The Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synodical Women's Organization (SWO) is part of the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) - WELCA. We serve DC and the immediate metropolitan MD and Northern VA area. Won't you join us in our mission, fellowship, and activities?
Recap of 2018 SWO Convention: "Acting Boldly: Honoring the Past and Celebrating the Future"
Honor the Past: Hear from Pastor Elizabeth Platz
and Bring Pictures of Yourself!
Celebrate the Future: Participate in God's Unfolding!
Enjoy a brand-new church!
Join in Bible study, worship, and more ... please join us!
Workshops will enable you to:
Speak boldly and generously with people of differing views
Discern ways to grow in service and faith
Experience God’s abundant love in a Chocolate Bible Study
Recap of 2018 SWO Convention: "Take Heart--Getting to Wholeness" (Depression and Suicide Prevention)
Metro DC Synodical Women's Organization's Annual Convention held at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Springfield, VA, on
Saturday, May 5, 2018, was a very good experience! We began with an inspirational bilingual Worship Service adapted for our morning worship and led by The Reverend Varinia Espinosa (of St. Mark's) and The Reverend Heidi Eickstadt (of Abiding Presence) with the homily delivered by The Reverend Richard H. Graham (Bishop, Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod). The interactive bilingual service was very a very moving experience of both English and Spanish hymn singing and text.
We especially welcomed our Spanish sisters as, in addition to the bilingual worship service, a professional translator interpreted English to Spanish via 'tour guide' equipment that the SWO rented for the hired translator during the sessions that were delivered in English.
Anna Sarver, Executive Board Treasurer of the Women of the ELCA, updated us on what was happening within churchwide Women of the ELCA and what she and our churchwide board have been doing. We also welcomed Women of the ELCA Executive Director Linda Post Bushkofsky, who was in the area and joined us for much of the day.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Northern Virginia provided speakers for our separate and simultaneous plenary sessions--one in Spanish and one in English--entitled "NAMI--In Our Own Voice." Presenting our Spanish session were Melisma Cox and Aida Pitot, and Kirsten Obadal presented our English session. Comments collected after the convention confirmed that our topic in dealing openly and honestly with mental illness and how it affects not only individuals but also their families was right on target and our speakers were much appreciated.
Our workshops were well received and are as follows:
- God, Improv, and the Art of Living: Writer, speaker, pastor, personal and professional coach, running coach, the Reverend MaaftyAnn McKibben Dana presented an intereactive workshop where we discovered how the principles of improvisation can guide us in our daily lives, when we are faced with detours and disappointments—when life doesn't go according to "the plan."
- Update: Refugee Resettlement: Kay Bellor, Vice President of Programs at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), spoke to the state of the Refugee Resettlement program in the current political climate as well as how congregations and individuals can support the efforts of LIRS.
- Mask Off: Understanding Your Spiritual Gifts and Walking in Your Purpose: Sheena Foster, Board Member of our own Metro DC Synodical Women's Organization, Women of the ELCA, and she currently serves as the Executive Director of Can I Live, Inc, a national non-profit resident association that equips and empowers residents of public housing to become self-sufficient. Sheena presented an interactive workshop designed for women under 40--but available and applicable to all ages!
- Personal Story with Q&A (Spanish): Clara Campos, a member of NAMI, presented her personal story and fielded questions from the attendees.
- NAMI Parent Workshop (English): Clara Campos and Cheryl Johnson, members of NAMI, presented an educational PowerPoint, a personal story from a parent, and a personal story from a young adult who began developing symptoms of a mental condition in grade school.
We welcomed 88 convention attendees, who contributed boxes and boxes and trunks full (!) of personal toiletries for Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) as in-kind gift donations for LIRS patrons as these organizations work hand-in-hand. Voting members elected some new officers and board members at the business meeting. We all enjoyed a light Continental breakfast and a delicious salad-and-sandwich lunch provided by our hostesses at St. Mark's, along with shopping and fellowship with other women in our synod. Our community booths and vendors included Beading for Haiti (Peace Women of the ELCA), ELCA World Hunger, Fair Trade Winds, Gifts of Hope, Lutheran Social Services/National Capitol Area, Lutheran World Relief, Thrivent, La Sagrada Familia, The Life Center of St. Mark's, SWO/Women of the ELCA, and SWO Human Trafficking Awareness. And a good time was had by all!
