Support for our future Pastors and families

Australian Lutheran College (ALC), Pastoral Ministry Students Assistance Fund

The married student accommodation at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) in North Adelaide.

The year 2020 has been challenging for us all. My position as Coordinator between the Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA) and the pastoral students, and their wives, has been no exception.

In the past, I have contacted ALC and arranged a time with the principal, Pastor James Winderlich, to meet the students, introduce myself and explain the gifting of the Pastoral Ministry Students Assistance Fund. At the same time, I have handed out an encouragement letter from the LWA President at the time. I also provide them with an application form for a grant/gift from the LWA student assistance fund. While this has mainly focused on the new students, I have, on the odd occasion, been able to speak to all of the pastoral students. 2019 was particularly special as I was truly blessed to be able to speak to all of the students during their chapel service. Following my little talk, the gathering prayed for the LWA, their work within the church and especially for the contributions they make to assist the pastoral students as they study.

The last year has been different, in that the first-year students are doing most of their study online, so interaction with them has not been possible. The coronavirus has also been another factor restricting meetings and, as a result, I have only spoken with the odd student that has been home when I have visited their wives.

The other part of my role as Coordinator is to take the opportunity to speak with the pastoral students’ wives. This gives me the chance to inform them about Lutheran women and the role we have within the Lutheran Church of Australia, our fellowship groups, our projects and our service, not only in the church but also in the community. I encourage them to join the fellowship in their home congregation if they have not already done so. I explain to them about our Pastoral Students Assistance Fund and assure them that it is a gift, not a loan. I have found that, in the past, their husbands have not always passed on the information. 

I have also listened to the various needs of the students and their families. Some of these have been passed on and individual fellowships and church members have been able to help fund some basic needs which do not come under our gift fund criteria. All these needs, whether casual or gift applications, remain strictly confidential. Usually, at these meetings, l provide afternoon tea of a fruit platter and some scones jam and cream for them to enjoy. I have taken the odd student wife out to coffee and we have had a lovely chat. A student couple have been over to stay with my husband and me for a weekend, for a break away, and another student, his wife and family have enjoyed a BBQ with us when they were staying at Port Hughes, near our home. A special occasion for me was to lead them in devotion and it was well received.

Due to the coronavirus it has been impossible to arrange meetings at a mutually suitable time and to abide with government restrictions. Along with the president of the students’ wives group, we have been trying to arrange a time for a devotion, but it hasn’t eventuated.

I do make contact with at least one of the students’ wives every time a Lutheran Women is printed, as a bundle of twenty is sent to me to be delivered to them, and we usually have a short chat. However short, this is an opportunity for me to have contact with them and, if their husbands are home, l am able to wish them well in their continuing studies.

For me, this past year has been frustrating because I have not been able to fulfill my role as Coordinator as I would like to. 

God willing, next year there will be some new pastoral students studying on campus and I will have an opportunity to explain to them the LWA Pastoral Students Assistance Fund and the role of LWA in the wider church. In the meantime, thank you for your prayers and financial support for our students as they study to become our pastors of the future.

About the Author

Joan Zilm

Joan is a former president of Lutheran Women of South Australia and now administers the ALC Student Assistance Fund on behalf of Lutheran Women of Australia. She also acts as a liaison between students and  LWA.

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