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by Linda Macqueen

The LCANZ General Church Board and the Australian Lutheran College (ALC) Board last month announced the appointment of Rev Dr Tim Stringer BTh/BMin DMin as the next ALC principal. He will succeed Pastor James Winderlich, who is returning to parish ministry after nine years in the role.

Early last month Dr Stringer informed LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith, the General Church Board and ALC Board Chair Cheryl Bartel that he had accepted the call and on 5 November he advised his congregation, Calvary Lutheran Church Greensborough and Thomastown, in suburban Melbourne.

Dr Stringer is also currently assisting the Office of the Bishop in the Victoria–Tasmania District (0.2FTE) and is a sessional lecturer at ALC, teaching ‘Preaching the Word’.

‘I have a deep passion for ALC, where I studied to prepare for pastoral ministry in the church I am called to serve’, Dr Stringer said, adding that he is looking forward to working closely with the ALC Board and LCANZ leaders to continue to implement ALC’s strategic direction Towards 2028.

Dr Stringer completed his Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Preaching through Luther Seminary in St Paul Minnesota in the US, in 2020. His thesis was titled Reaching the Diaspora: Streamed Worship and Preaching in the Lutheran Church of Australia, Cultivating Koinonia and Ecclesia.

In welcoming Dr Stringer to this important church leadership role, LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith said: ‘I thank our gracious God that Rev Dr Tim Stringer has accepted the Lord’s call to serve as our ALC principal. Tim has had broad experience in our church, and he has shared with me his deep sense of call to this role as principal.’

As well as having strong practical and academic qualifications in theology and pastoral ministry, Dr Stringer brings high-level governance experience to the role. He has served on the LCANZ General Church Board since November 2018 and is a member of the LCANZ Standing Committee on Nominations and Church Worker Support Advisory Committee. Dr Stringer also serves on the Victoria-Tasmania District Church Council and People and Strategy Sub-Committee.

‘The ALC Board gives thanks to God that Tim has accepted this call’, Cheryl Bartel said. ‘He brings to the principalship a reflective, practical and adaptive approach; and understands through personal experience, the nature, benefits and challenges of building community in a distributed learning environment.

‘He has a deep understanding of the LCANZ and the position ALC holds in the life of the church. Tim has the necessary skills and scope of experience to continue to build the relationships and partnerships critical for ALC to flourish in a challenging environment. He is committed to ensuring that the college is a safe place for all to work, learn and engage with the issues facing the church.’

Cheryl also thanked Pastor Winderlich for his service. ‘He has fulfilled his responsibilities with the highest level of integrity, competency, and grace’, she said. ‘We will be deeply saddened to see him depart but know that God has a clear plan for the next stage in his journey of pastoral service.’

Dr Stringer grew up on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, where he completed an apprenticeship as an auto electrician. Moving to Roxby Downs, he worked in the underground diesel workshop for 10 years.

He studied at Luther Seminary/Australian Lutheran College from 2001 to 2005, where he completed his BTh/BMin. After ordination, he was assigned to Outer Eastern Lutheran Church in Melbourne, where he served from 2006 to 2013. He has been serving the Calvary congregation at Greensborough and Thomastown since 2014. He has a particular interest in digital ministry and preaching mentoring.

He is married to Terri, and they have three adult children.

‘People all over our church are waiting for labourers to step into ministry roles’, Dr Stringer said. ‘I pray that God will continue to call and raise up people to serve in myriad roles already existing and those opening up in our church. With God’s help, the preparation he has done in me throughout my life on the different roads I have travelled will stand me in good stead as we walk together into a bright and Christ-centred future.’

Dr Stringer will commence in the role of ALC principal in February 2024.

Bishop Smith encouraged the church to pray for Tim and his family, and ‘for our ALC community as they farewell one principal and welcome another’.

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At its meeting on 17 November, the General Church Board (GCB) resolved to place the LCA’s North Adelaide properties on the market. The land package encompasses Australian Lutheran College (ALC), including the student housing, and the Churchwide Office.

‘The land and buildings are no longer serving the church well and they are unlikely to meet its future needs, with ongoing maintenance costs being significant’, Brett Hausler, Executive Officer of the Church, said. ‘While the North Adelaide site has been a blessing to the church over many years, it is appropriate to review its purpose.

