I have been preparing for the arrival of international guests to the Women of the ELCA Tenth Triennial Gathering, July 13-16, in Minneapolis. I pray that with each invitation we issue to our companion churches in other countries, they see the importance of appointing a woman to travel to the U.S.
Rightly, some in other countries struggle with the travel restrictions that our nation places on those entering the U.S. But we Lutherans are bold women, and we persist.
The value of inviting Lutheran women from around the world to the triennial gathering is to provide women here with a sense that we’re part of a global community. It is also an educational opportunity to learn the issues and struggles women from around the world face. We are sisters together in building up the body of Christ.
Invitations have been made by Women of the ELCA and synodical women’s organization sponsors to our companion churches in Namibia (Southwestern Washington SWO), Nigeria (Minneapolis Area SWO), India (Northwestern Minnesota SWO), Cameroon (South Dakota SWO), Tanzania (Northern Illinois SWO), Latin American (ELCA Global Mission) and Liberia (Women of ELCA).
The gathering theme—All Anew—calls all women to look with new eyes at what God is up to among our sisters, globally and locally. At each triennial gathering, our synodical women’s organizations welcome our international guest with hospitality. We are always so blessed by these global guests.
[bctt tweet=”We are sisters together in building up the body of Christ.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
At the Second Triennial Gathering, our guests led women in a conga line during closing worship. I think it was the Holy Spirit at work. We hosted about 40 international women at that gathering, and we welcomed 24 sisters at the last three gatherings combined. Some reasons for that decline in guests are rising travel costs and denied entry into the U.S.
Together we practice accompaniment and financial support for our guests.
We ask for support from the 400 women who have participated in a Women if the ELCA Women Building Global Community Global Education travel seminar or our study tours. Also, we call on women who have hosted global guests in your homes. You know the issues and struggles our global guests face. You know what it means to be sisters together.
We hope all of you will pray for our international guests and their safe arrival into this country. Can you support the initiative to be global sisters together as we build up the body of Christ?
Valora K Starr is director of discipleship for Women of the ELCA. For more information or to support our international guests at the triennial gathering, contact her at [email protected]. Learn more about the Tenth Triennial Gathering. Check out our free downloadable resources on hospitality.
Photo by Jim Veneman: Ninth Triennial Gathering | The music takes over at the international guest reception.