Lutheran Women of Victoria and Tasmania annual convention 2023

A cool yet sunny morning on Saturday 20 May could not dampen the spirits of those attending the 56th Convention of the Lutheran Women of Victoria and Tasmania (LWVT). It was hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church in Warrnambool and catered for by the parish ladies from Warrnambool, Ayrford, and Hawkesdale. The theme for Convention was Patient Endurance from Revelation 13:10b.

Greeting everyone in the foyer was a stunning flower arrangement in autumnal colours of orange, red, yellow, and green. Another stunning arrangement filled a corner towards the front of the church while those on the altar toned in with the colours on the LWVT banner namely purple, green, white, and red. These same colours were used to illustrate the convention theme design of Patient Endurance on the goodie bags handed out to the 76 registered participants.

Christine Sawyer welcomed everyone, providing a brief historical background of the Warrnambool Guild before Jenny Gellert declared the 56th Convention open.

Opening worship was conducted by Pastor Heath Pukallus of Trinity Lutheran, Warrnambool. Using Colossians 1:3–14, he encouraged us to stand under God’s Word, enduring patience with joy. The convention offering of $2010 was shared equally between the Ubuo Training Centre and Dormitory Project in PNG, and Pastor Murray Smith also in PNG, as nominated by Pastor Matt Anker from International Missions.

Pastor Lucas Matuschka, LWVT Spiritual Advisor, led Bible study based on the theme. He reminded us that while the people of God constantly face attack from the devil, the world, and our sinful selves, we can win the struggle by fixing our eyes on Christ who has done everything for us. We need to remain under the umbrella of God’s protection, be patient and take him at his Word.

Enduring patiently was the common thread throughout the various presentations.

The guest speaker, Pastor Matt Anker, Assistant to the Bishop for International Mission, spoke about the projects that Lutheran women are supporting in Malaysia, Thailand, PNG, and Indonesia. Later, as the Chairman of the Board of Lutherans in Africa, he showed slides and talked about the combined work being done by USA, Australia, Canada, and Finland in supporting the building of a self-sustaining Seminary in which teachers and pastors are trained.

A PowerPoint provided by Hanna Schulz about her work in PNG as a Bible translator working in the Gulf Province with the Kope people, was accompanied by a commentary read by Jenny Gellert. Beginning in 2012, the Kope Gospel of Luke was finally dedicated in October 2022. Enduring patience in action! Hanna’s work also involves Oral Bible Storytelling workshops and the Scripture Application and Leadership Training days. To house participants for these training workshops, Hanna has been involved in fundraising and the building of a classroom, kitchen, and dormitory.

Watching a slide show of the beautifully embroidered and crafted banners of Trinity, Warrnambool, gave everyone an overview of practical patience in action. Making banners began with the simple idea of adding colour to the church walls and to give a symbolic and pictorial meaning to the different phases of the church year.

Maureen Turner, Vice President of LWA, delivered the annual report, noting that the LWA membership numbers total 2430. She spoke about the Lutheran Women magazine which, incidentally, is now [more than] 50 years old. Production costs for each issue are currently running at a loss. The LWA Convention will be held in October 2024, at Unity College in Murray Bridge. Referring to her report, President Jenny Gellert, highlighted the two “A Day with the Lord” events held at Warracknabeal and Traralgon. She invited guilds to consider hosting more over the next few months.

Entertainment was provided by Helen and Greg Noll who sang two beautiful hymns, There is a Time for Everything and Though Our Life is like a Scroll. This was followed by the Warrnambool ladies singing, Seek, O Seek the Lord. A light-hearted moment occurred later in the afternoon when everyone joined in singing and doing the actions to Father Abraham. Memorial candles were lit in memory of seven ladies who passed away during the year.

In providing an update of Church News, Bishop Lester noted God’s faithfulness to us for persevering in very challenging times. During the closing devotion, Bishop Lester blessed the LWVT executive and presented them with encouragement cards. The service of retiring executive members, Julie Hedt, Pam Machen, and Kerry Nolte was recognised. The appointment of Elena Lomen as Extra Member was welcomed. Shirley Jorgensen’s service as stamp collector is coming to an end. Her dedication and effort for the last 35 years were acknowledged with a round of applause. Janet Dittrich is the incoming Stamp Collector.

Scrumptious food coupled with the generous support of the produce and product stall (fundraising for Lutheran Media) and the varied presentations affirmed that it was a wonderful day of fellowship for all involved.

Jenny Gellert, LWVT President

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