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Report on the 18th Convention of the SWCA Synodical Women’s Organization of the Women of the ELCA


Sharon Heck’s granddaughter Sarah Heck painted the 2016 SWCA SWO Convention banner. If anyone wishes to display it at their church, or at a W/ELCA function, contact Sharon Heck at (562) 698-0476 or

On the weekend of October 14 – 16, the women of the Southwest California Synod met in convention at the Grand Vista Hotel in Simi Valley. The 18th Convention of the Southwest California Synodical Women’s Organization of the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America opened and closed with many activities occurring.

The theme: “Blessed to Be a Blessing” centered around Genesis 12:2 NRSV: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.“ Sharon Heck’s granddaughter Sarah Heck created the banner with the theme.

The goals of the convention were:
• Conduct the business of the Southwest California Synodical Women’s Organization.
• Inspire us to do a Random Act of Kindness.
• Move us to act boldly on our faith.
• Open our hearts and minds to hear Your call.

Sermons, worship, Bible study, workshops, discussions, closing worship, and open forums implemented these goals. The Bible study leader was Pastor Erin Martinson, who is also a healer, helps individuals and groups create connections for facilitating wholeness in ourselves, our communities, and the earth, in fun, creative and healthy ways.

This weekend heard about many blessings. Chaplain Pastor Nancy Switzler, a second career pastor at Our Redeemer in Oxnard for the past six years, led us in prayer and our worship service. Anna Sarver, Churchwide Women of the ELCA Representative, brought greetings from Churchwide to the assembly. Triennial Gathering Promoter, Karen Ronchetti, brought the assembly the Triennial Gathering information and encouraged all to attend July 14 – 16, 2017. Joyce Opjorden served as our parliamentarian.

Business of the convention involved election of officers, board, and Triennial voting members. Opportunities to attend workshops included 1) LOPP – November Ballot Information lead by Mark Carlson, 2) Gun Violence Prevention Synod Task Force, 3) Dixie Hanson on Faith, Sexism, Justice: Conversations toward a Social Statement, 4) How to navigate the W/ELCA Website lead by Karen Moyer, and 5) Prayer, Care and Share lead by Robin Tribbitt.

The Saturday night banquet entertainment was Si’gn’lent Prophets, a sign language ministry under the direction of Mr. Darvis Quinn and supervision of Mr. Mark Coates with members of Ascension, Los Angeles and Holy Trinity, Inglewood. Their ministry spreads the Good News message of Jesus Christ through sign language of popular gospel music. Many standing committee reports came to the assembly. There were many vendors such as LSS, CLU and PLTS, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Bookstore, LWR Fair Trade Market, and African Team Ministries. The voting members of the convention elected the following: Karen Moyer, President; Rosemary Lawson, Vice President; Dianne Tillman, Secretary; Karil Drake, Treasurer; Board Members: Sharon Heck, Keia Morris, Terri Kelly, Kristal Shipp, Pastor Donella Silveria, Mary Ridenour French and Dona Kintzi; Triennial Voting members: Karen Moyer, President; Keia Morris, Member at Large; Mary Shipp, Women of Color; Diana Craig, First Time attendee.

Many more fun activities occurred during the convention. Many thanks to all who make this convention possible especially Robin Tribbitt, Program Coordinator and Julie Jensen, Facilities Coordinator.

The Board of the SWCA SWO of the ELCA