by Julie Slaghekke

This year the Longest Lutheran Lunch celebration coincided with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Almost 150 congregations from all over Australia and New Zealand, as well as Canada, welcomed family and friends to their Longest Lutheran Lunch (LLLu) events.

While dates, times, styles and themes differed, the intent was constant: inviting people to share in God’s goodness through worship, fellowship and a meal; honouring the culture and heritage of the LCA/NZ and the legacy of Luther; offering an inclusive, intergenerational event; and connecting as many people as possible. Event organisers were creative, committed and contrasting in their approaches.

In Auckland, New Zealand, Mountainside Lutheran members chose to share God’s blessings with those in need. Rather than hosting a lunch, they packed food into containers with a personal message and tract or bookmark, then took them to Auckland City Mission.

Mighty rain trees in the garden of St Paul’s Lutheran Parish Townsville, in Far North Queensland, shaded more than 50 lunchgoers. Joined by members from nearby Ingham and Ayr, Townsville celebrated the church’s birthday with a shared meal and birthday cake.

At North Adelaide, South Australia, members and guests were joined for lunch by ‘Martin’, who resides at the church.

At Walla Walla, New South Wales, a progressive lunch followed a service led by the local youth. After soup served in the spring sunshine, the meal moved to two venues for mains and two for sweets and socialising.

Staff, students and friends of Redeemer Lutheran School, Nuriootpa, in South Australia, provided a beautiful demonstration of intergenerational mission. Women from their supporting Lutheran congregations made more than 400 cupcakes for students to enjoy. Students also commemorated the Reformation anniversary by forming
a big ‘500’ on the school oval.

This is what the Longest Lutheran Lunch is all about – celebrating the unity that comes from who we are in Jesus and sharing that with people in our community, no matter what their age, culture or denomination.

Julie Slaghekke is Coordinator for the 2017 Longest Lutheran Lunch.

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