Thinking about organizing a new unit of Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)? Our mission statement is: To mobilize women to act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ. In an effort to live out our mission statement, I have compiled several items I believe will be helpful as you begin forming a women’s group in your congregation.
Consider one of our resources Gifts for You as a starting point. You may find this resource on our churchwide website along with over 25 free downloadable tools to help women live out our mission and purpose. As you review the resources listed below your next step will include having an organizational meeting to share ideas on the needs in your community. Several samples of the resources are listed. You may also click on the links for more information.
• Visit www.womenoftheelca.org
Looking for a place to gather with other women to talk about your faith? Women of the ELCA is just for you. We’re a community of women where fellowship, friendship, study, service and advocacy are nurtured. Here you’ll find original, inventive and imaginative support for your faith journey. You can also stay connected by joining our Facebook and Twitter community.
• Gather is the official magazine of the women's organization. Ten issues are produced each year. The magazine contains the Women of the ELCA Bible study along with faith-in-life articles, theological reflections, devotions, global mission articles, and human-interest stories. The magazine also carries news and information about Women of the ELCA as well as the church. Many congregational units organize a monthly Bible study using the study in Gather. Call 800-638-3511 ext. 2580 or visit www.elca.org/resources to order Bible study resources: Leader Guide, Companion Bible, and bookmarks. All participants should have their own subscription. Encourage all women in your congregation to subscribe to this award-winning magazine. With a subscription, Gather can be viewed on an iPad, Android, or Kindle Fire.• Interchange is the monthly newsletter of Women of the ELCA. It contains ideas and information on programs and processes that will assist you in building a women’s organization. Its contents lift up leadership skills and organizational resources, ideas and information, as well as trends and news. You can view it at www.womenoftheelca.org Interchange is also produced in Spanish called Intercambio.
• Bold Connections is the free monthly e-newsletter of Women of the ELCA offering news and information on our programs and activities. Subscribe today at www.womenoftheelca.org
• Café is an award-winning web-based magazine for young adult women who want to build community, participate in advocacy, and strengthen their faith. It incorporates a Lutheran perspective but is a great read for any woman who is interested in how faith can relate to every-day life. Subscribe at www.boldcafe.org/
• A “Stewardship Planning Guide.” This resource provides tools to help us challenge one another to live out our stewardship convictions, helps for creating your own thankoffering devotions and thankoffering services. Feel free to download this resource at www.womenoftheelca.org under Our Work.
• Below is a model constitution and bylaws for congregational and intercongregational units for you to complete. It is simple to complete. Portions marked with an asterisk (*) are needed to fulfill the criteria for membership. Our Leadership Manual contains more models of leadership than that might work better for your group. That information is below as The Unit Leadership.
• 4 Simple Ways to become an active unit
Subscribe to the mission and purpose of Women of the ELCA and commit to the follow.
1. Meet together for study, support and mission (Café and Gather offer great ways to do this)
2. Participate in the ministry of Women of the ELCA beyond your congregation. (e.g. Synodical Women’s Fall Gathering at Lake Yale or Spring Gathering in your conference)
3. Support financially the total program of Women of the ELCA (e.g. offerings)
4. Designate leadership to communicate with synodical and churchwide women’s organization. See our Leadership page for contacts.
Each new unit adopts a constitution using the model and bylaws that are appropriate to your local needs. A copy of your constitution or affirmation should be sent to the synodical president. Be sure to keep a copy for your file. Remember, your unit is not official until the synodical president receives your constitution or affirmation, and adds your contact information to our active unit assessment.