Creative, colourful and a little crazy, our Lutheran family is …

Sending love to Somalia

From baking and brightly decorating spectacular cakes to donning and displaying crazily patterned socks, from staging yabby and cockroach races to serving up steaming hot bowls of porridge with all the trimmings, members of our LCANZ have been getting creative to support children in drought and famine-hit Somalia to go to school – and have a full tummy.


While they weren’t competing in a TV baking contest or devising a dessert recipe for a grand occasion like the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, students from Cornerstone College at Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills nonetheless gave a right royal performance in the kitchen recently. Most importantly, the effort put in to make 52 stunning sweet creations was not just about winning the college’s seventh annual bake-off competition, this year it was also a way of supporting the work of Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) and its partners in Somalia. Somalia is in the grip of harsh drought and resulting famine and ALWS has secured an 18:1 matching grant from church partners in Europe and the US, which means that for every $10 donated, a child’s education is supported for a year.

Cornerstone Wellbeing Director and ALWS Board member Morgan Brookes said the school community was excited to have raised $2217 through cake sales, which will support 220 Somali children at school. ‘We are always incredibly heartened by the commitment that Cornerstone College students show on days like this’, Morgan says. ‘Not only do they step up and produce wonderful and inventive items to share, but they also take part, wholeheartedly, in selling and/or buying every single slice of cake to raise funds to help those in need.’


Naomi Kotzur, a teacher from St John’s Lutheran School Kingaroy in Queensland, says students from her school community have put their best foot (or feet) forward for children in Somalia. The school encouraged students to wear their ‘craziest’ socks and bring a gold coin donation to send love and care to Somalia.

They were hoping to contribute $1 per student or $521 toward the cause, which with the matching grant would mean a total donation of more than $9,000 – or support for 48 children.

Along with money raised through its participation in the Queensland recycling scheme Containers for Change, St John’s donated $1180 after its Crazy Sock Day – enough to support 118 children at school in Somalia. Naomi says the school was also looking forward to being involved in its first Walk My Way last month, as part of efforts to look beyond their own community and think of others. ‘Kids are not too young to have a positive impact on someone else’s life’, Naomi says. ‘As a teacher, I have the perfect opportunity to inspire children – I don’t want to waste it.’


The Barossa North Lutheran Parish from South Australia have also been quick off the mark lending their support to children in Somalia in creative ways.

Along with the annual parish Blessing of the Seed, Soil and Water service led by Pastor Mathew Ker in late April, about 150 members and 20 children enjoyed fantastic fun and fellowship, including yabby and cockroach races, a billy boiling competition and a community lunch.

Held outside a century-old shearing shed near Truro, the event made a real connection to the land and elements for those who attended, ALWS Community Action Manager Jonathan Krause says. ‘This, in turn, connected us to Somalia where families also depend on the land – raising sheep and cattle and growing sorghum’, Jonathan says. ‘The parish congregations have donated more than $2200 to ALWS – enough to support 220 children to go to school for a year, plus have a daily school meal of porridge!’


When ALWS Board members and staff met in Albury, New South Wales, earlier this year to mark 75 years since the Lutheran Church’s ministry to refugees in Australia began, there was no grand party to celebrate the milestone. Instead, they shared bowls of porridge for breakfast, followed by a thanksgiving service!

The porridge was made to the same recipe used by ALWS’ international partners to feed children threatened by famine in Somalia. Instead of payment, staff and guests donated to ALWS’ 18:1 Matching Grant, with every $10 funding a year’s education (including a daily meal of porridge) for a child in Somalia.

Renowned community leader the Reverend Tim Costello (below left) was the guest speaker for the gathering and keenly joined the breakfast. The leader of the Help Fight Famine campaign through interdenominational advocacy group Micah Australia, Rev Tim reflected on Jeremiah 29 and ALWS’ commitment to global justice in his message. He also encouraged those gathered to continue to serve as God’s hands and feet wherever they are placed.

The thanksgiving service was held at ALWS’ head office in Albury, not far from the Bonegilla Resettlement Centre where thousands of European Lutheran refugees were temporarily housed after World War II. Pastoral support provided to Lutheran refugees 75 years ago by local Lutheran Pastor Bruno Muetzelfeldt began the Lutheran Church’s ministry to refugees – and was the forerunner to the establishment of what became the LCA’s overseas aid and development agency – ALWS.

Why not hold your own ‘Power Porridge Party’ and support children at risk due to the famine in the Horn of Africa? For more information, go to the ALWS website at or call 1300 763 407. Each $10 donated will support a child in Somalia at school for a year with a daily meal of porridge, a school uniform, a desk, renovated classrooms, facilities and assistive devices for children with special needs, training for teachers and dignity kits for girls.

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