May 2016: Holy stewardship

by Audrey RileyEggplant by Alice Henneman

Spring is finally here! And it’s finally planting time! I love getting my hands dirty in my vegetable garden, don’t you?

Planting time, whether we’re planting soybeans or summer squash, is a holy time. God’s good earth receives the seeds we so hopefully entrust to it, and in the fullness of time (with a little luck) we will see an abundant harvest.

And then what do we do with what our gardens or fields grow? At my house, we eat most of it ourselves. You too? We share what we don’t eat with our friends and neighbors first, and then with others, perhaps through our congregation or the local food pantry. A farmer might sell her crop and use her earnings first to support her family and then to support her congregational unit and synodical women’s organization. That’s good stewardship, and that’s a holy thing too.

Our purpose statement suggests the same direction—starting close to home—for our stewardship as Women of the ELCA, whether as individuals, congregational units, or synodical women’s organizations. Our purpose statement calls us first to “affirm our gifts and support one another in our callings,” and then to “promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.”

I read that to mean that when we are deciding where our gifts should go, the first place to think of is our very own beloved community of women. When we give Regular Offerings and Thankofferings, when we sign up for Faithful Friends, when we name Women of the ELCA in our estate plans, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Giving to support our synodical women’s organization’s ministry emphasis—or to support a ministry emphasis of another SWO or the churchwide women’s organization—is another part of supporting our beloved community of women.

So, as we plant our eggplant and dream of the delicious dishes we’ll serve our families and friends, let’s also plan to give generously to support Women of the ELCA. Good stewardship is a holy thing, too.

Photo: Eggplant by Alice Henneman (CC_BY)

Past devotions:

April 2016: Good for our hearts!
March 2016: Loving Lent
February 2016: Happy birthday Katie!

January 2016 devotion: “I am about to do a new thing!”

December 2015 devotion: GIving thanks for you
November 2015 devotion: Giving thanks to God



How to Give

Regular Offerings

Regular Offerings are a wonderful way to support one another in our callings. When women gather in the circles or groups of the congregational unit and receive an offering, their unit treasurer puts some of it to work for the congregational unit’s own ministry and shares the rest with the synodical women’s organization, sending it to her with Form A. (Please download a copy of Form A and fill it in as shown in this example.)

The treasurer of the synodical women’s organization puts some of that shared offering to work for the synodical organization’s ministry, and then shares the rest with the churchwide women’s organization, which puts that shared offering to work for women’s ministries throughout the church.

Thankofferings and Gifts “Where Needed Most”

For Congregational Units

Download a copy of Form B, and fill it in as shown in this example. Make out your check to Women of the ELCA and mail it with Form B to:

Women of the ELCA
ELCA Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield, VA 22116-8009

For Individuals

To give online with a credit card, please visit and click “Women of the ELCA Where Needed Most.” Fill in the amount of your gift and then under “Designation,” click “Women of the ELCA General Fund.”

To give by mail, please make out your check to Women of the ELCA and write “Where needed most” on the memo line. Mail it to:

Women of the ELCA
ELCA Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield, VA 22116-8009

To give by phone with a credit card, please call 800-638-3522.

Thank you!