LWA partners with ALC to prepare workers for the LCA

Take your mind to another time – a time before the COVID-19 pandemic. What did you expect to be doing in 2020?

None of us imagined that we would be living as we now are. We’ve had to adapt, pivot, and change direction with breathtaking speed to live with restrictions. No more hugging and handshaking. Limitations on gatherings. No more travel. Importantly, we’ve shown that we can do it. Apart from a few wobbles, praise God that we have all pivoted well.

Computer, video and streaming equipment in a classroom.

A ‘close-up’ of some of our current streaming equipment.

Australian Lutheran College (ALC) began 2020 much the same as anyone else. We were certain that we knew what was ahead, and we were confident that we had everything organised to serve our students and the LCA in 2020. COVID-19 hadn’t entered our thoughts and planning.

Things changed. Four weeks into our first semester we could no longer offer face-to-face classes on campus. Our campus was shut down. All of us, students, teachers, and support staff, had to work and study from home. How would we continue to serve and prepare pastors, teachers, and lay workers for service in the Church? We had to pivot, and pivot quickly. We had to use the internet in ways that were new for many of us, to offer all our classes and chapel worship online. The change was dramatic for both students and teachers, and it needed to be supported with reliable resources. By God’s provision some of those resources were already in place. Our staff had adequate computers and we had some streaming (broadcasting) equipment.

A man dressed in a grey suit sits at a desk with several computers and many books piled up. He has earphones in. He is a pastor conducting on-line classes.

Dr Adam Hensley conducting a Psalm short course online. Dr Hensley is sitting at his desk and engaging with over 100 participants from throughout Australia, the USA, Nigeria, and some of the LCA’s Asia-Pacific partner churches.

Face-to-face classes have returned in semester 2, some in a limited capacity, but all continue to be provided in an online format so that students at health risk, and students who are self-isolating, are able to participate. We also need to remain ready to pivot at short notice. Things remain uncertain and we need to respond quickly. It is for this reason that ALC needs to continue to develop its online (broadcasting) equipment. We need to support our students’ learning in this erratic COVID-19 environment as they prepare to serve the Church in diverse ways.

Lutheran Women Australia (LWA) is pivoting as an agile partner with ALC. LWA recognises the College’s urgent need and is providing generous financial support so that ALC can purchase additional technical equipment to support student learning. This equipment benefits all ALC students wherever they are, including in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of the Asia-Pacific. This year, for the first time, ALC has delivered two online short courses allowing 160 people from a huge range of locations to attend. Most recently students at Martin Luther Seminary (Lae, PNG) were among the participants in the short course on the Gospel of Mark.

Pivoting might demand much from us, but the blessings that come are even greater. When we try and pivot on our own, we are prone to stumble. When we pivot together, we bear each other up. ALC thanks and praises God for LWA’s partnership and support.

Who could ever have imagined that 2020 would turn out so wonderfully?

Philippians 1:3–5

About the Author

James Winderlich

Pastor James Winderlich is the Principal of Australian Lutheran College

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