PLEASE COME AND JOIN US NEXT YEAR
Recap of SWO Annual Convention: "All Anew"
Metro DC Synodical Women's Organization's Annual Convention held at Peace Lutheran Church in Alexandria, VA, on Saturday, May 6, 2017, was a wonderful experience! We began with an inspirational Holden Prayer Service adapted for our morning worship and led by The Reverend Sarah Scherschligt (of Peace) with the homily delivered by The Reverend Richard H. Graham (Bishop, Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod). The interactive service was very a very moving experience of hymn singing and music.
Our special guest, Patti Austin, Churchwide President of the Women of the ELCA, updated us on what was happening within churchwide Women of the ELCA and what she and our churchwide board has been doing. She traveled extensively in her tenure as President these past three years, including taking Women of the ELCA mission trips to Guatemala and Tanzania, and she shared photos of her travels and highlights of her three-year tenure in a PowerPoint presentation. At the end of her talk, Patti took several questions from the members.
Our workshops were well received and are as follows:
- Gifts for You: Churchwide WELCA President Patti Austin presented an intereactive workshop entitled Gifts for You, wherein we surveyed our talents, abilities, feelings, thoughts, and choices to discover our gifts from God.
- A Vision of the Future Church: The Rev. Michael Gutzler, Holy Trinity, Falls Church, VA discussed his view of what the church will be like in the not-so-distant future, likening it to the way the Women of the ELCA is organized, meeting often if others homes or buildings other than church buildings--meeting people where they live.
- Introduction to Tai Chi: Alan “Rob” Robertson, Catalyst Personal Fitness, got us up and moving in his introductory workshop on Tai Chi.
- Women in Agriculture around the World: Kristin Vought, Philanthropic Associate, Lutheran World Relief, speaking on what LWR was doing to help women become self-sufficient to support their families through agricultural endeavors internationally.
From the 60 convention attendees, we collected 348 “Personal Care Kits” for Lutheran World Relief as in-kind gift donations (which were transported the following Tuesday to the LWR warehouse in New Windsor, MD). Voting members elected some new officers and board members at the business meeting. We all enjoyed a light Continental breakfast and a delicious salad-and-sandwich lunch provided by our hostesses at Peace, along with shopping and fellowship with other women in our synod. Our community booths and vendors included Beading for Haiti (Peace Women of the ELCA), ELCA World Hunger, Fair Trade Winds, Gifts of Hope, Lifeline Partnership, Lutheran Social Services/National Capitol Area, Lutheran World Relief, Thrivent, La Sagrada Familia, SWO/Women of the ELCA/Tenth Triennial Gathering, and SWO Human Trafficking Awareness. And a good time was had by all!
PV for Phebe--A Success Story!
Our SWO joined other SWOs, synods, and many other with the Northeast Minnesota SWO in this endeavor ... funds were matched with a National Geographic Matching Grant. Phebe Hospital in Liberia was powered solely by expensive and polluting diesel generator--generating needed power at Phebe Hospital was a life-or-death scenario. Indeed, almost half a million rural Liberians rely on Phebe for emergency and regular medical care. There is a God-given solution to Phebe’s problems: SOLAR. This project was endorsed by Churchwide ELCA and Women of the ELCA to assist Phebe Hospital in this remarkable effort to deliver solar power. And we are pleased to announce that the formal ribbon cutting at Phebe Hospital is scheduled to take place November 16th! By investing funds in a photovoltaic microgrid, Phebe Hospital and its staff will not only be empowered to achieve self-reliance through solar power, but serve as a powerful model for rebuilding critical infrastructure in a resilient manner.
Thank you for joining with us in this challenge! Click HERE for the full story of the PV for Phebe plan!
Tenth Triennial Gathering--"All Anew" Recap
Click HERE to enjoy videos, slides, and transcripts of the Tenth Triennial Convention and Gathering (2017)!
Click HERE to enjoy viewing photos of the Tenth Triennial Convention and Gathering (2017)!
Recap of SWO Annual Convention: "I was a stranger..."
Metro DC Synodical Women's Organization's Annual Convention held at Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, MD, on Saturday, April 16, 2016, was a moving experience! We began with an uplifting worship service led by The Rev. Connie A. Miller (of Saint Luke) with the homily delivered by The Rev. Elizabeth Platz (Saint Luke). The Saint Luke bell choir and organist provided an exciting array of hymns and music that truly inspired us all.
The Plenary Session on "Immigration and Refugee Crisis: Lutherans in Action" was presented jointly by representatives from Lutheran Social Services/ National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). The dedicated people of these organizations do wonderful work in helping to acclimate and resettle the many immigrants that often have to wait years in foreign resettlement camps before they are considered for entrance into the US. We learned what we can do to help as well.
