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Food and fellowship put the fun into FUNdraising

Members from St Mark’s Lutheran Church Mt Gravatt embraced the strong Asian presence within the congregation by enjoying a truly ethnic and delicious Longest Lutheran Lunch experience.

Former Queensland Distict President Tim Jaensch explained that as the congregation is made up of two predominant cultures, English and Chinese, it was fitting for this to be reflected in the meal.

'There was a happy blend of both cuisines at the lunch', he said. 'As the attendance each Sunday is very multicultural, so was the food. We had a really enjoyable time with all four different (service) groups in the congregation. It was great to see the whole congregation worshipping together.'

The event reaffirmed the effectiveness of such events in bringing people together, particularly from diverse nationalities.

Along with the cross-cultural elements, there was also a focus on showing compassion towards others.

Congregation member Elaine Forster explained that the decision was made to use the Longest Lutheran Lunch not just as an opportunity for fellowship but also for fundraising.

Pastor Jaensch said the main focus of the day was to draw attention to the plight of the African refugees, to be moved by compassion.

'We did this through the lunch and the bike-a-thon. I think everyone realised how blessed we are', Pastor Jaensch said.

As congregation members arrived for the lunch, they were presented with several jars containing the miniscule portions of food that many African families rely on daily to survive.

While somewhat confronting, this realisation fostered a new sense of appreciation for the meal about to be enjoyed and reinforced the need for us, as Christians, to take action.

After the lunch the collaborations continued into the afternoon with 33 children and their families from each of the different services taking part in the bike-a-thon to raise funds for the ALWS African Famine Appeal.

Children from both the traditional and Cantonese services exhausted themselves zooming around the circuit for an hour to raise funds.

Director of Children’s Ministries at St Mark’s Sarah Kubenk said the real joy on the day was seeing the kids' faces light up when they realised how much money they had managed to raise.

'Through the bike-a-thon, we’ve already raised $5607 and the money is still coming in!' Sarah said.

Following the bike-a–thon, the festivities continued with a sausage sizzle that extended the Longest Lutheran Lunch into dinner.

An exhausting but truly rewarding day was had by all!

Read more Longest Lutheran Lunch stories.