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Sowing seeds in the community

Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls

Sowing seeds in the community

by Valora K Starr

“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” Psalm 126:6

Sowing seeds in the community

God’s practice of seedtime and harvest is at work among six Women of the ELCA units who took advantage of the Raising up Healthy Women and Girls health initiative seed grant program.

These six new health initiatives make a total of 57 units who have used Women of the ELCA Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls seed grants since 2010 to better their communities. The initiative was created in 2004.

The six units took on a challenge to make a difference in the emotional, spiritual and physical health of women and girls in their congregations and communities.

They will plant seeds of healthy living that include retreats, new clothes closets, self-awareness sessions, walking tracks and on-going exercise, lifestyle-change classes and support-group activities. The harvest of these efforts will touch more than 2,000 women and girls.

Applicants said the three-question seed grant application process “called them to think, do research, build relationships with people outside their congregation and act boldly.”

The requirements are simple.  The program must:

  • bring together women and in the congregational unit and community;
  • meet the goals of the health initiative;
  • be able to be replicated in other settings;
  • agree to re-seed by making a financial contribution to the seed grant program; and
  • agree to provide a final report.

The seed grant program is restricted to Women of the ELCA units who hope to expand their ministry in the community. The six congregational units that won 2015-2016 Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls seed grants included: Saint John’s, Jacksonville, Fla.; Mount Calvary, Johnstown, Pa.; Zion, Appleton, Wis.; Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, Greenville, S.C.; Trinity, Fresno, Calif.; and Saint Luke, Silver Spring, Md.

The 2016-2017 seed grant cycle will begin in the fall. Applications are available at womenoftheelca.org. Click Our Work/Special Initiatives/Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls. All applications must be postmarked by Dec. 15, 2015, and must be submitted by active units of Women of the ELCA that are familiar with the Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls initiative and the criteria of this program.

What can your unit can do to make a difference in the lives of women around you?

Valora K Starr (valora.starr@elca.org) is director for discipleship for Women of the ELCA.

Photo: Money for seed grants is raised through Run, Walk & Roll events held at triennial gatherings.