Long-time Lutheran Archives volunteer researcher Dr Lois Zweck is among LCANZ members honoured in the Australia Day 2022 Honours list.

A volunteer transcriber, translator and research assistant at Lutheran Archives since 1992, Lois is a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church Adelaide. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to community history.

Mr Robert (Rob) Krause, who has served the LCANZ as a volunteer at congregational, district and churchwide levels for more than 60 years, also received an OAM for service to the community of Marburg, a rural town in the Ipswich area between Brisbane and Toowoomba in southern Queensland.

A joint winner of the History Council of South Australia’s Life-Long History Achievement Award in 2017, Lois has been a Lutheran Archives advisory committee member since 1998 and a committee member of the Friends of Lutheran Archives (FoLA) since 1992. She served as chair of FoLA from 1995 to 2014 and was made a life member of the group in 2014. She is a founding committee member of the community history collaborative German Heritage Research Group,

Lois’s work at Lutheran Archives includes transcribing and translating the Kurrentschrift German handwritten script, which is a feature of many records of early Lutheran history in Australia.

Lutheran Archives Director Rachel Kuchel said she was ‘thrilled’ that Lois – a ‘researcher extraordinaire’ – and her service and contribution to community and Lutheran church history had been recognised through the award.

‘Lois has an eye for detail, an incredible memory, and will follow all avenues to pursue a record and discover what it can tell us about our church’, Rachel said. ‘Her truly special talent, however, is to inspire other people to explore one’s congregation story or one’s personal connection to our collective church story.’

Lois, however, said she was ‘shocked’ to receive the award and almost deleted the initial email notifying her of the honour.

‘When I got the first email about it, my cursor was hovering over the delete rubbish bin, thinking it was a scam’, she said. ‘I was shocked of course because you look at people who have spent lives in really significant causes who receive awards, but then I guess you realise that this cause is a significant one. You have to realise that dedicating some of your time and some of your efforts to something like history is considered valuable by the wider community.’

A member at St Matthews Lutheran Church Rosewood, Queensland, Rob Krause has given many years of service to Lutheran youth, schools, his home congregation and the Marburg Show Society, as well as to other community organisations.

Rob said it was ‘quite a surprise’ to receive a call from the Governor-General’s office about his award.

‘It was certainly an initial surprise, but it was then a bit of a thrilling feeling to think that you’re on the list for Australia Day’, he said.

Rob was inspired to volunteer in his youth days by the preaching of Pastor (later Dr and LCA President) Les Grope, on the story of Ezekiel’s reluctant service and God’s promise to help him.

‘There have been many times when matters have been difficult, but I have seen the hand of God help in many ways in youth, school and church activities’, Rob said.

A former LCA General Synod and Queensland District Synod delegate, Rob was a planning committee member for Faith Lutheran College Plainland and served on its college council from 1999 to 2009.

He was also a member of the board of Bethany Lutheran Primary School Raceview for more than a decade and has previously served as chair of his congregation. A former state secretary of Lutheran Youth of Queensland, Rob was also involved with the establishment of Luther Heights Youth Camp at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast in the late 1950s.

His community roles have included being a former treasurer of the Marburg Rural Fire Brigade and serving as Marburg Show Society President from 2006 to 2017.

The congratulations of the church are offered to these recipients and any other members honoured with awards.

 

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by Helen Brinkman

One of the first wood carvings Albert Noll ever created was a carved wooden message: ‘Blessed by the grace of God’.

It was two years ago, just before turning 90, that Albert tried out the scroll saw at his local men’s shed at Waikerie in South Australia’s Riverland.

The sawn message has not only remained a favourite carving, but its creation instilled in him a passion for this new hobby.

It’s also turned into an unexpected fundraiser for Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS).

Faced with requests to sell his carvings, most of which are Christian-themed wooden ornaments, 92-year-old Albert felt uncomfortable making money from his hobby. So, he decided to direct the funds towards something else that has always brought him joy – raising money for ALWS.

A couple of hundred carvings later and he’s already raised more than $800 from giving his wares to friends and local groups in return for a donation.

Albert’s farming background means he’s always been good with his hands, turning odds and ends from the shed into useful fixes.

He used the shed men’s scroll saw to make name tags out of wood for everyone attending his 90th birthday in January 2020.

