The years 2020/21 have been challenging for us all. My position as co-ordinator between the Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA) and the Pastoral students and their wives has been no exception.
In the past I have contacted the ALC and arranged a time with the principal, Pastor James to meet the students, introduce myself and explain the Pastoral Students gift fund to them. I have handed out the encouragement gift of $200 for each new student on behalf of the LWA. At the same time, I have handed out encouragement letters to all the pastoral students from the LWA President, which also contained an application form for a grant/gift from the LWA student fund. While this has been mainly focused on the new students, I have, on occasion, been able to speak to students from the whole college. I explain the role of Lutheran women and encourage them to support women’s fellowships when they go out into the congregations. In 2019 I was able to speak with the students during a chapel service. Following my presentation, the gathering prayed and thanked God for LWA and the contributions they make to assist the pastoral students as they study.
The years 2020/21 have been different in that first-year students are doing the majority of their study on-line, so the interaction with them has not been possible. The virus has also restricted meetings and, as a result, I have only spoken with a student that has occasionally been home when I have met with their wives.
We have received three applications from students and grants have been gifted according to the need. Unfortunately, because of the virus situation, the grant has been transferred online so I have been unable to meet, encourage, and pray with the recipients as in the past.
The other part of my role as coordinator is to take the opportunity to speak with the pastoral students’ wives. This gives me the chance to inform them about Lutheran Women and the role we have within the Lutheran Church of Australia, our fellowships, our projects, and our service, not only in the church but also in the community. I encourage them to join a fellowship in their home congregations if they have not already done so, and explain to them about our gift fund, as I have found in the past that their husbands have not always passed on the information. I have also been able to listen to the needs of the students and their families. Some of these have been passed on and individual fellowships and members have been able to help fund some basic needs which don’t really come under the gift fund criteria. Usually on these occasions I have taken afternoon tea for them to enjoy. I have occasionally taken a wife out to coffee, and we have had a lovely chat. A student couple have come to stay with us to have a break away and another student and their family have spent the time having a BBQ tea with us when they were holidaying in Port Hughes. A special occasion for me was to lead them in devotion and it was well received.
Due to all the coronavirus restrictions, it has been impossible to arrange meetings to conform with government restrictions. Along with the president of the Student Wives, we have been trying to arrange a time for devotion and afternoon/morning tea, but it hasn’t been able to eventuate.
I have contacted them every time a Lutheran Woman is printed as a bundle of copies, paid by Lutheran Women, comes to me and I take them to the Student Wives, and we have a short chat.
I would like to share a paragraph from a letter sent to me on behalf of the “Sem Wives Group”.
“We have truly appreciated the love and support of the Lutheran Women of Australia and hope to keep in close fellowship in our proposed new formation, (of the Sem wives Group). We continue to watch and admire, in love and admiration, at the care and blessings the Lutheran women provide to the LCA and the wider community, and praise God for your service and example.
God bless and keep you in whatever this year may bring”.
Elizabeth Dreckow, on behalf of the Sem wives.
For me, these past two years have been very frustrating because I have not been able to fulfil my role as I would like to.
God willing, next year, there will be new college pastoral students studying in-house, and I will be able to present them with their $200 encouragement gift, and I will have an opportunity to explain the LWA Pastoral Students Gift fund and the role of Lutheran women in the wider church.
May God bless you all as you support our ALC Pastoral Ministry Students Assistance Fund with your financial gifts.