With a Lutheran school in their area, the ministry focus of members at the Wyndham–Hobson Bay Multi-site Congregation in Melbourne’s west has long been on the young and families. But now that those who were founders of the congregation are ageing, the church is also setting out on a new ministry journey.

by Faye Schmidt

This year saw the celebration of 50 years of Lutheran worship in the Wyndham–Hobson Bay area and 20 years since the opening of the local school, Good News Lutheran College, Tarneit, which is now a thriving P-12 school.

Ministry to children and families remains a priority for the congregation, but we have recently also committed to a structured ministry to meet the needs of older members who have served St Philip’s Tarneit (formerly Werribee) and Martin Luther Altona North so faithfully for so long. There are times when these ageing members are in hospital, or confined to their homes, and may be alone and isolated. It is now time to recognise their service and to provide a ministry of service to them.

On the last day of Victoria’s Seniors Week in 2018, a week in which seniors are celebrated and there is a focus on their contribution to society and their needs, our church launched its Ministry with the Ageing program in Tarneit.

The Federal Government’s 2017 parliamentary inquiry into elder abuse identified neglect as an element of abuse most applicable to the ageing. This initiative is designed to ensure that as a congregation we don’t neglect the spiritual care of our elders.

Ministry with the Ageing needs to be recognised, deliberate and focused on the needs of the elderly and part of who we are as a church.

We have formed a team of interested people and identified services which will make up the ministry. These will apply to both of our worshipping centres and related elderly members but we will combine the activities where practical. All of these areas offer avenues of service for other members, too.

Wyndham–Hobson Bay Ministry with the Ageing services include:
• Pastoral visiting – regular home visits with holy communion and faith journey encouragement
• Engagement visiting – keeping contact with people and ascertaining any specific needs
• Social engagement – regular community lunches and devotional time/community worship

Faye Schmidt is the Facilitator of Wyndham–Hobson Bay Lutheran Church’s Ministry with the Ageing program.

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