On a snowy morning in April, I was excited to attend a Women of the ELCA Boot Camp. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was intrigued by the title of this event—2016 WELCA Boot Camp—sponsored by the Indiana-Kentucky Synodical Women’s Organization.
When my colleague Valora Starr and I arrived at First English Lutheran Church in Mishawaka, Indiana, about 30 women were there—ready to learn about Women of the ELCA.
Linda Doerge, president of the Indiana-Kentucky synod, was thrilled with the number of women who wanted to learn more about Women of the ELCA. Other Boot Camp trainers included the Rev. Doris Sparks, vice-president of the SWO; Kathy Coleman, cluster facilitator; and Patricia P. Hamby, treasurer. The synod held two other boot camps in Indianapolis and Frankfort, Ky.
We began the Boot Camp with an ice-breaker: Putting on Our Boots. It was like a scavenger hunt. Women went found other women to help them check off items on a list—for example, “Attended a triennial”; “Donated to a micro loan for women”; “Sings in the choir.”
After trainers were introduced, Linda showed the PowerPoint “A Place for You” that helps explain Women of the ELCA’s mission.
Trainers explained the structure of Women of the ELCA: from churchwide to synodical to congregational, intercongregational and special units.
Linda told the group the Indiana-Kentucky Synod is divided into 10 clusters/conferences, each of different geographical sizes. She asked the women to consider the differences and challenges of each area. She then talked about the possibilities of how each church’s group of women could be organized, about what makes an active unit and ways to stay informed and connected. She mentioned Women of the ELCA’s website, Café, Interchange, Gather and social media.
Pastor Doris introduced a biblical basis for Women of the ELCA’s mission and work using her essay: “Why a Women’s Organization? Why in the 21st Century? Why Would the Women in My Church Participate?” She said being part of Women of the ELCA led her to become a pastor.
In “All about Money,” treasurer Patricia explained Women of the ELCA’s offering forms, educational stewardship resources and how giving to the organizations supports its ongoing ministries and production of new resources.
In “All About Clusters,” Kathy talked about clusters as regional congregational gatherings and how they support the synod’s work.
The Boot Camp ended with a Blessing of Shoes (Boots).
Eva James Yeo is director for membership for Women of the ELCA. Contact Eva to learn more.
A “Place for You” is available for download as a PowerPoint. Use it in a presentation to introduce and invite women to be involved in the organization.