Wait – there is a Chinese Lutheran congregation in Perth?

Hallelujah! This well-known phrase from the Bible is Hebrew and means “Praise the Lord!”.

Praising God in all circumstances is something that can seem paradoxical in uncertain times like these where the COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. And yet, we come across people who seem to be praising God ceaselessly through the great ups and horrible downs of life. That becomes a motivation and encouragement for us.

Pastor Ku and Annie

Annie and Ku are people like that, focussed on giving God the glory in all things. Pastor Ku and his wife have spent the past 16 years ministering to a Chinese Congregation that has become part of the LCA/NZ. They meet at St John’s Lutheran Church in Perth.

Ku was born in China but was still a baby when his pastor father Ku Shuk Hee, mother and siblings moved to Sabah, Malaysia, to serve God in ministry to the people of Chinese origin there, first in the town of Beaufort. The move wasn’t a lifestyle choice. The rise of Communism in China made life very oppressive for Christians at the time. So, it came that Ku grew up in the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia (BCCM), into which Annie was born. This Lutheran Church, which has its origins from missionaries sent to China from the Swiss based Basel Mission Society, has partner links with the LCA/NZ and is part of the Lutheran World Federation.

Growing up, Ku and Annie were very involved in church life. His mining job eventually brought the family to Western Australia. God kept laying on Ku’s heart the call to study theology more deeply and, eventually, he enrolled at Perth Bible College. When he neared the end of his studies, the Bishop of Ku’s home church in Sabah was visiting Australia to explore how a link could be established between the LCA and BCCM to share the Gospel with Chinese people in Australia. God had prepared Ku well with his studies. He took some additional classes at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) and was ordained by LCA Pastor Geoff Burger and Bishop Voo of BCCM at St John’s Lutheran Church, Perth in 2004, along with another theological graduate, Marvin Fang. It was a great occasion for Hallelujahs! Both men served the Chinese community as pastors.

A new congregation was born, made up of Chinese people in the Perth area. Ku and his wife Annie set to work, teaching God’s Word, connecting Chinese people in the area with Christ in an inner-city context. They faced many joys and challenges alike. Sunday services, Sunday school, youth fellowship and Bible study groups needed to be organised, run and invested into. Every week after church, the congregation had lunch together to create more connections.

There have been some major challenges over the years. The transient nature of many Chinese people in the area, because they are students or temporary workers, makes consistent ministry very difficult. There were also some inner-congregational tensions over the years which saw some people move on.

Pastor Ku, now well past retirement age, is not afraid to try new things to teach people about God. He preached in different places and started offering free weekly English classes in which he also teaches the Bible. These are attended by dozens of people. Annie keeps in very regular contact with the Chinese people connected to their fellowship electronically through various messenger services like Whatsapp and the Chinese Wei chat. How innovative to use many different means of communication!

Hallelujah indeed! It is an uplifting story of God working in mighty ways as his followers make themselves available for service. This has taken Pastor Ku and Annie to places they have never expected. It has spread the Word of God in the Chinese community of Perth and beyond. We can praise God for Pastor Ku, his wife Annie and their ministry.

Let’s join together to pray for the needs of the Chinese congregation in Perth:

Loving God, we give thanks for the Chinese Lutheran congregation in Perth. Many people have been touched by your Word and lives have been transformed through this ministry. Raise up a new person to become their part- or full-time pastor to preach and teach your Word in Chinese. We ask your Holy Spirit to lead more people to join the Chinese congregation and that the core group of active people within the congregation can be built up and increased. We pray that according to your will, there will be sufficient finances for the ministries of the congregation. We ask that you strengthen and nurture the link of Christian love and care between the Chinese and the St John’s congregation. We commit this special ministry to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the Author

Maria Rudolph

After encountering Jesus and getting baptised while I travelled around Australia as a German backpacker, I completed a Bachelor of Theology at Australian Lutheran College in Adelaide and am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Ministry there. Together with my pastor husband Michael, we have lived and served in congregations in Newcastle, NSW and now in Perth, WA while also bringing up three lively children.

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