‘Then I bought my own scroll saw and that’s when I started making my crosses and religious signs, seeking inspiration from books’, Albert says.

Albert has been inspired by his love of wood – sourcing a range of wood including walnut, mallee, redgum or black oak so hard it breaks a lot of saw blades!

‘I was walking through the property of a friend, Graham Smith, when we found a whole acacia wattle tree that I’ve cut into timber with a band saw 10 to 15 millimetres wide’, recalls Albert. That’s become the fodder for much of his wood carving to date.

‘I can look at a piece of wood and image something into it’, he says. ‘One of my favourite ones is a dove cut out overlayed into the top of a cross – it involves two different coloured pieces of wood.’

It usually takes Albert just as long to finish a piece as it does to cut it, the finishing work including sanding the piece smooth and varnishing it with four coats of varnish. Some pieces take him only a few hours in total, while others require many hours of work. ‘If I charged an hourly rate, ALWS would be the richer’, he says cheekily.

‘It’s just an offshoot of what I have done all my life. If we were farming and something broke, you just went and you made it. I have made some weird and wonderful pieces of machinery!’

He gets requests from people for his wooden creations and a popular one is a carving of a man in an outside lounge chair saying: ‘It’s not my problem, retired’. But most are Christian ornaments.

And, as a longtime supporter of ALWS, he’s pleased his handiwork can support the mission of the LCA’s overseas aid and development agency to bring love to life for people hurt by poverty, injustice and crisis.

Albert’s also been shaped by a strong faith nurtured in the congregation he’s been a member of since birth in 1930 – Bethlehem Lutheran Church at Murbko, about halfway between Morgan and Blanchetown on the eastern side of the River Murray.

Albert and his wife of 66 years, Gladys, drive a round trip of 70km, past two other Lutheran churches, to worship at Murbko each Sunday, in a parish led by Pastor Peter Traeger, who also serves three other congregations in the region.

There may only be 10 members at Bethlehem now, ‘but we still manage to make our local budget’, says Albert, who is congregational treasurer and chairman, as well as curator of the church cemetery. He’s giving up his second stint as chairman at this year’s annual general meeting.

He’ll keep up his treasurer duties, assisted by the clever spreadsheets set up by their daughter Meredith, a retired accountant, to assist his task.

Albert and Gladys, 88, feel blessed that they remain living independently and still both drive. Their faith has supported them through tough times, including the loss of two of their three children in separate car accidents.

Crafting wood has been a comfort and solace in these past few years.

‘Six years ago, it was confirmed that I have Parkinson’s. It was diagnosed so early that I can manage it well’, Albert says. ‘I can still get a glass of port up to my lips without spilling it.

‘If I keep myself busy with the woodwork it helps every time. It keeps my brain busy and my hands busy.’

And, as Gladys says: ‘A lot of love goes into it’.

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Some Queensland Lutherans would know at least a little about new LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith, who served as their district bishop between 2015 and 2021. But many in our church may not have heard the incredible and inspiring story behind the faith journey of our sixth churchwide leader. Who is Paul Smith and how has God led him to this role?

With a surname like Smith, with no German heritage, and hailing from the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, it’s hardly surprising that the incoming LCANZ bishop is not a born-and-bred Lutheran.

While God brought him to baptism through the Anglican church in Western Queensland as an infant in 1962, Bishop Paul Smith was not raised as a churchgoing Christian. And, as the biography of Paul in Robin Kleinschmidt’s book Your Most Humble Servant states, his childhood family life gave him ‘no experience of regular worship, religious teaching, prayer or Christian formation’.

But God had his eye on Paul and when family circumstances led to him attending St Peters Lutheran College at Indooroopilly in Brisbane as a boarding student in Year 11, his life and faith were transformed. His teachers – including chaplain and English teacher Pastor (now Dr) John Kleinig and the late Adrienne Jericho, who would later become the executive director of Lutheran Education Australia and took Paul for Scripture classes – were among those whose Christian example and gospel witness greatly affected him. Some of his classmates were instrumental in his early faith journey, too.

He was not only confirmed in his Christian faith while attending St Peters, but he also acknowledged a call to the ordained ministry and began studying at the then Luther Seminary (now Australian Lutheran College) in Adelaide in 1980.

