During this synodical term, 2015–2018, the LCA/NZ reaches two significant milestones: in 2016 the LCA’s 50th birthday; and in 2017 the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. 50.500 faith.freedom.future invites us to celebrate and commemorate these special anniversaries – with thanks to God for his past blessings, and in the sure hope and confidence that he is building the LCA/NZ for the future.

Chance to tell your congregation’s story

Lutheran Archives is inviting young people to research and record their congregation’s story since church union in 1966. Cash prizes will be awarded for senior (13-16 years) and junior (12 years and under) students in two categories: written report and multimedia presentation.

The competition is being championed by Ev Leske, son of the late Pastor Ev Leske, who wrote the ‘textbook’ about Lutherans in Australia since 1838, For Faith and Freedom. The title of the book was the inspiration for the tagline for the 50.500 initiative, faith.freedom.future.

‘The 50th anniversary of the union of the ELCA and UELCA – the birthday of the LCA – is a wonderful opportunity to engage our young people in the life of our church’, says Mr Leske, chairperson of the Committee of Lutheran Archives.

‘This year we can look back with thanks to God for his faithfulness and guidance as we have journeyed together as one church these past 50 years. At the same time we can look forward with our children and grandchildren to the LCA God is building for them and through them.’

The Lutheran Archives competition is challenging young people to submit entries under the heading ‘My congregation – past, present and future’. Their reports or multimedia presentations will document the changes in their congregation over the past 50 years, and what it might look like in the future. They will gain extra merit for using material collected from interviews and for contacting Lutheran Archives for research assistance.

Mr Leske stresses, too, that Lutheran Archives’ records are available to all congregation members for research at any time, not just this competition.

Young people from all LCA congregations may enter, including those from congregations established after church union. Entries close on 25 September 2016. Full details are available on the 50.500 website www.50500.lca.org.au

Incentive to ‘have a go’

Congregations, schools and ministry groups have an incentive to dust off shelved plans for local mission. Under the 50.500 faith.freedom.future initiative approved by General Synod last year, they could receive a grant of up to $25,000 from the new ‘Have a Go’ Fund for their project or activity.

The purpose of the fund is to encourage and equip grassroots communities of the LCA/NZ to ‘have a go’ at local mission and ministry. It will provide grants for initiatives likely to start during this synodical term, 2015–2018.

Eligible projects will need to align with the LCA’s strategic priorities (outlined in LCA Strategic Direction 2013–2018) and the group’s own mission and ministry goals. There will also be a focus on ‘going and growing’ as God’s people. The 50.500 panel will look favourably on projects that are innovative, future-focused and sustainable in the mid to long-term.

Pastor Neville Otto, Secretary of the Church, encourages all congregations to ‘have a go’ at something new in local mission and ministry. ‘While we recognise all the good things God has done over our 50 years together, this synodical term of celebration and commemoration is also the perfect time to seek God’s guidance for what he wants to do in the next 50 years – and then to ‘have a go’!

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