By Becky Koch, President of the South Carolina Women of the ELCA
South Carolina Women of the ELCA is the SC women’s ministry organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Women gather in community to grow in faith and live their faith through ministry and action. In SC WELCA, you will find opportunities to serve and make a difference in your community and around the world.
What a year this has been! In the fall of 2019 all nine of our conferences gathered in fellowship, service, and worship. Ladies supported several SC Synod Mission Partner organizations, Hope Center, Thornwell Home, The Program for Exceptional People, Newborns in Need, and the ELC in Tanzania, South Western Diocese. In February, we sponsored a retreat at Camp Kinard. But in March, our world came to a halt due to COVID-19. Only one Spring Conference meeting was held. Retreats, church activities, schools and community events were cancelled. The Board made the difficult decision to cancel our annual convention and the 11th WELCA National Convention and Gathering were postponed until August 2021.
But the virus didn’t keep Lutheran women down long. We stayed connected through virtual Bible studies, social media, and zoom meetings. We made masks along with our quilts, and we found creative ways to use our gifts to carry out our mission to serve and love the people of God.
Through the generous giving of our ladies, SC WELCA continues to support Churchwide WELCA through regular offerings, and we also send Joy Offerings to support the ELCA Good Gifts Program. Benevolence funds supported Katie’s Fund, Churchwide WELCA (where needed most), and Lutheran Disaster Response.
Our 2021 convention projects will again support Lutheran Disaster Response and the Children’s Advocacy Centers. We will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women in the ELCA during our convention.
This year brought its unique joys and challenges. Together we will praise God as we weather this storm and act boldly as we seek ways to shine God’s light and show God’s grace. “When you pass through the waters I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2.