by Andrea Cross

Lutherans are well known for putting on a ‘good spread’. Perhaps this stems from Martin Luther’s example of hosting his ‘Table Talk’ gatherings. Or could it be a more recent phenomena fostered by the bounty of blessings many of us share today? Ultimately, of course, it is Jesus who inspires our Longest Lutheran Lunch, with his example of hospitality to ‘the least of these’.

More than 100 Lutheran congregations and schools shared the gift of hospitality by taking part in the Longest Lutheran Lunch this year, as part of the celebration of the anniversary of the Reformation (31 October).

Registrations for this annual event included seven congregations in New Zealand and even one in Ontario, Canada. All Australian states and territories were represented, apart from Tasmania and the Northern Territory, with South Australia having the largest by Andrea Cross contingent of 27. Four primary schools, two secondary colleges and one agedcare facility were involved.

More than 50 congregations and schools took part for the first time.

The official registrations are not a true reflection of the number of congregations involved, however, as some nominated as a parish and invited two or more congregations to events.

Some lunches were held as early as June, while some were in late November. Only one congregation registered a lunch on 31 October.

Others changed the name completely to fit in with their activities. Some participants staged breakfasts or dinners. Members from Zion Lutheran Church, Vectis, in Victoria’s Wimmera region, combined their ‘lunch’ with their annual German Night, which drew more than 120 people, most of whom were not members of the church community.

Others to ‘turn German’ for their Longest Lutheran Lunch included St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Loxton, in South Australia’s Riverland on 8 November, and three congregations from Queensland’s Gold Coast, which met at St Andrews, Tallebudgera, on 1 November.

By contrast, several congregations from the Barossa Valley met at Moculta on 25 October, with an Australian flavour to their lunch, featuring campoven damper, lamb stew and Anzac biscuits on the menu.

A short distance away at Redeemer Lutheran School, Nuriootpa, more than 400 staff and students teamed the Longest Lutheran Lunch with their 150th anniversary, under the theme ‘Eating Together in Our 150th Year’. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Witta, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, hit the front page of its local newspaper with lunchers dressed in period costume.

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