I’ve spent the last few weeks on the road. I have snacked on homemade caramel cookies at a Café event sponsored by the women of Our Savior’s Church in Rockford, Ill. Then I sampled a scrumptious apple turnover at an ELCA camp in Clintonville, Wis., during a retreat for the women of the Eastern Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization. Last week I ate a pound of amazing oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at the women of Eastern Washington-Idaho SWO convention in Lewiston, Idaho. Despite my insatiable sweet tooth—I didn’t do all that travel just so I could eat cookies. I have learned that in addition to the amazing, and I mean, amazing collection of baked goods—we can experience much more at a Women of the ELCA convention.
I have heard from younger women that they do not like to attend conventions and I have heard from devoted convention goers about how concerned they are about low attendance. It’s natural to base our success on quantifiable things, especially when it comes to meeting a budget. But the woman who say that they are not interested in the “business” of a convention may be overlooking some other really incredible things about attending WELCA events—the women they will meet.
I’ve met women who are raising their grandchildren, who have had a host of medical emergencies or have lost their loved ones, and yet they are still organizing the assembly of LWR school kits in their spare time. In addition to regular church service these women are collecting items for women’s shelters in their communities, inviting representatives of these shelters to come and share their stories. And convention goers, most on fixed incomes, give generously to support local and national programs that benefit women and girls.
To the women who say they want to be involved in social justice, but not active in their Women of the ELCA unit: You can learn a lot from these bold volunteers.
If you are looking to find the nearest group of amazing Lutheran women, Google, “WELCA” and add your zip code. You can also learn more about Women of the ELCA from our website: http://welca.org
Elizabeth McBride has been making the rounds this month by teaching women about the importance of communication and how they can include more women in their group by extending authentic invitations in person, online and using social media. If you’d like her to visit your group, you can contact her at [email protected]