by Audrey Riley
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.