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Finding new program ideas

Finding new program ideas

When you’re looking for programming ideas, where do you turn? The Women of the ELCA website has plenty of ideas, of course, just as the pages of Interchange and Gather magazine do. Participants in your congregational unit (CU) probably have some possibilities in mind. And there’s always the tried and true projects you’ve done before. Do you ever look around at what others are doing?

Here are three ideas from ELCA congregations, none of which are directly connected to Women of the ELCA (although some CUs might be doing similar projects). As you begin planning for the 2013-2104 program year, you might adapt one or more of these ideas for your CU.

A ribbiting ministry

The 35 members of Hope Lutheran Church, Rolla, Mo., have a ribbiting ministry: F.R.O.GFrogs.s (Fully Rely on God). Members and friends, including teenagers to great-grandmothers, have helped sew and assemble more than 560 FROGs since 2004. The FROG ministry began as a ministry to people with cancer and has expanded to include those with other serious illnesses. The church has just finished 75 FROGS, which they sent to Camp Rainbow in St. Louis for children and teenagers with cancer. The pattern can be purchased through Carols Zoo. For more information, contact Beth Schluemer.

You are so beautiful

“You’re beautiful from head to toe…beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Songs 4:7 (The Message)

This is the message the women of Ziegels Lutheran Church, Breinigsville, Pa., shared with mothers and daughters at their second annual S.E.L.F. (Spoiling Every Lovely Female) Extravaganza in April.

“SELF was created to give teenage girls in 4th through 10th grade and their mothers an opportunity to gain valuable information on healthy relationships, bullying, nutrition, wellness and self-confidence,” said Kim McHenry, coordinator of the event.

A local musician, Sarah Ayers, spoke about being bullied as a young girl and the effect it had on her self-esteem as an adult, McHenry said. S.E.L.F. offered workshops on self-esteem, bullying, healthy relationships and relational aggression. Wellness and nutritional information was also provided.

Because it was billed as a “spa event,” participants were treated to manicures, make-up tips and trendy new hairstyles.

“Bullying and self-esteem are an important topics that [we] feel passionate about,” McHenry said. “I could not have organized such an inspirational and amazing event without the help of the volunteers and generosity of our local businesses.”

For more information on how to hold your own S.E.L.F. Extravaganza, contact Kim McHenry.

Love in a glovebox

Many congregations equip their members to reach out to homeless people they encounter through an effort called “Love in a Glove box.” People gather at a packing party, bringing supplies needed by the homeless along with self-sealing plastic bags. Supplies include items like white socks, hand wipes, lip balm, granola or protein bars, gift cards, bottle of water, gum and a bus or local transit card. Participants pack up the items and then keep the packed bags in their cars, ready to hand them out when the need arises.

A Facebook discussion about Love in a Glove Box grew when one participant shared how she had given away some love that day after encountering a homeless person near the interstate. “Awesome!” one friend responded. “I always feel like I am turning away from someone in need and don’t know how to respond. This is a wonderful way to reach out those in need.”

For more information, here's a blog post written by a pastor whose congregation is engaged in this effort. More information is also available here.


Have a great idea or ministry?

We’re always looking for new and unique ministry ideas to share. Send your story to WomenELCA@elca.org and put “Interchange” in the subject line or use this Contact Us form.