He took time out of his pastoral ministry training in 1982 and worked in factories, studied at Adelaide University and continued with part-time seminary study. After a bout of glandular fever, he returned to ‘the Sem’ full-time in 1984. Also in 1984, Paul met Heidi Muller from Henty New South Wales, who was studying at Lutheran Teachers College and was the sister of his best friend at seminary, Tim. Heidi and Paul were married in 1986 and today they have three adult children, Ben, Felicity and Jeremy.

Today, Bishop Paul calls Heidi his ‘co-worker’. ‘She will pray with me, pray for me, encourage me, listen to me and tell me when I’m being a cranky old goat’, he says of his wife, who has studied theology and is a qualified secondary teacher, as well as having worked as a Lutheran aged-care chaplain. This year she will begin work for the SA-NT District as its chaplaincy ministries coordinator.

‘And so, we have that open and robust relationship. She’s a dyed-in-the-wool, card-carrying Lutheran but she understands it doesn’t mean culture, history and community only, it means pointing to the big arrow down – what God does for us, and Heidi is good at keeping me earnest in that way. I’m very grateful for that, so she’s a co-worker in that sense and a team participant in my life as a Christian.’

Having completed his vicarage year at Underdale-Glandore parish under Pastor Clem Traeger in suburban Adelaide in 1987, Paul was ordained the following year at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Adelaide.

Pastor Paul’s first assignment was as the first Lutheran college chaplain at Trinity Lutheran College Ashmore on Queensland’s Gold Coast. This first ordained ministry role continued for Paul what has become a close and valued relationship with Lutheran schools.

His next call was his first parish ministry, at Tailem Bend/Karoonda in South Australia, where he served between 1992 and 1995. To follow were parish ministries at Immanuel North Adelaide from 1995 to 2001 and from 2002 to 2005 at Good Shepherd Toowoomba in Queensland. These calls were followed by a return to service as a college pastor, firstly back at St Peters Indooroopilly and then at Pacific Lutheran College at Caloundra.

During his time at Toowoomba, Pastor Paul was first elected as a member of Queensland’s District Church Council, a role he would fill from 2003 to 2007, rejoining in 2010. Later that year he was elected as the first vice-president of the LCA’s Queensland District, a role he would fill until being elected bishop in 2015.

Committed to encouraging and progressing the service of younger leaders in the church, Bishop Paul served two terms and so did not stand for re-election in 2021.

He returned to St Peters as an interim college pastor in the latter half of 2021 and was elected as bishop of the LCANZ in October last year .

He believes God will use his life and ministry experiences in his service as churchwide bishop.

‘I believe God continues to prepare you for any and every role and God will always surprise you’, he says. ‘Has God equipped me especially with experience for this role? Yes, the people in the church have given me the opportunity to make mistakes in the name of Christ and in the cause of the gospel. The people of the church have given me great privileges.’

Bishop Paul comes across as a great optimist when it comes to people and the church. He whistles while he walks, smiles often, loves speaking with people and describes himself as ‘not a glass-half-empty person, nor a glass-half-full person, but a glass-overflowing person’.

He lists three main hopes for the coming years in the LCANZ. ‘The first one is that we would find good dialogue with young Christian people’, he says. ‘At the moment we don’t have a good dialogue with them. What we say, young people aren’t really hearing too well. What they say, is often not heard or properly understood.

‘The second hope that I’d have is that we would discover a growing collaboration with Christian sisters and brothers of our New Zealand and Australian church communities around us.

‘The third one is to discover the way Lutherans are evangelical in the 21st century. How are we Lutherans being evangelical to bring Christ to the nations? We have this great tradition of Lutheran witness, let’s see that grow and flourish in a way that’s authentic to who we are.’

Bishop Paul Smith will be installed as bishop of the LCANZ at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Adelaide on 20 February. Attendance will be by invitation only, but the service will be livestreamed.

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Our Lutheran family and friends in Australia helped to send more than 14,000 refugee children to school through Australian Lutheran World Service’s Walk My Way in 2021.

A record number of 4,178 people from around the country took part in the 26km walking challenge last year, with walkers asking friends and family to sponsor them. As of 12 January, the $368,708 raised was enough to support 14,181 refugee children to go to school through ALWS. Each $26 raised helps a refugee child in East Africa go to school for a year by providing teachers, textbooks and tables. And there will be more walks and opportunities to give your support in 2022.

