The offering from this year’s LCANZ Convention of General Synod in-person meetings is contributing more than $30,000 towards a Finke River Mission (FRM) project revising and reprinting Lutheran song and hymnbooks in Central Australian Aboriginal languages.

Along with other volunteers and FRM staff, Pastor Rob Borgas, who formerly served as an FRM support worker, has worked on revising or reprinting hymnals in three languages – Pitjantjatjara, Western Arrarnta and Alyawarr. The Pintubi-Luritja worship resource is also being revised.

Most of the hymnals feature liturgy, prayers and catechism resources as well as hymns and songs. The preface to the previous update of the Pitjantjatjara Lutheran Hymnal in 2010 highlighted the history of similar worship resources in Central Australia. It says:

‘The first Arrarnta hymnal was produced in 1891 by AH Kempe. Its 160 pages contained bible stories, prayers, some psalms and 53 other hymns. It was printed at Hermannsburg in the state of Hannover, Germany. In 1924, 2 years after Carl Strehlow’s tragic death, the first Western Desert language hymnal was published as a supplement to the second edition of his Galtjindintjamea-Pepa Aranda Wolambarinjaka. It contained Luther’s Small Catechism and 10 hymns, all translated into the Luritja language by evangelist Moses Tjalkabota and HA Heinrich (headmaster of the Hermannsburg school).’

As well as offerings collected at the Melbourne Convention in February, LCANZ congregations donated to the Synod offering via the LLL. A total of $34,098.66 was raised for the hymnbook project.

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