by Emma Crossen
Ask women why they support Katie’s Fund, and one answer comes up again and again: They love Katie. Or, Katharina von Bora Luther, to be more precise.
“We never knew anything about her before,” said Marie Tesch, a longtime Katie’s Fund donor from Waseca, Minn.
That all changed 16 years ago when Women of the ELCA created an endowment and named it after Martin Luther’s wife and partner. Since then, Katie’s Fund has grown to nearly $763,000. Along the way, thousands of women, like Marie, have grown to admire the woman it honors.
Marie was born into a Lutheran family and has been active in women’s ministries for more than 40 years at St. John Lutheran Church in Waseca. “We knew Martin Luther was married,” she said of her congregation. Before Katie’s Fund, however, they did not know that Katie was a theologian in her own right and a savvy business woman who managed a busy house-hold that served her large family, the local community, and the broader Reformation movement.
Like Katie, Marie knows a thing or two about managing a small business at the heart of a community. She and her husband, Russell, owned and ran Tesch Service Center, the local filling station, for 38 years.
Since Katie’s Fund was established in 1987, anecdotes like this have emerged among Women of the E LCA to give a fuller picture of Katharina von Bora and the integral roles she played in church history. A Bold Life of Faith: Katharina von Bora Luther is one Women of the E LCA resource that shares these stories.
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development for Women of the ELCA.