LWNSW Convention – 2021

The 54th LWNSW Convention was held at Immanuel, Woden Valley on Saturday 19 June 2021, more than two years after the last Convention due to COVID-19 restrictions. Around 50 members and guests thanked God for the opportunity to gather together again. A miracle of timing as both NSW and the ACT were back in lockdown almost immediately afterwards.

The theme for the day, Building on the Rock was based on Matthew 7:24 Anyone who listens to my teaching, and follows it, is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

Tanna Mackenzie, President of Woden Fellowship, welcomed everyone and read the LCA’s “Welcome to Country”.

Pastor Tim Muller based his opening devotion on various “rock” themes in Scripture. He said that people in our society are searching for a suitable foundation to build their lives on. They choose man-made things and earthly passions – but these are not solid. Jesus is there for all, the Cornerstone. This is the good news we need to make known to those around us.

President, Charmain Lieschke, introduced her committee and thanked everyone for coming.

LWA President, Wendy Habel, was pleased to present her report in person as several State Conventions have been cancelled due to COVID restrictions. She and her executive learned “Zoom” skills so the work could go on. Wendy also encouraged groups and individuals to continue to forward their memberships. Numbers are fewer as many groups are not meeting at the moment. However, financial support for last year’s eleven LWA projects demonstrates the devotion and passion shown in selfless giving of the Lutheran women throughout Australia.

The LWA Executive thanks everyone for their prayers during their term of office which ends in September. They ask that we continue to remember all women from our congregations to encourage younger and older, give tracts from the Lutheran Tract Mission, or a monthly phone call with an invite to share in our time together.

All the guest speakers inspired us:

– Vicki Gollasch from ALWS spoke enthusiastically of the work being done for disadvantaged people overseas, in eleven countries now, involving over 200,000 people.

– Nevin Nitschke, LCA Mission International, spoke about our partnerships with church bodies in other countries, learning from them as we walk beside them in Mission. Nevin stressed that the providing of Birth Kits for PNG is still much needed. Proclaiming the Gospel is the purpose of Mission and is foremost in every partnership. His request: “Keep up the Good Work!”

– Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer spoke about ACR, a publishing and Christian resources company, now owned by the LifeWay Epping Church group. ACR stocks Christian resources that other bookshops don’t and publishes their own material, including in the Chinese language. Pastor Mark encouraged us to use their resources in our congregations; to support the business by purchasing wafers, candles etc., as well as books.

– Gary Watson, a veteran of 38 years of supporting Warrambui, reported on the upgrade of facilities ongoing throughout the last two turbulent years. COVID has changed the way business is done – schools cancel bookings overnight and there is no certainty, which is very stressful. Warrambui needs our constant prayers – for the staff, the customers and a return to normality.

– Bishop Robert Bartholomaeus praised the women of the Church – stating that women’s organisations are a great powerhouse, always at work, faithful and helpful. Today only 52% of Australians claim to be Christians and many claim to have no religion. We are living in a different world, a mission field, and we must think differently. Leadership in congregations is not just for Pastors. We must be ready to meet new people, to adopt new ideas and methods.

Charmain delivered her LWNSW President’s report, thanking her Executive for their support through difficult times and Jenny Schneider who is retiring due to ill health. Sabine, presented her treasurer’s reports, thanking the fellowships for their generous donations to National and State Projects, whether they were meeting or not. Thanked, too, were all those present for their generous donations on the day for Lutheran Media.

Bishop Robert then conducted the elections, and a full new Executive was duly elected, with Tanna Mackenzie as President. Tanna thanked the outgoing members, and everyone present for their participation. She also thanked the men and women of Immanuel who worked so hard on the day.

Pastor Mark, Spiritual Advisor to the LWNSW, presented the closing devotion based on Psalm 62. He said we need to build on the rock of Jesus, the firm foundation, so we can be saved and free. We should respond by living our lives actively. We need to turn to our rock, Jesus Christ. He will give us the courage and power to step out in faith and give all to him.

It was a wonderful day of Christian Fellowship, great singing, uplifting messages of hope, faith, and confidence. To God be the Glory!

Meryl Packer

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