November is when people think about giving. We make our lists and check them twice–and we think about giving to our favorite good causes, too. That’s what Giving Tuesday–the Tuesday after Thanksgiving–is all about!
But Giving Tuesday has nothing on the history of generosity among Lutheran women.
A global day of giving powered by social media, #GivingTuesday entered its eighth year. The women of the church have been gathering and giving together for a lot longer than that–since as far back as the 1800s, if not earlier.
“Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources,” according to the website givingtuesday.org.
I think we can call our tradition of Thankoffering services a movement with a growing catalog of resources, too. After all, we’ve been doing this for a long time, and we really know how.
Beginning in the 19th century, Lutheran women kept Thankoffering boxes in their homes to collect offerings made in thanks for blessings received throughout the year. From that came the custom of holding Thankoffering services to rejoice together in giving and gratitude.
Thankoffering services are often held around this time of year, but God’s blessings aren’t limited by the calendar and neither is our gratitude. That’s why Women of the ELCA offers several ways you can give online in any season.
Take a look at welca.org/give, welca.org/faithfulfriendsonline, and a way to support Women of the ELCA while shopping for other gifts: AmazonSmile. You can click the link here: smile.amazon.com/WELCA, or go to smile.amazon.com and search for Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (our full name).
Please think of all the ways you can support our beloved community of women created in the image of God as you make your year-end gift lists. Your generosity really does make a difference. Thank you!
Audrey Novak Riley is director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA. Learn more about the history of women’s giving in our free downloadable resource, “All About Thankofferings.” Find it and many more resources at welca.org/resources.