and ordination since they have been welcomed to the pulpit. Their children are busy in multiple activities that require parents, usually moms, to be driving to multiple locations each afternoon, evening and weekend.  Ask a 30 something woman to come to a retreat for a whole weekend, and you won’t get much interest. They are too busy, too tired and too stressed. They don’t want another thing added to their schedule. As the average of our organization participants is beyond retirement age, what does the future look like for W-ELCA?

Looking to the future of this organization, I went to the next generation and asked questions. Specifically, I asked my 31- and 26-year old daughters. They watched my activity in the church as they grew up. It gave them an example of service, but their lives are different from mine. They are single with careers, where I was married and staying home with children. I asked them what the biggest hurdles are to their involvement. Their answer is scheduling. They want to be involved at church, and specifically W-ELCA, but they are having a difficult time finding church homes that offer Bible study, ministry, and fellowship opportunities that mesh with their work week. I asked about synodical events. They wanted more ministry work and less lectures. For example, if we have someone from Lutheran World Relief speak, we could build kits or tie quilts as well. Our activities at the retreat in 2015 are a good example as well.

Look at your church calendar. Are there circles that meet in the evenings? What about quilting or kit making on the weekends? I am aware of the catch-22 here. We can’t have a program that meets the needs of younger women without younger women, and we won’t get younger women involved without a program that meets their needs. While many of us raise money for community outreach, how often do we step off church grounds and help put those funds to work? I know I am guilty of just writing a check. My younger daughter pointed out that her generation wants to be actively involved, to do more than get together to talk and raise money. I don’t have the answer to what our future will be, but if we don’t make changes that get the next generation involved, there won’t be an organized Women of the ELCA for them to join.

Leslie Jenkins
First Lutheran, Longview, TX

10th Triennial :  ALL ANEW

“I AM ABOUT TO DO A NEW THING; NOW IT SPRINGS FORTH, DO YOU NOT PERCEIVE IT?  I WILL MAKE A WAY IN THE WILDERNESS AND RIVERS IN THE DESERT.”  Isaiah 43:19

As I was reflecting on the Triennial, I likened it to our youth going to Church Camp or the Youth Gathering.  I say that because in all these events, it’s like you’re in a bubble – away from daily demands and routines; you’re allowed to fully focus without all the worldly distractions coming at you from all directions!  You’re able to truly LISTEN – listen to others, to the Word, to the Presenters, to the Holy Spirit.  And then there’s also the ability to ponder and process it all in this special setting. For example, after one of my workshops, (The Practicing Life: Simple Acts, Sacred Living) I just felt the need to get away, to seize the moment and let it all soak in.  Sooo, I bought my favorite cappuccino,- white chocolate mocha with raspberry-  found a table outside the Convention Center and sat down to enjoy the delightful weather (79’) and let the experience penetrate my soul. It was a special time for me.

The Triennial is truly an experience that is hard to explain- put into words. The Workshops, Servant Events and Exhibits were excellent.  And Bishop Eaton- she is Awesome! We are so fortunate to have her as our Bishop at this time.  She speaks with such wisdom and strength and yet with compassion and kindness and firmness.  She is funny – very witty – and so real, so down to earth.  Praise God for this special leadership of the ELCA!

The Opening Worship prepared us for the days to come and the Closing Worship sent us out into the world feeling restored and challenged.   This quote from Angela Kwabeb caught my attention:  “God of the UNIVERSE blesses EVERYONE.  God cannot be God of the Universe if the seeds of His love don’t fall on everybody.”  GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!   It’s not just  me, or the Lutheran Church, or the United States that He blesses – we are just one of the many parts of God’s Universe.  We are ALL part of God’s Universe!

We were also reminded that ALL ANEW is not just a moment or event but a process.  And as I left Minneapolis, things did seem different as I looked at them All ANEW.

Ann Hanley
Board Member, NT-NL SWO

All About Thankofferings

As is the tradition at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sherman, the Women’s ThankOffering Worship Service was held on November 26th – always the Sunday following Thanksgiving.  It was not only an opportunity for the ladies to lead worship, but also share who they are as Women of the ELCA.

They are a busy group all year long – quilting, assembling baby kits and school kits, sponsoring a Bazaar and many other things – which included a $500 donation to the Katie Fund in honor of Sue Sappenfield, a $200 offering to the 10th Triennial Gathering, and supporting the five ladies from Trinity who attended the Triennial by paying half of their expenses (registration, air fare, and lodging).   A thank-you was extended to all the ladies who make all these things happen! It was also an opportunity to thank the congregation for the many ways it supports all their projects.

The service focused on ALL ANEW – the theme of the 10th Triennial Gathering which was held this past summer – and sharing experiences from the event.  A slide show from the Triennial played before the service and there was a display in the Fellowship Hall highlighting events.  Women of all ages – (middle school to retirees) shared their gifts and talents by participating in many different ways to make it a beautiful worship service – To God Be The Glory!  The music was amazing – enhancing the messages delivered.  We sang some wonderful songs including special music for communion – We Come to Your Feast.

The ladies who attended the Triennial were so moved by Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s sermon at the opening worship service, they wanted to share it with the congregation.  So the video of Bishop Eaton’s sermon was shown as part of the service.  It was a special opportunity for all to see her from the pulpit and hear her powerful message.

What a blessing to be part of Women of the ELCA and this Women’s ThankOffering Service! It was indeed a celebration of God’s Love and God’s Love in Action!

Ann Hanley

Trinity Lutheran Church, Sherman, TX