Lisa Plorin, newly elected president of the Women of the ELCA executive board, said she spent several years avoiding invitations to the organization.
But one invitation finally caught. A phone call in 1999 changed her life, she said.
“I was a mother of two young daughters, ages 1 and 4, when a phone call came in from Joyce Ann Espeseth (a participant from her Synodical Women’s Organization, Western North Dakota). She asked if I would be interested in going to the Triennial Gathering of the Women of the ELCA in St. Louis that year.”
Plorin said she had been invited to several local synodical conventions, which she had politely declined, saying she was busy “when, in all actuality, I had no interest in spending a perfectly good weekend with a bunch of church ladies.”
But this invitation was an all-expense paid trip, so she agreed to go.
“I’ll be honest with you. I was planning on taking total advantage of those four days in St. Louis.”
Plorin thought, however, she should make an appearance at opening worship to show she was there.
“That’s when it happened,” she said. “That’s when my life changed. That’s when I heard the song ‘We are Called.’ That’s when Jesus entered my heart and he told me: ‘You belong here.’”
Plorin, on the executive board since 2014, said she has watched relationships grow and sisterhoods develop during her 20 years in the organization.
“And I have witnessed a trend,” she said. “A trend that makes me a little sad, but it has also ignited a fire in my soul. Yes, our numbers are down, giving is down, but I am here to tell you I see potential.”
Invitation is key, she said. “That’s why I am here. Invite those people. When you see that young mom with some fire and determination, but is unsure where to go, invite her.”
Voting members elected Plorin president July 12 on the fourth ballot.
Voting members and participants of Women of the ELCA, the women’s organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, are in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Tenth Triennial Convention (July 11-13) and Gathering (July 14–16).