As an editor for Lutheran Woman Today magazine, I’m often at my desk assigning articles, editing, and doing all the other day-to-day activities of magazine production. When I stand up to take a break, about the farthest I go is to the women’s restroom or maybe down seven floors to a deli in an adjoining building.
I hear about the work and ministry you do as participants in Women of the ELCA, but I rarely get to witness it.
I got my chance to see you in action in early February, and I was so impressed. I traveled to two California synodical organizations—Pacifica and Southwest California—and visited with several groups who have mission and ministry on their hearts.
My first stop was to one of our grant recipients in San Diego—Casa Cornelia Law Center—a law firm with heart. Casa Cornelia provides free legal services to immigrant victims of human and civil rights violations. And its lawyers are true servants.
Then I moved up the coast to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Encinitas. It might be easier to say what the women of Bethlehem don’t do–maybe windows? If a good ministry idea comes to them, they probably take it on. But it is the Pajama Project that wakes their souls.
This project that began about 12 years ago has grown beyond the church and is now a community effort. One Saturday a month, from February through October, a group gets together at Bethlehem to cut fabric to pattern and place it in plastic baggies for volunteer sewers to take home and complete. Even men and boys get involved. They set up and break down tables on which 30 or so volunteers work. Some church members offer meals for that day, others rush the fabric stores to get great deals and still others offer monetary gifts. I met with about 20 women there, and they were amazing.
My next stop was Our Savior’s Lutheran in San Clemente. The pastor’s wife, Kelly Frohner, a spunky woman who describes herself as shy, has lit a fire under the women at her church.
She has learned that simply asking works. She started four women’s groups just by asking. She assembled 180 women from 30 area churches for an annual Lutheran Woman Today Bible study introduction event just by asking. A recent showing of the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell brought in 80 people. Why? Just because she asked.
She has help, of course. I had the opportunity to meet with six women from the church who talked about their love of serving the church and meeting together in community.
My final stop was a Project Linus event in North Hollywood, Calif., held this year at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Sponsored jointly by the Southwest California Synodical Women’s Organization (SWO) and the Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO), the event is an opportunity for intergenerational charity-making. Despite rain and congested highways, women and teens showed up at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in North Hollywood and made 74 blankets, one more than in 2009.
We’re going to try to tell you all these stories in our publications over the next few months. They deserve more room than a blog can give. These are truly women who act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ.
Terri Lackey is managing editor of Lutheran Woman Today magazine.