From door-to-door there are just 50 steps separating Langmeil Thanksgiving Church and Faith Lutheran College Junior Campus in Tanunda in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. So, when contemplating a name for the church’s outreach initiative to reconnect with the school community, 50 Steps seemed the perfect choice.
Established 175 years ago, the school was started by Langmeil Lutheran Church. Reconnecting through the 50 Steps initiative has felt ‘like something of a homecoming’ for many of the participants, says 50 Steps coordinator Sid Wrangles.
‘Many of the volunteers involved in the outreach are ex-teachers and some of them are the school’s alumni. Most of us are in the 65-plus age group, but present as energised and useful veterans, working across intergenerational lines’, he says.
Around 10 volunteers from the church are ‘on call’ for school activities, providing practical support and building relationships with the school community. From helping the youngest students learn to use knives safely in their Home Economics class, to taking part in woodwork, German instruction, music, gardening and puppet making, the volunteers have their work cut out for them. They have also been invited to lead school assemblies and have presented students with their first Bibles. ‘The students really seem to appreciate our grandparental profile in the school and love to tell us their stories, opinions and hopes for the future’, Sid says.
The connection has given the congregation the opportunity to relocate its intergenerational service to the school’s Harvest Centre. ‘For our volunteers and congregation, it felt as though our church was coming home, and we were completing a circle that started over a century and a half ago’, Sid says. ‘We are looking forward to what God does next.’
Photo courtesy Faith Lutheran College. This story first appeared in Online Together and Together magazine from the LCA SA-NT District. Read the full story.
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