‘ALC has moved to a distributed learning model and has indicated its desire to vacate. There is limited or no utilisation of some buildings and others are no longer fit for purpose. The Churchwide Office, located in a sprawling 1930s building, is inconsistent with modern workplace design and practice.’

‘So it is timely that we explore options for how we can be the best stewards of what we have been blessed with’, Mr Hausler said.

GCB reached the decision to put the properties on the market after 12 months of careful deliberation.

Significant work has been undertaken over the past year, including: reviewing the heritage and planning requirements such as listed buildings and significant trees; clarifying the needs of local council and heritage bodies; obtaining subdivision approval for the existing land to provide flexibility for either sale or redevelopment; and exploring buildings around Adelaide that might be suitable for a possible relocation.

The church is advertising for a property manager to assist in matters relating to these properties, including potential relocation of ALC and Churchwide Office. The job description for the role is available at

Meanwhile, Catherine Court, a former boarding facility for female students of Lutheran Teachers College, recently sold with a favourable outcome. The 1960s three-level, 12-unit block on Wellington Square, North Adelaide, had been tenanted to the public, with ALC receiving rental income. The decision to sell the site was made as it had not been used for any LCANZ or ALC operations for a number of years, and capital and maintenance costs were expected to increase. In the interests of good stewardship, the proceeds from the sale will be invested so that the legacy of Catherine Court may live on.

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Close to 400 people from across the LCANZ recently attended Way Forward webinars in which three ‘one church, two practices of ordination’ frameworks were introduced.

The project management team was thrilled with the level of participation and engagement at the webinars and with the project overall.

‘We’re excited about the response to our first Way Forward webinars, where we introduced the three frameworks’, project director Stella Thredgold said.

‘Thank you to everyone who attended and those who raised questions. There were so many great questions that some couldn’t be answered at the time. We are working through responding and updating our Questions and Answers section on the website.

‘We are so pleased with the level of engagement overall, which increased steeply with the release of Bishop Paul’s call to prayer video in late September, which to date has had almost 2000 individual views and 890 downloads.

‘Thank you so much for your participation. It’s not the project team who will find the best way forward; it’s the collective insights and feedback from the people across our church – people like you.

‘We want every member of the church to know what is happening, so they can consider the options and contribute to the project. We encourage people across the church to continue to provide feedback, particularly through the channels on the three framework webpages, which can be accessed from the Way Forward landing page (’

Since the General Church Board and College of Bishops’ release of the three frameworks, the Way Forward working groups have been generating more detail on each.

Stella said there was a lot of work to be done to understand each shortlisted framework in more detail. ‘This is a challenging process as different perspectives and diverse thinking are brought to the table’, she said. ‘However, it displays positive intent and an ability to work together with diverse views and an aligned focus on the future of our church.’

The project team is continuing to support the working groups and to ensure the process of deciding on one framework continues to be robust and assesses all relevant factors for a well-thought-out recommendation to go to General Synod in October 2024.

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by Jess Smith

Deaf Ministry in the LCANZ has entered a new era, with the ordination of Julian Mazzeo as a Specific Ministry Pastor of the Adelaide Deaf Community Church (ADCC).

Pastor Julian was ordained by LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith in October and installed to his role by South Australia – Northern Territory District Bishop Andrew Brook. Pastor Julian’s ordination service was held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Magill, the church where the ADCC is based.

Magill has both Deaf and hearing congregations who worship at different times, with Pastor Michael Prenzler ministering to both in a shared role since 2017. A hearing pastor with no prior experience of deafness, Pastor Michael spent several years learning Auslan before taking the call to serve at Magill. Now that Pastor Julian has been ordained, he will take over the lead ministry role for the Deaf congregation, with Pastor Michael’s support.

Earlier this year Pastor Julian, who is profoundly deaf, said he felt a strong call to the role to which he has now been installed.

‘I feel that God wants me to speak to the Deaf community and that he is showing me how to teach, how to help to fix relationships, how to understand the best fit for Deaf culture and how to create opportunities and be an encouragement’, he said.

Preaching in the richly expressive and visual language of Auslan is also something Pastor Julian finds rewarding. ‘Auslan is wonderful. It’s so creative, there’s so much storytelling and it’s clear and easy to understand.’

Pastor Michael echoed the sentiment. ‘I love the deaf approach to worship. All members are encouraged to participate in and contribute to the service,’ he said. ‘I also find it personally satisfying to worship in Auslan. There is something very profound about worshipping God with one’s whole body.’

