Churchwide president Beth Wrenn and I have been at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis all week in our constitutional role as advisors to the assembly. We began the week, before the opening worship of the assembly, by meeting with staff of the Community Justice Program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, a recipient of a Women of the ELCA grant this year. We also visited with the director for women’s ministries at St. Andrew’s Lutheran, in Mahtomedi, Minn. I could write about either one of those encounters.
I could also write about the many issues that have come before the churchwide assembly this week, issues that have been debated and acted on, issues that include evangelical mission, human sexuality, poverty and hunger, immigration, HIV and AIDS strategies, malaria, care of creation … the list goes on and on. These are all justice issues that we in Women of the ELCA have long addressed (and continue to do so), and we are heartened to know that some parts of the church are catching up with Women of the ELCA on these topics.
Instead, I’m finding myself drawn to writing about the action of the assembly to call for a social statement on justice for women. I spoke to the issue this morning, and I now ask you to support and participate in this essential effort.
The women’s organizations of predecessor bodies were founded, in part, because of sexism that denied women a full role in the church. Today, the women in our organization continue to support one another in our callings and to engage in ministry in action, both of which seek to make this church a place that honors all women and men as having been created in the image of God. Since its formation in 1989, Women of the ELCA has made grants in excess of $3 million dollars that address exclusionary forces of sexism that have worked against women and girls throughout the U.S. and around the globe, forces that work against the vision of God’s commonwealth.
Part of the purpose of Women of the ELCA is to bring about healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world. I rejoice that the ELCA has voted in assembly to undertake a study for a social statement on justice for women. And now I ask you, good women of Women of the ELCA, to work together with our brothers and sisters in the ELCA in this study so that together we might bring about health and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director, Women of the ELCA.