Women of the ELCA executive board treasurer Ely Smith says the question she gets most is “Where does our money go?”
In her final report at the Tenth Triennial Convention, July 11, she said that money collected at conventions is easy to explain.
Convention offerings go for special projects, Smith said. For example, half of the tenth triennial convention offering will go to Phebe Hospital for the solar power project.
“But how we use our operational budget is harder to understand,” she said. “That’s because we use it for ‘seeds.’”
Seeds of good news
Every month, more than 52,000 women hear the good news through the pages of Gather magazine, Smith said.
“And we know that our readership is much larger because readers pass Gather along to family and friends.”
Seeds of justice
“Since our inception, the organization has advocated for the rights of women and children,” Smith said. “By standing together, we have had voice in our churches, our communities, even at the United Nations and in the war zones of Liberia.”
Twenty years ago, Women of the ELCA began its program of racial and social justice, Smith said.
“Last year, staff revised and updated racial justice advocacy materials,” she said. “And we have 35 trained volunteers who give workshops across the country for ‘Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality,’” Women of the ELCA’s racial justice advocacy training program.
Seeds of education
“We have been an example to the entire ELCA in our use of modern technology,” Ely said. “Our website is continuously updated, and we offer dozens of free program resources as well as links to hundreds of articles on a variety of topics that have been in Gather.”
Every year, the organization gives scholarships that allow women to pursue higher education, she said. In the 2016-2017 school year, the organization provided more than $20,000 for scholarships.
At the 2014 triennial convention, “we passed a resolution to address the issue of human trafficking, and because of that, thousands of women have learned what human trafficking is and how it affects every one of us.”
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).