Technology has become an important tool for the ADCC, and the congregation is thankful for a live-streaming system that was installed at Magill in 2020.

‘In some of my earlier travels I met some deaf Christians interstate who said they had no local church to attend, and I asked whether there was something the ADCC could do,’ said Pastor Michael.

‘We then applied for and received an LLL Mission Grant, and with contributions from both Pilgrim and the ADCC, we were able to install cameras in the church shortly after the COVID lockdowns began. We now have a few viewers from interstate who watch our service every Sunday. Without our videos, they would struggle to find somewhere to worship in Auslan, their heart-language.’

The church also has a video studio, funded through another grant, which is used for creating Auslan content. During the height of the pandemic, the studio played an important role in the creation of various worship-at-home resources, for both the hearing and Deaf congregations at Magill. The church plans to use the studio extensively in the future to produce more desperately needed Bible studies and resources for the Deaf community.

Deaf Ministry has been supported by the Lutheran Church since the 1970s and has evolved through many iterations to a current schedule of weekly Sunday services. Services are livestreamed so that viewers from afar can worship in Auslan, along with the Adelaide locals who attend in-person.

The South Australia – Northern Territory District has set up a fund that will go towards supporting Pastor Julian’s ministry, and his ongoing training, and to assist with providing interpreter services when he attends church events.

If you or your congregation feels led to contribute, the bank account details for donations are as follows:

Account name: LCA AGFund
BSB: 704 942
AC: 1009 69623

This content was first published on the SA – NT District’s website Online Together eNews and on the district website.

Jess Smith is SA – NT District Communications Officer.

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Nominations are open for the Lutheran Nurse of the Year award for 2024.

The annual award recognises faithful and outstanding service during the preceding calendar year by a registered or enrolled nurse who is an active member of a Lutheran congregation in Australia or New Zealand.

The award comprises a certificate and a $100 monetary gift.

Nominations may be submitted by congregations, schools, aged-care facilities or other bodies or agencies within the LCANZ. The award was launched in 2020 to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is recognised as the founder of modern nursing.

More information and nomination forms are available from Pastor Bob Wiebusch via email at or from the LCA website at

Nominations close on 31 March 2024.

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Some changes are planned for the way Safe Church training will be delivered across the church. Live online training will be phased in during 2024.

‘We’ve listened to the feedback from people who have attended our workshops’, Professional Standards Manager Tim Ross said. ‘While there has been overwhelmingly positive support for our trainers and the content of the workshops, some people have told us that the face-to-face workshops are longer than they would like. It’s also hard for some volunteers to get to a physical training location.’

As well as reducing the time and travel burden on volunteers, live online training has the potential to reach more people and thus have a greater impact across the church.

‘All of our Safe Church training has been available online, in a self-paced format, for a number of years’, Tim said.

‘Participants can complete this training at home in their own time. We will be continuing to offer the self-paced training. However, we have found that some people do prefer a live training experience.

‘Live online training will deliver the best of both worlds. Participants will be able to attend an online training session at the scheduled time that best suits them; they will not need to wait for a trainer to visit their region or parish for a workshop. They will still have direct interaction with their online trainer and have their questions answered.’

It is anticipated that face-to-face training will be phased out during 2024 and that training will be conducted exclusively online by the end of the year.

The Safe Church team is confident that live online training will be user-friendly, even for those with little technical know-how or limited connectivity. This form of training will also be suitable for physically gathering as a local group, if necessary, to connect with the trainer live online.

‘We will be seeking some guidance and assistance from local Safe Church Coordinators regarding suitable venues and equipment for group gatherings’, Tim said.

‘In any event, it is clear there is now greater technological literacy, in post-COVID society, with so many services and facilities having moved online. Our Professional Standards Officers will be working hard to ensure that people across the church are supported, as they make the transition to online Safe Church training.’

Information about the rollout of live online training will be available on the Safe Church webpage at and updates and alerts will be provided via LCA eNews (to sign up, go to

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Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) committed $50,000 to support the work of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem as the humanitarian situation in Gaza rapidly deteriorated in late October.

ALWS is calling on members of the church to add their support to the relief effort through donations.

The August Victoria Hospital is owned and operated by ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation, and serves five million Palestinians, many of whom are from the West Bank and Gaza. The hospital specialises in care for cancer patients and provides haemodialysis for kidney patients. Children also receive critical care. Forty per cent of the hospital’s patients come from Gaza. Since the war started, many patients either have been unable to go home or have been unable to access life-saving treatment.

