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Summer Bible studies

Summer 2017: All anew: Ready or not

Kelly Fryer explores “All anew,” a three-session Bible study that shares the theme of the 2017 Women of the ELCA Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis. She has also committed to lead the Bible study or a workshop at the triennial gathering. She will bring to this role the experience of a pastor, teacher, entrepreneur and communicator. Kelly has more than 20 years of experience in turning around ministries and organizations and has authored faith-related books.

Session one: Say goodbye to nice--Nice is not the same as good. Making nice is what you do to avoid upsetting people. But Good knows there are more important things than your reputation, your balance sheet and whatever else it is you count on to make you comfortable. Good does what matters.

Session two: Stand with the least of these--God requires of those who live in privilege and comfort to recognize what God is up to and join in. God is on a mission to love, bless and save the world. If we are going to be a part of that mission, here is where it begins: Among the poor and those who have been displaced and disenfranchised.

Session three: Upending the tables--What is our responsibility when the very systems that have been put in place to protect people and make sure justice is done become tools to oppress? Do we just stand by and allow injustice to continue?

Session 1: Saying goodbye to 'nice'

Session 2: Stand with the least of these

Session 3: Upend the tables


Summer 2016: The heart of the matter

For summer 2016, Angela Shannon, a pastor at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas, Texas, will share “The heart of the matter,” a three-session Bible study on learning to deal with conflict through the ministry of reconciliation.

“Repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation are healing words,” Angela Shannon writes. “We hear these words spoken from our pulpits, in our hymns and various places throughout our churches. Yet we see conflict in our society and the ways in which we harm each other. We are about to enter an election year where the politics are as shrill and mean as ever.”

Although we look to the church for a safe haven from conflict, Shannon says, “life follows us through the doors, and there too we find conflict.”

“Conflicts are nothing new to the church,” Shannon says. “What’s miraculous is that God continues to create us anew. God insists on entrusting us with the ministry of reconciliation."

She continues: “In working with congregations, I have found that although people are familiar with the healing words of Christ’s church, we must continue to learn the practical application of these words.”

Session 1: Treasure in clay jars (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Session 2: Seeking God (Jeremiah 29:14)
Session 3: The ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)


Summer 2015: No catchy slogans

Does the subject of giving—especially financial giving to the church—make you a little uncomfortable? Do you feel awkward when conversations or sermons about money come up?

This summer’s Bible study, “No Catchy Slogans,” looks at Scripture passages about giving. The author, former Women of the ELCA staff member Emma Crossen, writes in her introduction: “Giving money is an important topic for Christians to consider. All congregations need money to pay pastors, care for buildings, and support ministries. All people need encouragement and guidance about their relationship to money. Few things affect our daily life more. It seems appropriate that the Bible gives so much attention to money and giving. Yet, it’s too common to see Bible passages taken out of context, turned into catchy slogans, and enforced as rules that Christians should follow.” 

Emma Crossen is the development director at the Courage Campaign. She studied ministry at Harvard Divinity School and previously served Women of the ELCA as director for stewardship and development.

Download the sessions and one-day event guide now.

Session 1: Give in Secret

Session 2: Be Like the Widow

Session 3: God Loves a Cheerful Giver

Read about how to adapt this three-session Bible study into a one-day event.


Summer 2014: Of Many Generations: Mary, Elizabeth, Lydia

We are women of “of many generations,” many ages, many places, and many experiences. We have a calling to come, learn, and serve together, as well as to rebuild, repair, and restore not only our own relationships, but also the world around us. To do this we look to Scripture for stories that take us into this calling. We look for stories of women who come together, women who understand themselves to be part of a multi-generational community and who have known both challenge and joy.

“Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.” Isaiah 58:12

Session 1: Elizabeth and Mary
Session 2: Mary’s Song: The Magnificat
Session 3: Lydia

Supplemental resources (only available on the web)

Summer 2013: All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly                                

We all know the story: A crowd of people follows Jesus out to the countryside, and by the time evening rolls around they’re all hungry. The disciples tell Jesus to send the people away so they can go get supper in town, and he answers, “You give them something to eat.”

All four gospels give us this story. Three of them give us the command from Jesus in exactly the same words: “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16; Mark 6:37; Luke 9:13). Is Jesus talking to us?

The summer 2013 three-session study on hunger was written by Audrey Novak Riley, formerly on staff of the magazine and is now associate program director for the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.

Session 1: Hungry Hearts
Session 2: Do We Have Enough?
Session 3: All Ate and Were Filled

Summer 2012: Along the Way                                                            

In this study, we meet biblical travelers, enter in conversation with them, and explore our own journeys of faith. We’ll walk with Jacob, who after wrestling a stranger throughout the night, discovers God. We’ll wander in the wilderness with people who complain to Moses about their aching feet and ask: “Are we there yet?” We’ll spend time with Jesus’ companions and reflect on our faith. The writer, the Rev. Julie A. Kanarr, an ELCA pastor from Port Townsend, Wash., is a pilgrim-student of the Bible who has journeyed extensively by car, bicycle, kayak, foot, boat, and airplane. Download the three sessions for free. Each session has a brief leader guide section at the end.

