LWNSW/ACT Retreat – Pathways to the Good Shepherd

PATHWAYS to the GOOD SHEPHERD was the theme chosen for the Retreat in March 2022 after nearly three years in the planning and development stages due to COVID-forced postponements. It was worth the wait! Those of us who were able to gather at Warrambui, near Murrumbateman, felt very privileged to be there.

Elaine Harvey from St Matthews Woy Woy congregation, the program coordinator, and a relatively new retreater, put her heart and soul into the detail in all aspects of the program, decorating of the altar etc.

Elaine’s picture of her Good Shepherd led her to envision a fallen silky oak tree branch in a neighbour’s yard as a shepherd’s staff – and to persuade that neighbour to finesse it into a polished, seven-foot-long masterpiece! Special guest, LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith led the Sunday morning procession into the service carrying the staff, symbolising his position as shepherd of the LCANZ flock.

Retreat Pastor, Terry Unger, led us in his relaxed and informative way to a new understanding of our Good Shepherd – one we follow, who calls us by name in his gentle voice. He leads us and wants to direct our path because he loves us. And there is more than Jesus – within the Trinity there is nothing but love. If we are feeling lost or angry, we should take our feelings into prayer where we will be led into a better relationship with God. Feelings are an invitation to come closer to God. We try – but he loves us anyway – every moment. We need to know and understand that and be confident. We are Jesus’ little lambs – always!


Meals are great at Warrambui, and the specially requested Saturday night Roast Lamb dinner was a real highlight. In keeping with the theme, the décor reflected green pastures with flowers and tiny lights. The ladies of St Matthews made special “lamb” placemats using round white doilies and black card – very effective, and each one different! After dinner, at the “Show and Tell” evening, everyone was given the opportunity to share the visual image of their good shepherd and the related story.

As always music was a big part of our program. O Lord, hear my prayer (Taize) was the theme song. Other favourites: The Lord’s my Shepherd, The King of Love my Shepherd is, I am Jesus’ little lamb, and many others were also sung. As always, the ladies sang with feeling and great voice.

Bishop Paul spoke about his personal journey with Christ, his unexpected rise to the leadership of the LCANZ and his desire to meet and mix with Lutherans throughout the country. He has a relaxed and friendly manner and is an accomplished speaker. We enjoyed his company and appreciated his willingness to join in our planned activities.

Many people contribute to the success of a retreat: planners, leaders, pastor, musicians, technicians, those who provide services like the Temora book shop, Dean and his Warrambui staff, and, of course, those who participate so willingly. COVID uncertainties, particularly for our age cohort, and even flooding, made travelling more difficult for some and impossible for others.

It’s never easy for busy women to leave home – but a weekend away, studying God’s Word and his promises to us, is always worth it. We are uplifted in his body and spirit which continues as we review the special experiences which nourish our soul.

Meryl Packer

About the Author

Editorial Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *