LWSA-NT Convention, 6 May 2021 held at Mannum

There was an atmosphere of anticipation and celebration as Lutheran Women of South Australia and Northern Territory arrived for their 54th Convention. The outdoor area at St Martin’s Lutheran Church, Mannum began the time of God’s gentle embrace of welcome.

There is strength in gentleness, the kind of strength needed in the times we are living through uncertainty, stress, and hard decisions to be made in the face of COVID-19. To stay gentle in such circumstances takes more than our human resources can muster, so we seek our gentleness in the grace embrace of Jesus and the battle he has won for us. Pastor Wally Schiller encouraged those present, during the opening devotion, with the reminder of God’s loving promises through our position in Jesus.

Various people spoke words of welcome to those assembled, giving encouragement to be prepared to witness with gentleness and respect. Gentleness is often in short supply in our society. Bishop David Altus left us with the thought of being “gently strong and strongly gentle”. Guest speakers took on some of the challenges as to how we can live gently in 2021. The first was Chelsea Pietsch, speaking from her position as an executive member of Lutherans for Life. There are many life and death issues to face in this 21st century with important life issues becoming politicised. As people of God, we hold in deep respect every life created in God’s image as dearly valued by him, whatever their age and status – so precious that God allowed Jesus to die and rise again for each one.

The President of Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA), Wendy Habel, gave her report and noted that, at the beginning of May, the membership is 1,960. Wendy gave notice of changes to some LWA projects (in conjunction with LCA International Mission) at the LWA Convention in Horsham, Victoria in September 2021 [Convention since cancelled]. Subscriptions to the Lutheran Women magazine will increase, with digital copies available for $15.


Pastor Mark Welke, LWSA-NT Spiritual Adviser addressed the tiredness we may be feeling as we try to manage the stresses and strains of living in a COVID-19 altered society. He gave a “sales pitch” of the qualities needed for a gentle and quiet spirit, humility of heart, for the Holy Spirit to cleanse and refresh. Gentleness makes a difference in how we respond to the many challenges we face daily.

Pastor Graham Jenke, vice-chairperson of the Mid-Murray Suicide Prevention Group, urged us to talk to people, especially young people to let them know they are not alone. Bring the subject of suicide out in the open, knowing that no suicidal person wants to die – they just can’t face the many issues that confront them. There is help – you can help by gently asking R U O K?

Bobbie Taylor, a Wellbeing Leader at Mannum Community College and Joy Marks, a Pastoral Care Worker at the same college, related the challenges faced by today’s children and young people. Anxiety, emotional struggles, nutritional and sleep issues, and the destructive impact of screen devices in bedrooms, as well as domestic violence and parental abuse of teachers and the behaviour management required. Children need healing and hope as well as education in the stressful situations in which so many find themselves. Mentors in schools can help to encourage individual children. 

Lutheran Care and Clothing reported the dire need for volunteer help with sorting clothing at the Blair Athol premises. Nursing homes continue to receive limited volunteer help due to COVID-19 restrictions. At Tanunda Lutheran Home, 200 “protective scarves” have been sewn for residents to replace the use of bibs. Other reports covered ecumenical activities and involvement by Lutheran women.

Deep appreciation for the honey biscuits packaged and donated to institutions each Christmas came by way of a letter which “Hugh” wrote from a correctional institution – a reminder to remember those suffering in the world in prisons and refugee camps. Julie Krause from ALWS reminded us that women are rebuilding communities every day in places where small things mean so much and where appreciation runs deep!

The retirements of Grace Kroehn and Grace Bock were noted with tributes of thanks. The newly elected President of LWSA-NT is Josie Hunt and three new members have joined the ranks as additional members: Chris Kuchel, Lynette Pech and Di Schlenk.

With an attendance of 218, the Convention offering was $8,918.00: 40% to Lutherans for Life, 40% to Adelaide Deaf Community Church and 20% to Mannum Inter-Church Council (for the work of Pastoral Care Workers). The invitation to host next year’s Convention came from Lobethal and the proposed date is Thursday 5 May 2022.

During the closing worship Pastor Welke installed the Executive, in a beautiful golden river of light shining through the sanctuary window. 

Joy Christian

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