By Pastor Gloria Keiser Dovre, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission

How many congregations are working on a fall stewardship program/campaign?  As we look around at the browning fields and the harvest of crops, it is a natural time to reflect on God’s bounty.  Even though fewer and fewer of us live on farms, our connection to the harvest is powerful.  We don’t survive if it weren’t for the cycle of planting, growth, death and harvest.  Thank you to the farmers and gardeners among us!

If you farm, or if you’ve paid attention to farm equipment, you will have noticed that the methods for bringing in the crops has changed a lot!  I remember my Dad telling stories of hitching up the horses to pull the wagon while he and his father hand picked and husked the ears of corn.  When he began farming, he had a four row planter and an open cab tractor.  He had a two row combine.  Over the years, the size of the equipment and the size of the fields has grown.  Now combines pick up to twelve rows, and measures the moisture, yield and other information on its onboard computer!

So too, are the ways in which we collect financial gifts in our congregations.  Some of you remember bringing your financial gifts after the harvest was in, as well as chickens and vegetables for the pastor’s family during the rest of the year.  Now, while many of us still use offering envelopes and checks, we are also using online giving, Simply Giving or other forms of automatic transfers, giving kiosks for those who use debit cards, printed squares in bulletins and newsletters – There are a lot of options! 

Any time of year is a good time to reflect on our financial gifts that we bring to God’s work through our congregations.  After all, we receive God’s mercy and grace year round.  It can be complicated to think about how much – and how – to give.  God calls us to give a tithe, or ten percent, of our income, and more as we are able.  But, it doesn’t need to be complicated.

dove_roundPastor Gloria Keiser Dovre serves as Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission.  She was born in Gothenburg, Nebraska, graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA.​ She has served as the Director for Admissions at Wartburg Seminary, and pastor/interim pastor in congregations in Spragueville, Dubuque, Des Moines, Ames, and Huxley.  Pastor Dovre also served in leadership at five ELCA Youth Gatherings.  In synod ministry, her work includes stewardship, mission support, new and renewing congregations, and first call theological education.  She and her husband Don are members at First Lutheran Church, Conroy, where Don serves as the pastor.  They have four children and two granddaughters.

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