Participants walked, wheeled and woofed their way in more than 30 events from the southwest coast of Western Australia, through South Australia and the Northern Territory to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The young and the not-so-young, people living with a disability, mums and dads, kids in prams, dog walkers and cyclists all united in changing the future for refugee children.

While 610 people walked their way through the largest walk of 2021 in SA’s Barossa Valley in May, many schools, churches and groups who lived further afield organised their own walks locally.

Members of St Matthews Lutheran Church in the small Queensland town of Maclagan cheered on their 10 Sunday school children – with a few extras – as they walked 26 laps of the church and Sunday school building for their Walk My Way.

St Matthews member Margaret said: ‘The congregation, as well as various mums, dads, grandmas, grandpas, uncles, aunts, cousins and neighbours, helped fill the donation box with a wonderful amount of $1394. The kids gave it their all with lots of sweat and “are we there yet?” comments and were thoroughly busted when done, but they all felt strongly about helping the children in Africa to go to school.’

Although a small church, St Matthews helped 54 refugee children to go to school – five children for every Sunday school child!

ALWS Executive Director Jamie Davies said the scale of the challenge to support refugee children is ‘astounding’.

‘We live in a world where more than 80 million people have been forced to flee from their homes – that’s more than three times the population of Australia’, she said.

‘We can take heart in this amazing outpouring of love and compassion – it is truly an example of our church in action bringing love to life!’

You can find out more about Walk My Way on the website (https://walkmyway.org.au/)

Walk My Way returns this year. Email walkmyway@alws.org.au or sign up to ALWS eNews (https://www.alws.org.au/contact-us/) to stay informed.

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The Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM) is one of the LCANZ’s overseas partner churches. Among LCM ministries supported by our Lutheran family is its mission alongside the Orang Asli, the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia. We asked Rev Aaron Yap, who served as bishop of LCM from 2013 to 2021, to share his thoughts on Christian leadership.

by Aaron Yap

When we talk about ‘leadership’, we are also addressing ‘servanthood’. It is blended together according to biblical teaching. Jesus called his disciples and sent them out to serve and reach out to those in need.

Jesus addressed the servant-leadership role model as the One who came to serve, not to be served (Matt 20:25–28), which was echoed by St Paul (Phil 2:6,7).

A leader must be humble to seek the Lord by receiving his vision and mission for his people.

After the past eight years serving as the bishop of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia, I see that we need to emphasise two ‘Ss’ when we talk about leadership – succession and sustainability.

We can’t merely occupy a role without carrying out the responsibility, mission and ministry entrusted by God – as the church is bigger than any individual.

We need to train our people in leadership and discipleship. In preparing church leaders, we need to identify, call, have fellowship and worship with them, practise giving and learning as a lifestyle, and encourage theological education and training.

We want to enable younger pastors and leaders to have an opportunity to serve and grow. And among the Orang Asli peoples (OA), we are creating a systematic way of growth and empowerment by training OA community members to be their own leaders and pastors.

We are developing their capacity to be self-governing and sustainable through the formation of an ‘OA District’ and providing educational opportunities for younger generations so that they can return home after studying to rebuild their land and community.

We are also emphasising outreach mission and evangelism. There is a wise saying, ‘it is by the local, for the local and through the local’. We recognise that Orang Asli are the indigenous people in Malaysia, hence we create and recreate new avenues for reaching out.

We have set up the OA Training and Cultural Centre and encourage personal evangelism training to bring the gospel to younger generations. Through our Social Concern Ministry, people become God’s legs, hands, eyes and ears and can walk, touch, watch and hear what God is doing and seeing in a holistic manner.

All this is being done for, on and through our Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. May all glory be unto our Triune God!

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by Lisa McIntosh

What makes a group of individuals a family? Being related by blood or marriage? How about definition 7 in the Macquarie Dictionary: ‘a group of persons who form a household and who regard themselves as having familial ties’?

Is our understanding of family more to do with shared lives and values than being ‘descended from a common progenitor’, as definition 4 states? Jesus certainly takes a more inclusive view of family, as we are reminded in this month’s Bible study (see John 19:26,27 and Matthew 12:49,50).

TJ Krause was almost four when he and his younger brother Abebaw (AJ) came from an orphanage in Ethiopia to become part of a new family in Australia.

