Thankofferings: A Season of Gratitude

Our annual Thankoffering will be collected at this special all women service giving thanks for our many blessings. An organized annual service is only one way to take part in this age-old practice among women of faith. Just as we’re grateful more than once a year, we can make Thankofferings any time the spirit moves us.

This is the second annual fundraiser for Calvary’s WELCA.

At this service you will find and/or be given special WELCA envelopes to place on the altar during the service. (Please make checks out to Calvary Lutheran Church with a notation for the “Thankoffering”.) Money’s collected will be used to support church projects, local charities and WELCA.

Please bring your 2018 mite box collections if you wish.

A limited number of new mite boxes will be available for the coming year.
The idea of collecting donations in small offering boxes goes back to the very early 1800s, when 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.

November, though it usually goes by another name–Thanksgiving. Giving thanks often turns into giving other gifts. Charities raise most of their money at this time of year. Volunteers observe the holiday by serving a meal at a shelter or delivering food baskets to families. Yet, the link between gratitude and giving is not automatic. Why not count your blessings and end it there? Christianity is one of many religious traditions that teach followers to go further and follow “I have been given much” with “therefore I should give.” Jesus put it this way in Luke 12:48: “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.”

For Christian disciples, giving thanks involves acknowledging our responsibility to give. The Thankoffering is one way that Christian women have encouraged the link between gratitude and giving. Begun in the late 19th century, the Thankoffering tradition encourages women to take a daily account of God’s blessings and, in response, give small offerings into a Thankoffering box. Then, at an annual Thankoffering worship service, women combine their individual collections to support mission and ministry. Among Women of the ELCA participants, November is a popular month for Thankoffering services. Thankofferings reinforce the idea that gratitude should inspire giving.

There is no simple formula for determining just how much we’re required to give. Instead, Jesus calls us to a discipleship that involves dedicating our whole lives to loving God and loving our neighbor. How do we figure out what it looks like to give our whole lives in discipleship? Certainly, it involves more than giving money. However, Scripture and history teach us that money is always part of discipleship.

In the biblical story of the widow’s offering at the treasury (Mark 12), Jesus compares the offering of a poor widow to the money offered by rich people. Though the widow only gives two small coins, Jesus says that she gave more because she gave everything she had to live on. The message is clear–no matter how much you have to give, your money has value to God. Yet, Jesus is not saying that everyone should be poor and give small offerings. Rather, he praises the widow in order to criticize the rich for refusing to give a bigger portion of their wealth. Their money is needed, too.

(Extract from 11/3/2015 Gather Magazine-Community, Life, Seasons by Emma Crossen.)