The LCANZ is continuing its efforts to prevent domestic and family violence (DFV) among its members, in the wake of the release of a report which finds that some religious beliefs about gender can be used to justify DFV.

Commissioned by the LCA in 2019, the Religion and Domestic Violence Report is the result of research done to help church leaders understand the core issues and address domestic and family violence in the LCANZ, and in our wider community.

‘It is important to note that the Religion and Domestic Violence Report is not a theological statement of our church’, said LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith. Instead, as the contribution of professional researchers, Bishop Paul said the report would help the people of the church explore how to better understand and address domestic and family violence, both in New Zealand and in Australia.

A 2015 directive from General Synod ‘to commit resources to address ‘the prevalence of family violence among us’, resulted in the domestic violence awareness campaign Hidden Hurts Healing Hearts and the establishment of LCA’s Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence.

‘Upon receipt of such a significant report, we need to determine how best to respond to its findings and recommendations’, Bishop Smith said.

At its December 2023 meeting, the General Church Board resolved to establish a Religion and Domestic Violence Report Response Group (RDVRRG), whose primary role will be to collate responses to the report and to present recommendations to the General Church Board. The group’s work is to be completed before the 2024 Convention of General Synod.

Invitations for membership of the RDVRRG are extended to the members of the LCANZ. Applications will be accepted and processed by the Nominations Committee. Applications close on Friday 16 February 2024.

Visit the Religion and Domestic Violence Report webpage at to:

  • read the terms of reference for the RDVRRG and download a nomination form
  • read or download the Religion and Domestic Violence Report.
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Australian Lutheran College (ALC) have farewelled two dearly loved colleagues who have faithfully served the college over many years – ALC principal, Pastor James Winderlich and vice-principal and former academic dean, Dr Stephen Haar.

According to ALC eNews, during their time at college, both men ‘consistently demonstrated what it means to lead with servant hearts – often prioritising the needs and wellbeing of their team above their own, never seeking attention or recognition for themselves, and always caring for and encouraging their colleagues’.

‘Together they have faced many challenging and difficult situations, throughout which they have supported, guided and ably led the ALC community’, the report said.

‘As they leave ALC to commence a new chapter in their life’s journey – James to return to parish ministry and Stephen to commence retirement – we pray that God will go with them and keep them safe in his care always. They will be missed!’

The new principal, Rev Dr Tim Stringer, will be installed on Sunday 18 February at the 9.30am service at St Michael’s Hahndorf in South Australia.

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With the Lutheran Church New Zealand (LCNZ) unable to elect a bishop at its 2023 Convention of Synod, the LCANZ’s College of Bishops has asked the NSW and ACT District to provide oversight for the LCNZ until the next synod in two years.

Leaders from the NSW District Church Council and the LCNZ Council of Synod have met twice, agreed on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) of how this would work and approved the arrangement.

The MOU states that the NSW and ACT bishop will make a two-week visiting tour of all New Zealand churches twice yearly and provide other oversight by email, phone calls and internet meetings from NSW.

The two tours will coincide with the New Zealand Church Workers Conferences and two of the Council of Synod meetings.

The LCNZ assistant bishop will cover other occasional events, such as special anniversaries, the installation of pastors and pastoral care intervention.

NSW and ACT Bishop Robert Bartholomaeus has completed one trip around the 14 New Zealand churches, including meeting with pastors and leaders. He also attended the LCNZ Church Worker Conference, where people shared their learnings of mission and ministry.

Bishop Robert said he saw many things on his tour that would be useful learnings for the NSW and ACT District. He has also shared experiences from the NSW and ACT District with several New Zealand leaders.

NSW District Administrator Russell Veerhuis and Office Secretary Kaye Simpfendorfer assisted locally in NSW while Bishop Robert was away.

New LCNZ District Administrator Debbie Venz and all other administration staff meet weekly via internet conferencing system Zoom, working together to provide mutual support for each other and the LCNZ.

LCNZ Bishop Emeritus Mark Whitfield said the agreement reflected a Māori proverb or whakataukī. ‘Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourouka ora ai te iwi – which translates to “with your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive”’.

Bishop Robert, who served as a pastor in New Zealand from 1983 until 2001, said: ‘This whakataukī encapsulates the notion that while working in isolation might result in survival, working together can take people beyond survival and onto prosperity. It is with this expectation that the Lutheran Church of New Zealand and the NSW and ACT District are working together.

‘May God continue to bless our two districts as we share our “food baskets” – the gifts and capacities God has blessed each district with – so that the gospel may flourish and the people who receive it may thrive. May this partnership of love and support in ministry be a mutual blessing.’

Whakapaingia te Atua e whakamine nei i a tātou. Whakamoemititia te Atua kua kotahi nei tātou. Blessed be God who calls us together. Praise to God who makes us one people’, Bishop Emeritus Mark said.

This story is adapted from one first published in the December edition of the NSW and ACT District magazine Contact and is printed with permission.

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Nominations close next month (March) for the Lutheran Nurse of the Year award for 2024 – so get your nominations in now.

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.

Nominations may be submitted by congregations, schools, aged-care facilities or other bodies or agencies within the LCANZ. 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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Thank you to those who serve as statisticians for your congregation or parish. Please remember to enter the statistics for 2023 into LAMP2 by the end of February. If you need assistance, please contact your district office.

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The LCANZ’s General Church Board (GCB) has provisionally approved a trial framework for a new LCANZ disciplinary system and complaints handling process.

The resolution, made late last year, is subject to the approval of General Synod, at its convention in October 2024, as amendments to the LCANZ Constitution and By-laws are required.

The new framework addresses the findings of the Review of the LCANZ’s Ecclesiastical Discipline, Adjudication and Appeals, and Provisions, Policies and Processes.