Now 20 and an apprentice carpenter, he still remembers the feeling he had meeting his new mum, Julie, for the first time and, ultimately, his new siblings and, later, his new dad, Jonathan. Each of his parents also has children from previous marriages.

‘It was really exciting, and it was rather interesting and bizarre and surreal’, TJ says of the experience of meeting and joining a new family, who now live at Maslin Beach in South Australia. ‘We don’t call it “blended” but it is a blended family.’ He says that even though there are particular challenges to being part of a family in which members come from different backgrounds, the best element is that ‘there’s no judgement whatsoever’.

‘We all make it work really well, and Mum and Dad are just super accepting. When you’re younger and you don’t know where your real parents are, sometimes you question that.

‘But you do realise that the parents you have really do love you and they cherish you and protect you. That makes you realise that they are your real parents even though they’re not blood.

‘I think family keeps you motivated to keep pursuing life because you’re showing them that you’re grateful for the opportunities they’re giving you. A family’s always there to love you, support you, be there for you through thick and thin, and there’s nothing that can beat unconditional love.

‘If someone’s willing to support someone else throughout every single thing and be there for them through the good and bad, that’s the definition of family, whether it’s your brother or it’s your best mate.’

Blending two families and households into one challenges parents, too, with things such as setting disciplinary boundaries, territorial feelings and behaviour, different parenting styles and basic practical issues all requiring attention.

Pastor Mark and Beth Kaesler, of Seaford in South Australia, merged two households into one when they were married. Between them, they had four children from their previous marriages, including two sons named Paul!

‘It’s a funny thing when you join two families and two houses’, Beth says. ‘You don’t mean to be, but you’re quite threatened about trying to maintain territory. When Mark, Elisa and Paul moved in, there was all this sorting about what we would throw out and what we’d keep. You know, like, whose egg flip will we keep? It was very, very territorial.

‘When you get past that physical territorial stuff, then you have to move on to the emotional territorial stuff and spiritual territorial stuff. You know, like, I’ll give a bit here and you give a bit. And I think we learned fairly early that we both had to give a lot more than 50 per cent to make it work.’

Both Beth and Pastor Mark say that God’s support was critical in blending their families.

‘God is part of everything, really’, Pastor Mark says. ‘God is never absent. He is speaking to us in all sorts of ways. And I guess you really can’t put a value on all those little bits of knowledge that he gives you in this journey.’

‘I think it starts with a sense and an understanding of how much God has given you and how much God has forgiven you’, Beth adds. ‘That gives you a huge sense of God’s grace which you can then give out.’

And they agree that God is the one in their family who can best break down the barriers that members may put up for their own feeling of safety and security.

God is also central to the family life of Pastor Colin Simpkin, his wife Tanya, son Brad and niece Abbie Williams, of Grovedale in Victoria. Abbie became part of the family household after the death of her mother, Joanne, Tanya’s sister, as her father is not able to look after her.

The Simpkins say they always wanted two children and believe that God had plans for them to be ‘a complete family with Abbie’.

‘With Brad being an only child, Abbie coming into our family brought him a sibling and he learnt how to share everything – toys, home and parents’, Pastor Colin says. ‘As a family, we miss one another when any are away. We have the joy of seeing the accomplishments of the others. We have brought God into Abbie’s life and we learn a lot from her, too.

‘Having all of the members of our family now has added extra love into each of our lives. Abbie loves having a female role model and support person, and Tan is what Abbie needs to guide her through many difficult areas.’

Pastor Colin says that while there were challenges for each of them in getting used to the new family dynamics, the family unit is really important to them ‘because God put us together’.

‘Everybody needs to know they belong somewhere and that they matter to others. God is love and we know his love through Jesus, who calls us to pass that love on to our families.’

You can read more of Beth and Mark’s story, or listen to their Messages of Hope interview at www.messagesofhope.org.au/blended-families/

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Brett Hausler will fulfil a long-term wish to work for the church when he becomes the next Executive Officer of the Church (EOC) early next year.

Brett’s appointment to the senior LCANZ leadership position was announced last month. He will succeed Peter Schirmer, who has served as EOC since 2012 and who has resigned to pursue other opportunities.

