Mr Leon Tepper, a member of St Paul’s Lutheran Church at Shepparton in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, is the 2020 recipient of the LCA Servant of Christ Award. Leon has served the Lutheran Church of Australia in a wide variety of volunteer roles for more than five decades.
Since moving to the Shepparton district with his family in the 1970s, Leon has served St Paul’s with ‘faithfulness and diligence’, congregation chairperson Dr Steve Little says.
‘Officially, he has served as an elder, congregation chairperson and vice-chairperson, parish vice-chairperson and lay reader’, Steve says. ‘Unofficially, he has also served faithfully with property repairs and maintenance, worship preparation, audio-visual operation, and many other tasks, both in his home congregation and parish, as well as neighbouring congregations in need of an extra set of hands to cut wood for fundraising or lead a service in a pastoral vacancy.
‘Leon is a fine example of a humble and faithful servant of Christ who bears witness to the gospel in so many ways and inspires many.’
Leon was born in Stawell in May 1947, in Victoria’s Wimmera region. His family worshipped at St John’s in Willaura, before moving to Hamilton in 1964 and attending Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Leon married his wife Elaine in 1971 and their son Clinton was born and baptised in Hamilton before they moved to Melbourne and became members at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Waverley. The family moved to Gisborne in the Macedon Ranges north-west of Melbourne two years later and became members at Bethany Sunbury, where their daughter Cindi was baptised.
Over those years, Leon was involved in volunteer roles such as congregational working bees, ushering, church cleaning, lawn mowing, sound and bells responsibilities, finance, Bible studies and serving as an elder.
In 1975, the Teppers moved to Tatura in the Goulburn Valley, where they joined St Paul’s Shepparton. Among many other contributions, Leon has served as a member of St Paul’s maintenance, property and building committees.
He says God and the church have always been central to his life. ‘I have been truly blessed over the years and give thanks to God for all that he has given me, including my wife, family, health, gifts and abilities, to allow me to serve my church and congregations’, he says.