Challenges of living far from a local church and women’s fellowship!

After many, many years of being active members of Lutheran congregations my husband Gordon and I sold our farm and retired to the township of Grenfell in central NSW so that our youngest child could finish his schooling before seeking employment in Sydney.

Our nearest Lutheran congregations are now 100 kilometres away in all directions, and the nearest Lutheran women’s fellowship is the same distance. I miss the fellowship of Lutheran women’s gatherings very much. Gordon and I both miss the various State Fellowship Days and Conventions as we always enjoyed them. They are also a great way to catch up with old friends.

COVID-19 has made Christian fellowship difficult for us and many others. We are very privileged though, to be able to receive the worship DVDs from Lutheran Media and to watch the marvellous services from Toowoomba and Hahndorf most Sundays.

In Grenfell there are several different KYB study groups, including one for men. I attend one where each of the four of us belongs to a different denomination which sometimes makes for very different study discussions! Wonderful, though, to study the Bible with these Christian women.

Grenfell also has a very strong group of Christian women who get together once a month to sew items of clothing and bags for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) boxes. Through various groups in town the OCC coordinator sends away approximately seven hundred boxes each year for needy children overseas. I really enjoy the fellowship of local Christian women as we study together and work for various causes. We serve and worship the same God, yet there are still differences. It’s not quite like having a spiritual “home”.

Until COVID-19 changed all of our lives, Gordon and I played the piano, guitar and led the singing for singalongs for our elderly residents at the Grenfell Multi-Purpose Service Centre at the hospital. We also entertained and played for singalongs for Narraburra and Greenstone Retirement and Nursing Homes in Temora. We really miss catching up with the old and new residents in these places and hope that we may be able to go back to doing this in the future. We also look forward to the time when Fellowship Days and LWNSW Conventions can be held again.

We are fortunate to have a Christian bookshop here in Grenfell where we can purchase encouraging literature, cards, etc. It is important as, while there are a number of denominations in town, we have only two resident Christian ministers. Various lay men and women conduct church services too.

I am very thankful for the copies of Lutheran Women keeping me in touch with like-minded women around Australia. Thank you to all who contribute in any way: devotions, Bible studies, articles and administration – serving those who are isolated from Lutheran women in their communities as well as those who are in close contact with Lutheran congregations and women’s groups.

Naomi Steinhardt, Grenfell

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