Currently Chief Governance Officer and General Counsel for AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator Ltd), Brett said he felt called to apply for the role, which will enable him to pair his work with his passion for church service.

‘I’ve always had a desire to work for the church at some stage and probably the key driver is that I’ve volunteered for many years, but I’ve found that my involvement has always been limited due to my daily work commitments’, said Brett, whose mother worked as an assistant for the Victoria District president when Brett was at school.

‘I believe God called me to apply for this position and that he has equipped me well and blessed me through my work roles and in my faith life to serve in this way. I’ve been fortunate to have been responsible for a wide range of areas throughout my career and I would hope that they will assist me in performing the EOC role.’

Brett’s name will already be known to some in Lutheran circles, as the chair of the Board for Lutheran Education Australia (BLEA), having joined BLEA as a director in early 2013.

In his current position with AEMO, he oversees corporate functions including governance, legal, risk management, audit, compliance, insurance and transmission procurement, and has recently been involved in establishing a new subsidiary to assist the NSW government in implementing its energy roadmap. Previous responsibilities have also included public affairs, finance, regulatory affairs and human relations.

Before starting with AEMO in 2009, Brett was General Manager, Corporate Services at the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO), held various executive roles in the energy industry and also worked as a lawyer in private practice.

Among his voluntary church service, Brett was a member of the LCA’s reference panel for its governance and administration review, served on the Victoria District’s regional education governance committee and is a past member of Luther College Council.

While his new role will involve significant changes both professionally and personally for Brett in that he will relocate from Melbourne to Adelaide along with his wife, Heather, in due course, he said those changes would ‘pale into insignificance in terms of the purpose of the role’.

‘To me, it’s so important in life that what you do is aligned with your purpose’, he said.

‘I am looking forward to seeing where God will lead us as a church in the coming years. My great hope is that we as a church will bring love to life for those in our communities as we serve.’

A member at St Pauls Box Hill in suburban Melbourne where he worships with his family, Brett will begin the new role from mid to late January.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has so dominated the lives of many Australians and New Zealanders at home for the past 18 months that it’s been easy to forget that around the world people are suffering who need our prayers.

But Peter Gerang Deng has not forgotten the troubles and tragedies of his homeland of South Sudan in north-eastern Africa. South Sudan is a diverse nation of more than 60 major ethnic groups, which has long been wracked by civil wars, violence, political instability and natural disasters, which have displaced millions of people and left many others living in poverty. Peter, who like his wife Rebecca Manyang is from South Sudan’s Denka ethnic group, is an educator and an elder at Immanuel Lutheran Church in North Adelaide. The couple has three children, who have all been born in Australia, and is expecting a fourth child.

Concerned that local people were no longer aware of needs beyond their own restrictions and borders, Peter raised the issue with Immanuel’s pastor, Rev Dr Mark Worthing. ‘He said, “Pastor, can we do something to encourage people to pray for South Sudan? With everything else going on in the last year, people have forgotten the needs there’, Pastor Mark explains.

‘So, the next week Peter made a presentation to the congregation about the needs in South Sudan. Afterwards, people said we should do more to focus on this. Someone else said it would be nice to get families involved and make it an intergenerational effort. That’s how the “November Family Prayer Challenge”, with its focus on South Sudan, came about.’

With the backing of the congregation’s Grow Team, Peter and Pastor Mark launched the month-long prayer challenge on 24 October, giving out laminated guides so that members, along with their families and friends, were ready to start the innovative program the following Sunday. The guides were also sent out via email
and are available on the congregation’s website.

While prayer was pivotal to the program, there were three key elements of the challenge each week for four weeks for those taking part – learn, pray, act.

‘We wanted to encourage everyone to learn more about the current situation and needs in South Sudan, to pray for its people, and to explore ways to concretely help
the situation there’, Pastor Mark says. ‘We also wanted to encourage people to do this as families, or with a friend or group of friends, either within or outside of our congregation.’

The prayer challenge linked in with Australian Lutheran World Service, which supports aid and development projects in South Sudan, and which provided Immanuel with a guest speaker to help raise awareness about its ongoing work and partnerships in Africa.

Peter, who became a teacher through Lutheran World Federation at Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where he met Rebecca, said the prayer challenge was helping to raise awareness locally of the ‘chaotic’ situation in South Sudan, even though the country was technically in ‘peacetime’ after multiple civil wars.

