by Jennifer Michael
The Women of the ELCA’s Purpose Statement begins with the words, “As a community of women…” A book I have been reading lately made me think about just what this means to us as an organization.
In his book, “Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life,” Abbot Christopher Jamison describes our modern concept of community as lacking the original connections that community was meant to engender in us.
In this digital age, we are now so much more individually independent. If we buy a bike, suddenly we are part of the “cycling community.” If we get a new job, we are now a member of the “professional community.”
But just making a purchase or joining a new profession doesn’t mean we have truly invested ourselves in the lives of others. Or as Jamison puts it, “I can claim to have joined a community without having to do the more demanding work of engaging personally with other people: I literally buy community on the cheap.”
[bctt tweet=”How much are we “doing on the cheap”?” username=”womenoftheelca”]
This made me think about how much are we as an organization working to connect personally with other women in this community we call Women of the ELCA. How much are we “doing on the cheap”?
Real meaning of community
Are we practicing the real meaning of community when we gather with our local circle, but decide not to attend our synodical convention? Are we participating in the mutual lives of ministry if we read about the actions of the triennial convention, but never make an effort to contribute our resources to these causes?
As a community of women we have committed ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts, support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.
What are you doing to fulfill this Purpose Statement? What do you contribute to this “community of women”?
Jennifer Michael was churchwide president of Women of the ELCA for the 2011-2014 triennium. She is now an ordained ELCA pastor serving Saint Peter Lutheran Church, Battle Creek, Mich. This blog first ran in October 2012 but continues to hold meaning for us today, especially during this week of the Tenth Triennial Convention and Gathering in Minneapolis. Please hold the community of women in Minneapolis in your prayers if you are unable to be there.
Photo: Cafe workshop at the Ninth Triennial Gathering (2014)