Karen Voris, member of churchwide Women of the ELCA Executive Board, discussed what is going on at WELCA churchwide, and we also enjoyed viewing a video of La Sagrada Familia, which is the current SWO project through June 2017. The afternoon workshops were well attended:
- Karen Voris led a Bible study on our Convention theme verse: “… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." (Matthew 25: 35-36)
- From LSS/NCA, Deacon Kati Miller-Holland, Director, Church and Community Ministries, and Aerlande Wontamo, Senior Resettlement Manager, provided informaiton and materials to share with our congregations to guide us through the preparation and commitment phases of becoming a co-sponsoring congregation with LSS/NCA.
- Maddie Tallman spoke on her year abroad with the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Mission program in Argentina and on all of the wonderful women who accompanied her along the way. Maddie shared some ups and downs of living in community and what it's like to learn a languauge by immersion.
- Bonnie Elizabeth Kendrick, an excellent Seated Yoga instructor, from Annandale, VA, taught gentle stretching movements to bring health, harmony, and balance for body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
Participants brought in-kind gifts for Artemis House (a Fairfax County shelter for victims of domestic violence)—personal items—and the Polaris Project (Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative)—gift cards. Voting members elected some new officers and board members at the business meeting. We all enjoyed a light Continental breakfast and a delicious salad-and-sandwich lunch provided by our hostesses at Saint Luke, along with shopping and fellowship with other women in our synod… a good time was had by all!
PLEASE COME AND JOIN US NEXT YEAR!
Recap of "LOVE THY NEIGHBOR"
Metro DC Synodical Women's Organization's Annual Convention held at The Village at Rockville on Saturday, April 11, 2015, was a huge success! The morning Plenary Session was a discussion on Human Trafficking, which helped to raise our consciousness on what is really going on in our world... and possibly in our own neighborhoods. (See our "Human Trafficking Info" page for additional information.) The worship service reinforced the Women of the ELCA committment to helping women to help themselves. The afternoon workshops were well attended:
- Bonnie Priebe had a wonderful book workshop on One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and as many attendees had read the book, there was a lively discussion after a short video
- Joyce Gibson, our WELCA Executive Board rep, took us in an exploration into praying.
- Paul Culler, owner of Fair Trade Winds and Jubilee Traders, discussed his recent trip to Northern India to visit fair trade artisans and shared stories of women who work in fair trade cooperatives worldwide.
- On SOCIAL JUSTICE hosted a viewing and discussion of the DVD series, “Making Whiteness Visible,” followed by learning sessions on the awareness of racism as well as understanding the definitions of institutional racism and prejudice, especially in light of current events.
- The Lutheran World Relief service project of tying fleece blankets was the perfect ending to the day—Barbara O’Keefe had everything organized so that people could jump right in and cut or tie. It was well structured so that people could stay as long as they were able to.
PLEASE COME AND JOIN US NEXT YEAR!
2014 WELCA Triennial Gathering & Convention:
of many generations
The Ninth Triennial Gathering was held July 24-27, 2014, in Charlotte, NC.
For information on what went on at the gathering, go to http://www.welcatg.org/news/experience-welcatg-again/.
News of the Triennial Convention can be found at http://www.womenoftheelca.org/news--pages-142.php.
To view photos of the events day-by-day, go to http://photos.womenoftheelca.org/Other-2.
Forty-one women attended the Triennial Gathering from the Metro DC SWO--a very exciting turnout! Three of these women were also delegates to the Convention: Kathy Meier, Wilma Dublin, and Fran Eck. What did they think about what went on at the Convention and at the Gathering?
SUCCESS! SWO Project 2013-2015: Lutheran Campus Ministries
In the Metro D.C. Synod, there are several Universities or Colleges that provide a College Campus program for Lutheran students. There are amazing groups of young people engaged in this ministry who are eager to serve in the community by being mentors, helping build self-esteem, and providing solid role models for elementary school children. They involve themselves in projects to provide backpacks, warm coats, and books. They share time together in worship, in song, and in social gatherings that help build their own faith background.
The Metro D.C. Synodical Women’s Organization had chosen Lutheran College Ministries in the Metro D.C. area for its 2013-2015 giving program. The program began December 1, 2013, and continued through the Annual Convention in 2015—slightly longer than one year, but well worth the extra time to meet our goal of $5000.
The Metro D.C. SWO Women of the ELCA has a long history of serving our community and this is the next step. Thanks to everyone who donated to the project for helping to make this a successful campaign!