Women of the ELCA

Mission Moment: Anti-Human Trafficking Work

South-Central Synodical Women’s Organization
Anti-Human Trafficking Work Is Making A Difference!
By Helen Sheahan, Past President, South-Central Synodical Women’s Organization

For our South-Central Synodical Women’s Organization, understanding and responding to human trafficking is a call to walk with Jesus.

At the 2014 and 2017 Women of the ELCA Triennial Conventions, women voted to continue to bring awareness of and to prevent human trafficking. Women of the ELCA has focused on ending human trafficking for over a decade.
This year there were bills introduced in both legislatures on 3 topics related to human trafficking. Along with the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin and 2 other Wisconsin women’s synod organizations, our women’s synod board participated in the legislative process and had an impact. Over 400 postcards supporting the bills were signed by women during our 2019 Spring Gatherings in April.

In March, Helen Sheahan and Margo Holzman, women’s board members, attended a hearing on Assembly Bill 41, Safe Harbor for Trafficked Youth at the state Capitol along with Rev. Cindy Crane, Director of Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin, Deacon Vicki Hanrahan of the Synod staff, and other Women of the ELCA.

Our work continued September 24 when our South-Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization was a co-sponsor of a rally that included education and visiting representatives and senators at the state Capitol. Women from around the state participated. The culmination of our efforts was the signing of AB 22-SB 25 into law as Act 27 on Nov. 20. This bill requires truck driver education to include information on human trafficking. Helen Sheahan was present at the signing, shook the Governor’s hand, and even received a state pen, symbolic of having an active interest in the passing of the bill. The signing was very well attended by supportive legislators, Department of Human Services administrators, and anti-human trafficking advocates. What impressed Helen was the Governor’s knowledge about the reason and benefits of the bill and acknowledging the efforts done on a bipartisan level in support of the bill.
Over the past four years South-Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization has been offering education about human trafficking through workshops by Rev. Cindy Crane, Director of LOPPW, and Dawn Heath from Sugar Creek Lutheran Church and the Synod’s Speaker’s Bureau, and founder of Join the Movement Events, Inc., a nonprofit anti-human trafficking organization. These workshops and presentations have been at our Biennial Convention, synod wide women’s events, and Conference Gatherings.

The women’s board has made donations to Cherish All Children, a service of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, that offers services to combat human trafficking, and to Dawn Heath’s Join the Movement Events, Inc., and Lutheran Social Services.

Articles to educate about human trafficking and updates about anti-human trafficking legislation appear regularly in our quarterly newsletter, The Trumpeter, which is available free via email. We have published annual prayers for ant-human trafficking before the Super Bowl for the past 3 years.

Local women’s units are also active in anti-human trafficking efforts. One example this year is St. Peter’s in Loganville that sponsored five forums on human trafficking and used My Neighbor Is Not For Sale, a resource by Cherish All Children, a service of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, available through WELCA.org

Nationally, Women of the ELCA also provide the following:

  • A staff person – Jennifer DeLeon, ELCA Director for Justice, who is responsible for providing resources, programs, and assistance on anti-human trafficking.

Resources on WELCA.org website

  • “My Neighbor is Not for Sale” is a four-part guide for adult education sessions, youth groups and more, produced by Cherish All Children, a service of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota.
  • “UNDERSTANDING & RESPONDING TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING”, is a discussion study
  • Human Trafficking 101, a powerpoint of basic information

Exhibits at the 2015 & 2018 National ELCA Youth Gatherings on anti-sex-trafficking and collected kind gifts for anti-human trafficking organizations.

$2000 grant in 2015 to Lutheran Office for Public Policy (LOPPW) in Wisconsin for travel, supplies, printing, and speaker expenses for their project “Safe Harbor Campaign”, a statewide education program on Human Trafficking, held in 3 locations.

Thank you for your mission support that helps our church follow Jesus by putting our faith into
action to protect our most vulnerable. Sometimes your offerings that get sent on to the larger church
come back to our synod in forms of grants such as the once received by LOPPW. We are church together
for the sake of the world!

Governor Tony Evers signs AB 22-SB 25 into law as Act. 27 on November 20. (Helen Sheahan seen left in blue). Helen Sheahan representing WELCA and Rev. Cindy Crane and Intern Amelia Gonzales represented LOPPW. The bipartisan bill Governor Evers signed into law requires commercial driving education to include information on human trafficking and how to spot the signs of it. WELCA members from around the state were very active in advocating for this bill.

2020 Triennial Gathering Tours

Learn more about Phoenix and surrounding areas through specially curated tours offered exclusively by Women of the ELCA.

Join a tour!

Come. Be inspired. WELCA Triennial Gathering

2020 Triennial Gathering in Phoenix – July 16th-19th

Women from around the synod are encouraged to attend this wonderful event. So far, we have 17 women attending from the South Central Synod of Wisconsin.  When registering, we are Region 5K.

Approximate costs:
$450 – round trip airfare from Madison (O’hare is cheaper but you have costs of getting to & from O’hare)
$325 – Triennial Gathering registration (price goes up to $375 on Jan. 7, 2020)
$235 – 3 nights in a hotel sharing with 1 roommate. If you share a room with 3, it will be $157 each.
$150 – 3 days of meals
_____
$1160 Total

Note: Total does not reflect airport shuttle service on either end of the trip.  Van Galder bus fare (one way) from Madison to O’Hare is $34.  Shuttle service from airport to downtown Phoenix is $39 (one way).

