For three days in June of 1987, Lutheran women gathered in Milwaukee, Wis. to form Women of the ELCA. As we celebrate 25 years of this organization, we’re celebrating a tradition that extends back an additional 150 years. American Lutheran women have been coming together in community for service and study since 1837 when the first women’s missionary society was formed in New York. The first national Lutheran women’s organization, the Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the General Synod, was founded 42 years later in 1879. That’s quite a legacy!
The women who founded Women of the ELCA had incredible vision, creating governing documents that are both inspirational and flexible. Our churchwide constitution calls us to commit ourselves to full discipleship and oneness in Christ. We are to affirm the worth of each woman in the life and work of the organization while proclaiming and practicing inclusive unity. All entities within the ELCA and all expressions of Women of the ELCA are to function interdependently and share responsibility for fulfilling the common purpose. Leaders are to provide a form of leadership that supports and empowers others within the community. Our community of women is to work toward wholeness of the church. We have claimed and are practicing an anti-racist identity. These incredible images of our community are set forth in Article III of the churchwide organization’s constitution.
Individually and collectively we have lived into many of these images and yet have fallen short of some of these aspirations. So it goes with those who are both saints and sinners. We thank God for God’s grace that gives us new opportunities each day to live into the loving community the women who founded this organization imagined.
We’ll be celebrating the past 25 years of mission and ministry in the coming months while looking forward to the next 25 years.
Make an online gift today (pick “25th Anniversary Appeal” from the drop down menu). Or send your check to Women of the ELCA, PO Box 71256, Chicago, IL 60694-1256 and write “25th Anniversary Appeal” on the memo line.
Use this flyer in your unit to invite others to give generously too.