June and July/August

Session 1: Travels with Jacob
Session 2: Food for the journey
Session 3: Encounters with Christ

Summer 2011: Renew, Respond, Rejoice                                          

The cloud of witnesses surrounding us can teach us much about what it means to bring your best self to the life you’ve been given. This study invites readers into the dynamic web of life anchored by “renew, respond, and rejoice.” This is vocation in the richest sense of that term: Who are you and how are you called to service in a world full of surprises? The authors are the Rev. Catherine Malotky and the Rev. David Engelstad, both ordained in the ELCA. They now serve separate ministerial paths into communications and chaplaincy. Download the three sessions for free. Each session has a brief leader guide section at the end.

June and July/August

Session 1: Renew
Session 2: Respond
Session 3: Rejoice

Summer 2010: Pray Always                                                               

This Bible study explores three aspects of prayer. Readers will learn about what Jesus and the early evangelists thought and taught about the importance of being persistent in prayer.  The author is the Rev. Gladys Moore, an ordained pastor in the ELCA. For more than 22 years she served as an urban pastor in Jersey City and Newark, N.J., and for 16 of those years she was also an assistant to the bishop of the New Jersey Synod. Pastor Moore now serves as Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. Download the three sessions for free. Each session has a brief leader guide section at the end.

June and July/August

Session 1: Persistence
Session 2: Waiting with Patience and Hope
Session Three: Power

Summer 2009: Mary: A Woman for All Seasons                                

Mary is one of the few female characters of the Bible that we get to see not just once or twice in her life, but over a period of decades, appearing in a number of verses and in a variety of situations well beyond the familiar lines of the Christmas story. Whether you are doing this summer Bible study as a personal devotion, as a one- or two-day retreat, or shared with a circle of others over the summer, we hope you will be enriched and find in Mary a friend to cherish, a spiritual guide who points you forward to a fuller life in Christ, throughout your own seasons as a woman of faith. The Rev. Christa von Zychlin, is serving with ELCA Global Missions in Hong Kong, China, with her husband, Wayne Nieminen. Download the three sessions for free. Each session has a brief leader guide section at the end.

June and July/August

Session 1: The Annunciation
Session 2: Kinships, Friendships, and Holy Encounters
Session 3: Mary Among the Disciples

Summer 2008: Come to the Waters                                                   

This three–session Bible study expands on the theme of the 2008 Women of the ELCA Triennial Gathering, "Come to the Waters." The Rev. Karen Bockelman, retired assistant to the bishop in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA, guides readers through the rich images and meanings of baptism and how that sacrament shapes our lives and vocations. "Come to the Waters" is an invitation to "walk wet"— to remember, affirm, and celebrate baptism throughout life. These sessions examine the waters of baptism through the lenses of Scripture, Lutheran tradition, personal experience, and the call to act boldly in and for justice. Download the three sessions for free. Each session has a brief leader guide section at the end.

June and July/August

Session 1: Water, Water Everywhere
Session 2: It's a Matter of Death and Life
Session 3: Living Water, Walking Wet

Summer 2007: Act Boldly for Mission                                                 

This Bible study encourages us to "Act Boldly for Mission."  Author Kelly Fryer energizes Bible study participants with her vibrant writing and deep faith. The study explores how women can boldly take part in God's mission to love and bless and save the world.  To be the church, she says, is to participate in that mission by sharing the Good News about Jesus Christ in word and deed.  Kelly Fryer (M.Div., MTh.) is a teacher, author, and motivational speaker with nearly 25 years of experience leading organizations into renewal. Kelly taught on the faculty of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. She is the author of the best–selling Reclaiming the L Word: Renewing the Church from Its Lutheran Core and writer for the No Experience Necessary Bible study series (both Augsburg Fortress). Download the three sessions for free.

June and July/August

Session 1: With the Message of Jesus
Session 2: Like the First Evangelists
Session 3: In the Power of the Holy Spirit
Act Boldly for Mission Leader Guide

Summer 2006: Act Boldly for Health                                                   

Pastor Ron Glusenkamp and Sue Ann Glusenkamp, wrote the three-session 2006 summer study on health, wholeness (or wellness), and abundant living. The study lifts up the Women of the ELCA's Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls initiative. Using the New Testament and the Wholeness Wheel as reference, the authors explore health assessment and balance, seeking and receiving healing, and striving for and achieving goals. They include helpful tips about health and wholeness, shaping attitudes, changing behaviors, and improving health. Sue Ann is a parish nurse, and Ron is pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. Download the three sessions for free. Each session has a brief leader guide section at the end.

June and July/August

Session 1: Act Boldly with Balance
Session 2: Act Boldly in Crisis
Session 3: Act Boldly toward the Goal


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