Helpful website: https://www.womenoftheelca.org/new-triennial-event-page

Contact Janna Smith if you would like to attend.  smithjanna55@gmail.com

Thankofferings

The idea of collecting donations in small offering boxes goes back to the early 1800s, when church women formed “mite” or “cent” societies to raise money.  Mite boxes were given out as fundraising tools to collect pennies for the support of church projects and foreign missionaries.  In later years, Lutheran women were given small Thankoffering boxes to place in a special location in their homes as a visible reminder of blessings received.  Women would add coins to those boxes as particular blessings were noted.

Giving Thankofferings is grounded in scripture and in the WELCA constitution. “All income, whether received by the unit, conference, synodical or churchwide organization, shall be viewed as being given to the total program of Women of the ELCA.”

Mission Moment: LOPPW & WELCA Gather Around the Safe Harbor Human Trafficking Bill

Women of the ELCA & Lutheran Office for Public Policy Gather As Beloved Community
Around the Safe Harbor Hu
man Trafficking Bill
By Amelia Gonzales, LOPPW Intern

The Women of the ELCA and Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin joined together to hold a rally on youth are impacted by sex trafficking on September 24.  The day began at Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison.  We then went to the capitol, equipped with information and faith-based responses to advocate for the Safe Harbor bill.  AB 41/AB 49 would move Wisconsin ahead in directing trafficked youth to receiving human services rather than criminalizing them.

We heard from Morgan Meadows, M. Ed., Survivor of sex trafficking and consultant in leadership and survivor advocacy, Door County; Bishop Jim Arends, La Crosse Area Synod; Jen DeLeon, National WELCA Director for Justice; Dana World Patterson and Jay Reinke, Milwaukee Joint Task Force on Human Trafficking; and Representative Jill Billings. District 95.

The Safe Harbor Rally was a chance to bring together people to support a very important piece of legislation that is currently making its way through the system. For someone who has been an advocate for human trafficking for three years now, the rally was a truly an amazing experience to be a part of.  Not only was it great to hear the amazing speakers from the Milwaukee Human Trafficking Task Force and a survivor of human trafficking, Morgan Meadows, but also to have the chance to speak to legislators about why the Safe Harbor Bill is needed in the state of Wisconsin. The day also gave me joy to see people come to the rally who perhaps weren’t familiar with the bill but were willing to learn more about it and to understand why it was needed.

The rally was also taught us why certain legislators weren’t in support of the Safe Harbor Bill and how to be that person to perhaps further educate legislators

Amelia Gonzales joined the Lutheran Office for Public Policy as a graduate student in social work at UW-Madison in September.  She comes to us via the university’s 4W-STREETS (Social Transformation to End the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking for Sex) program. Amelia is a recent graduate in social work and sociology from UW Oshkosh.

Thank you for your mission support that helps ministries like this happen!

Mission Moment: SCSW Women’s Organization

The Women of the ELCA held their 14th Biennial Convention last Saturday. The theme was “Bold Women – Answering the Call”. The keynote speaker, Reverend Angela Khabeb from Holy Trinity in Minneapolis was outstanding. There were also excellent workshops and worship.

At the business meeting, a new women’s synod board and Voting Members to the 2020 Triennial Convention were elected. The newly elected board includes Janna Smith (President), Sandy Seffrood (Vice President), Lynn Mehringer (Secretary), Bonnie Gilbertson (Treasurer), Linda Freitag, Eleanor Siebert, Lawanna Schieldt, Sheryl Phillipson, Diane Luginbuhl, Kathy Hultine, and Eugenie Hildebrandt from across the synod.

Voting Members elected to the 2020 Triennial Convention are Janna Smith, President, Barbara Penington and Kathy Hultine (first time voting members), and Polly Carter and Donna Peterson. The Alternate Voting members are Marlys Hittesdorf, Lawanna Schieldt, and Jane Harrison.

ELEVENTH TRIENNIAL GATHERING SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE – APPLY NOW! DUE OCTOBER 1, 2019
July 16 – 19, 2020, Phoenix, Arizona

The South-Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization provides 4 scholarships in the form of the Gathering registration fee. Here is a link to the scholarship application form. October 1, 2019 is the deadline for emailing or postmarking a completed application form or requesting a paper copy of the form by email or calling Helen Sheahan at 608-692-7553. Email address is sheahan1@sbcglobal.net or mailing address is 1106 Valley Stream Drive, Madison, WI 53711. Recipients will be notified by October 31, 2019.

Triennial Gatherings are always uplifting and inspiring. Yes, Phoenix will be hot in July but the buildings are all air-conditioned. So start thinking now about attending. Registration opens September 30. Early-bird registration through January 6, 2020, is $325. After that, registration is $375. One day registrations are $200. We can’t wait to see you!

Submitted by Helen Sheahan, Past President 

Just Love

Women of the ELCA – Lutheran/Divinity Educational Student Scholarship Due August 12, 2019

Every other year in connection with our Biennial Convention (September 21) the South-Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization of the Women of the ELCA offers two educational scholarships of $500 each.  They are not gender specific.

Scholarships will be given to students who are pursuing education in Called Ministry (such as Pastor or Diaconal Minister) or Youth Ministry in a congregation or ELCA Bible Camp Ministry.

The scholarship will be used toward the 2019 – 2020 academic year.  The student must be enrolled full time.  Our purpose with this scholarship is to support one another in our callings.

The application form can be obtained by emailing Helen Sheahan at  sheahan1@sbcglobal.net.  Completed form and reference letter need to be submitted by August 12, 2019.

“Just Love”

11th Triennial Convention – Phoenix
July 14-16, 2020

11th Triennial Gathering – Phoenix
July 16-19, 2020

Women of the ELCA (WELCA)