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We are sisters gathering at table

by Phyllis Wade

When the women at the Florida-Bahamas *SWO convention elected me president, I shared memories of family gatherings at my maternal grandparents’ farm in Alabama.

Some of my fondest memories include gathering around Granny’s kitchen table after everyone had eaten. It was around that kitchen table that my mom, aunts and grandmother shared their joys, their sorrows, their laughter and their tears.

Around that table, they supported and encouraged each other. It was an honor to be old enough to get an invitation to join them.

Around that table, the women supported and encouraged each other. Click To Tweet

As a young mother, it was around that table that I received advice—sometimes unsolicited—but always with love. When my oldest was leaving home for the first time, my mom couldn’t understand why it was so hard for me. It was at that kitchen table that one of my aunts reached out her hand and said, “I get it.”

Those women also taught me that we could make a difference in this world. Many times I saw them share what little they could spare to help someone in need. It might be a few dollars, vegetables out of a garden, something they had canned or frozen, clothes or fabric. They pooled what they could so I learned that even when we share a little bit, it makes a difference.

As Women of the ELCA, we also gather around tables. Our tables are not always “kitchen tables.” Often they are tables in a fellowship hall or Sunday school classroom, a restaurant or a coffee table in someone’s living room. We even use social media as a virtual table.

Our tables are as diverse as we are. We gather for Bible study; we gather to tie quilts or put together kits for Lutheran World Relief. We gather to plan meetings about how we can make a difference in this world.

For me, Women of the ELCA is like the women who gathered for so many years around that kitchen table in Alabama.

Whatever the reason for us to gather around a table today, we share our joys, our heartaches, our concerns, like we did at my grandmother’s table. We offer and receive understanding, encouragement, support, acceptance.

As important as all the many ministries we support, this simple love and concern for one another are among the most essential. Women of the ELCA is so remarkable because we are sisters who love, support, affirm and pray for each other.

Phyllis Wade is president of the Florida-Bahamas *Synodical Women’s Organization and a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Download the free Women of the ELCA resource “Hospitality: More than warm and friendly.”

Comments (4)
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Louise Iconis says:
May 11, 2017

Great blog Phyllis! My mother, who introduced me to Women of the ELCA not long after it’s inception, died in November. The love and support I received from my WELCA friends was priceless. I agree that our greatest strength is helping and supporting one other as well as the women in our communities and the world. I hope to see you at Triennial in July!

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Anita Simmons says:
May 12, 2017

So true the women of my church are like extended family and now as I go to cluster, synod, & this summer to triennial, my family is expanding!

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RaeRaeaRaeann Purcellnnpurcell says:
May 12, 2017

Thank you for sharing your experience. I enjoy the fellowship with my mother and daughter in our circle. My extended family is in another state so my “table” experiences often were my WELCA family. Their support continues to be an asset that I can count on.

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Jean Minkin says:
May 13, 2017

Phyllis, this is a wonderful story, and you remember so fondly through the years. The women in your family did good!

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