He says when people have a greater awareness of a situation, they then can pray and understand how best to do something to support people in need. ‘[We have a saying that] if you want to help somebody, don’t give them a fish, give them a hook or a net to go and feed themselves’, he says. ‘Give them something to do beyond war.

‘Despite having no war now, there’s something called negative and positive peace. There may be peace there – no guns going throughout the country – but there are pockets of instability going on.

‘I often speak to elders at North Adelaide who came from Germany after World War II. They share their stories of when they arrived here. They think they are no longer refugees but when people talk about refugees and what they face, it’s something they can relate to easily. Now they have a better picture of the people of South Sudan.’

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by Graeme Huf

The story of the LLL is unique. It shows how the vision of one person, Mr Ben Koch, has given many people the opportunity to serve God, his church and use their God-given resources and talents to advance the sharing of the gospel.

Since its inception in 1921, the mission of the LLL has been to provide aid to the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ) and its various church bodies in business and financial matters.

The original intent was to raise capital to support church development by providing low-interest loans. As loans were repaid, new advances could be made. This basic premise of raising deposits and providing loans has remained the core function of the LLL for 100 years.

We are thankful for the strong connections and relationships the LLL has with congregation members, church leaders, school and care communities, and the support of our depositors and borrowers who believe in and value the mission of the LLL.

As a separate legal entity, LLL operates independently of the LCANZ, but with the clear purpose of benefitting the church by providing loans for projects and supporting the LCANZ’s wider ministry and mission through gifts, donations and allocations. Over the past century, the LLL has helped to build churches, schools and respite and aged-care facilities, buy manses, assist mission work in Australia and abroad, and fund and administer a range of programs and activities in support of the church.

Our Lord has blessed the work of the LLL. We thank you for your ongoing support as we look with confidence to our next 100 years!

Graeme Huf chairs the LLL Australia Board.

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LCANZ bishop-elect Pastor Paul Smith says he is ‘humbled’ by his election by General Synod and has asked for the prayers of church members as he prepares to take up the role next year.

Bishop-elect Paul, who is currently serving a six-month placement at St Peters Lutheran College Indooroopilly on behalf of the LCA’s Queensland District (LCAQD) and is the immediate past bishop of the LCAQD, was elected to the role for an initial six-year term by delegates to the LCANZ’s historic 20th Convention of General Synod on Friday 1 October. He will succeed Bishop John Henderson, who has served as bishop since 2013 but did not seek re-election and is retiring at the end of the year.

Bishop-elect Paul and Pastor Matt Anker, who serves the church as Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission, were the two candidates nominated for the role of Bishop by the LCA’s General Pastors Conference, which met online in July.

‘I pray God’s blessing on this decision to call me to the work of bishop’, Bishop-elect Paul told the historic online gathering after his election. ‘I am humbled, and I am deeply aware that I am an earthen vessel, serving for Christ’s sake through faith and knowing that we share in the Lord’s promise that our labours in the Lord’s name are never in vain. The Lord will continue to build his church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.’

As well as thanking his wife Heidi and family for their support and praying a blessing for outgoing Bishop John, Bishop-elect Paul also acknowledged Pastor Matt.

‘I also thank Pastor Matt Anker for his Christian service in accepting nomination’, Pastor Paul said. ‘I look forward to working with you, Pastor Matt, as you continue to serve in the church.

‘Finally, I ask you to pray for me and for the communities of our church in Australia and New Zealand as we continue to labour together in the cause of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Ordained in 1988, Bishop-elect Paul has served in school ministry at Trinity Lutheran College Ashmore, St Peters Lutheran College Indooroopilly and Pacific Lutheran College Caloundra, all in Queensland; and in parish ministry at Tailem Bend-Karoonda Parish and Immanuel Lutheran Church North Adelaide, both in South Australia, and at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at Toowoomba in Queensland. He was bishop of the LCAQD from 2015 until earlier this year when he did not seek re-election at the Queensland District’s Convention of Synod.

Bishop-elect Paul, who grew up in Far North Queensland with no Lutheran congregational background, and wife Heidi have three adult children.

In a first for the LCANZ, its General Synod met online for the first part of a two-part convention to be held across two years, with more than 370 delegates engaging with the worship and business sessions on Day 1 via the internet conferencing system Zoom.

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