Donations to ALWS can help people hurt by the crisis in Israel and Gaza by supporting the Augusta Victoria Hospital to provide life-saving medical care. ALWS funding has been going towards providing the hospital with medical supplies, meals and dignity kits for patients and essential transport.

Donations can be made at

To find out more about the Israel-Gaza crisis, visit

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Michael Bowden was happy in his work and not looking to change employment in September this year when the Human Resources Manager role for the LCANZ popped up as an automatic job suggestion in his LinkedIn business networking feed.

That was on a Friday afternoon. The then HR Business Partner for Calvary Health in Adelaide said within two days he knew he was meant to apply.

A lifelong committed Christian, Michael believed that God was calling him and that all his previous experiences in professional life had prepared him to serve in this way.

‘So many of the items in that advert just resonated with me’, Michael said. ‘I saw it on a Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon I was convicted to apply, and I applied.

‘My wife said, “What are you doing?”, because I just disappeared into the home office. I said, “I’m applying for a job”, and she said, “What? Why?”. And the only answer I could give her was, “God’s told me to”.

‘There was a real touch in my heart – in my spirit – to apply. I was happy. There were none of the logical reasons that are normally there when you look at moving on.’

Michael started his working life as an apprentice boilermaker welder, holding roles in manufacturing and then factory management, before moving into the recruitment sector, unemployment services, education, aged care, and human resources.

His appointment as Human Resources Manager follows the seven-year tenure of Dr Chris Materne, who served as Church Worker Support Manager since 2016.

Michael said the concept of servant leadership was a very important model for him as he takes on the task of ‘serving the congregations of the church, and the people who assist the congregations, and the workers within the congregations’.

‘For me, it’s always been about serving and supporting the teams that I work for rather than being a figurehead’, said Michael, who has a Diploma in Human Resource Management, a Graduate Diploma in Management and a Masters of Business Administration. ‘I very much look at leadership as a reverse concept – the people in my team don’t work for me as a manager; I work for them to help them do their job.’

Unlike Michael, Stephen Kroker had already worked for LCANZ agencies for more than 25 years when he took on the role of Financial Controller at the Churchwide Office this month.

Stephen, who most recently served at Australian Lutheran World Service, initially as Operations Support Manager and then Finance and Administration Manager, was Lutheran Education Australia’s Business Manager between 2012 and 2021. For part of that time, he also served as a finance analyst with the then Lutheran Schools Association of SA, NT and WA. Originally a chartered accountant in the private sector, Stephen began his church work in 1995 as Business Manager at Immanuel Primary School.

Stephen said serving the church – whether in paid employment or in voluntary roles he has held at congregational, district or churchwide level – was ‘an opportunity to respond in a small way to God’s infinite grace and love’ – and use the gifts he has been given.

‘I’m thankful when I’m reminded how blessed the LCA is by the people I’ve had the chance to serve alongside’, he said.

Stephen joined the Churchwide finance team after Debbie Venz, who served for 13 years as Business Manager, returned to her home country New Zealand. She has since taken up the role of District Administrator for the Lutheran Church of New Zealand.

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At its October 2023 meeting, the General Church Board agreed to make some important changes to Child Safety Standards (CSS) submission timelines.

The next round of Child Safety Plans will now be due in 2025.

‘We have made this change because we understand that you and your congregations need time and space to implement your Child Safety Plans’, said Mary-Ann Carver, LCA Child Protection Project Officer. ‘We want to give you every opportunity to put your agreed child safety actions into place during 2024 without the pressure of meeting submission deadlines.’

The change will also allow the CSS support team to focus more on supporting congregation leaders as they work towards achieving their child-safety goals, including the development of quality resources to assist them.

‘We will focus on providing you with tips for implementation, ideas for communications, and examples from other congregations’, Mary-Ann said.

‘We are looking forward to 2024. It will be the time for child safety consolidation and development, a time to embed the concept of child-safe congregations, and a time to strengthen the very good foundations we have already built.’

More CSS resources will be released over the coming months and will be uploaded to the CSS webpage

For more information, contact your district Professional Standards Officer (details are at; or Nicole Hall or Mary-Ann Carver from the Churchwide Child Safety Team: email or phone Mary-Ann on 0490 281 727 or Nicole on 08 8267 7372 or 0491 011 643.

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