This review was requested by the 2018 General Synod and its findings were received at the in-person sessions of the 2021–23 General Synod held in February 2023.

In the new framework, roles and responsibilities are more clearly separated and defined than in the previous model, with the intention that disciplinary processes are as transparent, effective and fit for church purposes as possible.

A key change to how disciplinary matters are addressed is the separation of the LCANZ’s Professional Standards team from the process of substantiating accusations against church workers (including pastors), employees and volunteers. Under the new system, the team will still be the intake point for formal complaints, but a Complaints Triage Committee will review each complaint and determine whether an investigation is appropriate in the circumstances. Upon approval of the new framework by General Synod, applications will be invited from active members of the church who consider that their gifts are suited to serving on the committee.

To enable a trial of the new system to commence immediately, however, an interim Complaints Triage Committee has been appointed:

  • Michael Bowden, LCANZ HR Manager
  • Dianne Eckermann, retired, formerly Lutheran Education Australia Director of Leadership
  • Dr Nigel Long, Secretary of the Church.

The provisional Complaints Handling Policy and Complaints Handling Procedure are now available on the LCANZ’s website

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General Church Board has approved a Risk Management Policy, with application across the LCANZ.

‘A fundamental principle of care is keeping people safe and being good stewards of what we have been given’, LCA Insurance & Risk Manager Lucinda Osborne said.

‘This policy is a tool to help all agencies across the LCANZ gain a better understanding of the risks around them and achieve a good risk management process to protect the people and property we have in our care.’

The policy is a high-level document, encompassing principles and aspirations of risk management.

You can find support for the practical implementation of the policy in your congregational context, including risk management checklists and templates via the following means:

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Sue Kupke is the new Director of Formation for Lutheran Education Australia (LEA), with her role to begin this month.

Most recently the Education Leader for Lutheran Education SA, NT & WA, Sue has taught in Lutheran schools in Victoria, SA and WA and completed educational theology qualifications at Lutheran Teachers College (now ALC). She succeeds Anne Dohnt, who has served as LEA Director of Formation for 10 years and has taken up a role at Calvary Lutheran Primary School at Morphett Vale in suburban Adelaide.

LEA Executive Director, Associate Professor Lisa Schmidt, said Sue was extremely well prepared for the Director of Formation role, with strong connections across LEA regions.

‘Sue has just completed her doctorate and brings new insights to Lutheran education from her research on the cultural perspectives of students, staff and parents of a Lutheran primary school’, Lisa said. ‘Her vision for formation in Lutheran education is that each person associated with a Lutheran learning community will have the opportunity to experience Lutheran theology in action based on the gospel of Jesus Christ, which connects with them and shapes who they are becoming.

‘Her hope is that staff, students, families and governing councillors in Lutheran education will be immersed and shaped by Lutheran theology, so they grow and flourish as the humans who God created them to be through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

‘We also recognise the outstanding contribution by Anne Dohnt in this role and thank her for her service. Our prayers and support are with Anne and Sue over the next few months as they prepare for their respective futures. Formation in Lutheran education is important work of the church in outreach for those with little or no Christian faith, to plant seeds of belief and faith in God. Formation also nurtures Christians by deepening their knowledge and commitment to Christ.’

Sue said that having taught in Lutheran schools across three states and having served in the regional Lutheran Education SA, NT & WA role, she had ‘connected with and supported numerous teachers at varying stages of their vocation’.

‘I look forward to bringing this professional knowledge and experience into the national role’, she said. ‘I have assisted teachers during planning times and through Equip as part of their accreditation to teach Christian Studies in Lutheran schools.

‘I am keen to be part of the Formation Team at a national level, as we work towards strengthening Lutheran identity through our staff, students, families and governing bodies in Lutheran schools and Early Childhood Services.

‘Our Lutheran learning communities have the privilege of bringing Christ’s love to each person associated with that community – through head, heart and hands.’

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The LCANZ’s long-term service provider, Aon, has been reappointed as the broker for LCA Insurance following a rigorous tender process. The General Church Board approved the tender panel’s recommendation late last year.

‘The tender process provided LCA Insurance with the opportunity to review what options were available to us and to recalibrate our service requirements’, said Lucinda Osborne, LCA Insurance and Risk Manager.

Four large leading insurance service providers were invited to participate in the comprehensive tender process, with Aon emerging as the preferred broker from the two short-listed service providers. ‘We are delighted to retain the services of Aon, as they know our church and our insurance needs well’, Lucinda said. ‘But this does not mean the new agreement with them will be “business as usual”. Aon has offered us reduced pricing, improved services and a greater focus on ways to weather changes in the global and national insurance market. All this is very good news for our clients.’

Following the departure of Catholic Church Insurance from the market earlier this year, Aon has enhanced its commitment to faith-based organisations, including churches, schools, aged-care and community-care entities.

‘We are confident Aon can deliver for our Lutheran entities tailor-made insurance solutions for our faith-based context, while keeping premiums as low as possible. They also provide for us the experience, expertise and future-proofing insights of a leader in the Australian insurance industry’, Lucinda said. The LCA Insurance scheme manages insurance for approximately 730 Lutheran entities, insuring almost $6 billion in assets, with a diverse risk portfolio including congregations, aged and community care and education.

‘We know insurance can be a difficult area to understand, especially in the current challenging environment’, Lucinda said. ‘We are here to serve you, so you can continue to share God’s love in our communities without the burden of worrying about insurance. Please talk to us if you have any questions or concerns in relation to your insurance needs.

‘Your LCA Insurance team remains your first point of contact, with the Aon core service team providing support to LCA Insurance.’

Contact LCA Insurance on 08 8267 7330 or by email at

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