The ELCA Bans Coffee at Church Events. The Ice Cream Diet: Lose weight by eating ice cream three times a day! Amazon Plans a New Headquarters on Mars.
WELCA Disappears: Where did it go?
Of course, all of these are April Fool’s Day headlines, or at least we hope so.
The last one is not so funny. The churchwide executive board established an exploratory committee at its April 2018 meeting to help ensure that doesn’t become a reality. And, I am honored to serve on the committee.
At our first meeting in January, we introduced ourselves and took a few minutes to say what Women of the ELCA meant to us.
Many of us shared that we would not be the women we are today if not for “WELCA.” After we all had our turns, our chaplain asked: “What does that mean?” She told us that these are the stories we should tell and share.
Sharing my story with others is not as easy as it sounds. How do I sum up the impact of 30 years of influence this community of women has had on me?
Sometimes the effect was subtle, and other times, it was so moving I can’t put it into words. I guess you could say God was at work through these earthly angels.
I am sure we all remember our first circle meeting. For me, it was just after my son born. I know I could not have said more than 10 words all night. The women must have thought my attendance was an April fool’s joke.
Still, they were kind and tried to get me involved. I felt welcomed, but a little shy. They didn’t give up on me, and as they say, the rest is history. Through the years Women of the ELCA has helped me grow in faith, compassion and confidence.
Through the years Women of the ELCA has helped me grow in faith, compassion and confidence.
I can’t know who I would have been without Women of the ELCA, but by God’s grace and the support of so many generous women, I don’t have to know.
This is why the exploratory committee’s work is so important. I have told you part of my story.
Take some time to think about what Women of the ELCA means to you and share your thoughts on our exploratory page: welca.org/future. Tell your story to others. Invite someone new to be part of your story and help them begin to form their own story to share.
Jody Smiley is president of the Virginia Synodical Women’s Organization, vice president of Women of the ELCA’s executive board from 2014-2017, and chairman of the newly formed exploratory committee. Learn more about the work of the committee at welca.org/future.
Photo by Jim Veneman from the “Writing Our Way toward a New Day” workshop at a Gathering 2017 workshop in Minneapolis.