Looking back… looking forward

Do you have a “let down” feeling as the days of our eagerly awaited, but necessarily cancelled, Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA) Triennial Convention approach?

Here are some snippets from the Convention held just 40 years ago on 23,24 September 1981 at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Toowoomba, Queensland. The theme for convention was “Aflame for Christ”.

A report on the convention observed: “Toowoomba in springtime is aflame with brilliant colours of flowering trees, shrubs and gardens”. Another said: “Toowoomba, city of gardens and churches… decked out for the Carnival of Flowers, was a fitting place for the sixth convention of LWA”. 

The 670 women who attended, from all parts of Australia and New Zealand, were warmly welcomed to the Sunshine State.

Devotions, Bible Study and singing, all based on the convention theme, were significant and uplifting times during the two days of convention.

Retiring president, Rena Eckert competently led the proceedings, ably assisted by Ena Mibus. Mind you, in those days they were respectively referred to as Mrs Frank Eckert and Mrs Gordon Mibus. Although hats and gloves had been dispensed with, the women were still decked out in their finest summer clothes in keeping with the Queensland weather!

A new Executive was voted in with Ena Mibus moving from Secretary to President and Margaret Warnest becoming the new Secretary.

Various projects were adopted for the women’s support and included scholarships for Indonesian women to study at Lutheran Teachers College, Luther Seminary, Papua New Guinea, Lutheran World Service, Aboriginal Missions, the Lutheran Hour, the Tract Fund and Seminary Students Assistance Fund.

As well as the business of convention, sixteen Electives were available for the ladies to learn something “new”. These included subjects like Retirement, Flowers in Church, Parent Effectiveness, Church Art, Books, Herbs, and Joy in Bible Study.

A big decision was a rise in the annual subscription for Lutheran Women magazine due to “spiralling printing and postage”. It never ends! Just as well much of the work was done by volunteers then, as it is still done today!

A convention dinner was enjoyed by all and at the conclusion of activities the women were taken on a bus tour of Toowoomba city and surrounds.

Among the comments made after convention was this priceless observation: “[there was] a great deal of silent participation in sessions”!

A final comment: “The organisation… clearly shows that a dedicated group of Christians is “Aflame for Christ”.

As we ponder over what might have been this year, many of us will recall conventions of years gone by, and many of us will look forward to more gatherings of women who share a common faith in Christ and a passion to serve.

About the Author

Grace Bock

Grace has a passion for Lutheran Women of Australia, having served as President and Editor of Lutheran Women. She is a member at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide SA and is part of the Editorial Team.

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