The joy of giving

Seeds
04/03/2014

The joy of giving
Ada Junge of Roswell, Ga., and Mary Lou Fish of Marietta, Ga., admire some of the 2,225 prayer shawls collected at the Eighth Triennial Gathering in 2011. Organizers are looking to exceed that number in 2014.

Get a jump on learning about the 2014-15 Gather magazine Bible study, “Transforming Life and Faith” by Carol Schersten LaHurd, by attending Women of the ELCA’s Ninth Triennial Gathering in Charlotte, N.C., July 24-27.

Carol will lead one of the many workshops at the Gathering by helping participants explore how they respond to change and how they can grow as Christians — individually and as the church body. She will introduce sessions that deal with faith in the family, repentance and forgiveness, suffering and endurance, and the church transforming and reforming. The nine-month Bible study will be available beginning in September in Gather, the faith-in-life publication produced by Women of the ELCA.

Repairers of the breach, restorers of the streets

The theme of the Ninth Triennial Gathering is “of many generations,” based on Isaiah 58:12, “Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”

In the life of the organization, more than $3 million in grants has been awarded to non-profit organizations that serve women and children in the United States and around the world. That giving tradition will be lifted up at the Ninth Triennial Gathering too.

The offering collected at Sunday’s Service of Holy Communion will be shared among Katie’s Fund (25 percent), Women of the ELCA Scholarships (25 percent) and the ELCA International Leaders Program (50 percent), which is part of Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA. The thank offering taken during the opening worship will support ministries of Women of the ELCA.

One way participants can “repair the breach and restore the streets” is through in-kind giving. Participants are asked to bring items such as quilt kits; hygiene items for women, young boys and girls; gift cards from national retailers Target, Wal-Mart and K-mart, or Visa cards; and phone cards. Attendees from North and South Carolina can give grocery store and gas cards from regional chains. The gifts will be distributed among many of the agencies and organizations that will be leading the interactive learning opportunities offered in the exhibit hall. A fact sheet can be downloaded with all the details.

‘Astonishing’ generosity touches many

At the triennial gathering in 2011, attendees gave to agencies and programs in the Spokane, Wash., area $10,420 in gift cards, 11,160 minutes of phone cards, 600 health kits, hundreds of school supplies, 58 clothing support kits and nearly 800 bags of socks. Participants also made 80 quilts on-site for Lutheran World Relief.

Recipients in 2011 were “absolutely astonished” at the generosity of Lutheran women. “We had no idea of the volume you’d be sharing with us,” said Dia Maurer, executive director of Transitions, one of the recipients. “Know that Lutheran women will be in our hearts for many, many years.” Transitions is a Spokane-area organization that works to end homelessness and poverty for women and children.

Knitters and crocheters are also invited to give prayer shawls. Women of the ELCA is looking to exceed the number collected in 2011 — 2,225 shawls. Shawls will be given to ministries in the ELCA North Carolina Synod. A downloadable fact sheet about the prayer shawl collection, including labels to be attached to donated shawls, is available online.

To register for the Gathering or find information about the program, in-kind gifts and prayer shawls, visit www.welcatg.org.

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