These pastoral ministry graduates from Australian Lutheran College will all be stepping out in faith to begin their first assignments in 2020. We asked them about their faith journeys and what they are most looking forward to in their ordained ministries – and found out a bit more about what makes each of them tick.
JING (JIM) LUAN
FAMILY: Wife Lily, three adult daughters, one grandson
HOME CONGREGATION: St Mark’s Mt Gravatt Qld
ASSIGNED TO: Lockyer Valley Parish (Laidley Ministry Area) Qld
Who were the most influential people in your life growing up? My grandmother is a Russian Orthodox Christian with simple and strong faith in her saviour Jesus Christ. Her prayers were very impressive for me in my early age.
Who are the most influential now? My grandma’s saviour
Before ALC: I worked in senior management positions across the IT industry, business consulting, and clean energy ventures.
Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? God re-instated his calling over me when Lily and I conducted a Holy Land tour in 2014. I was convinced that God has a plan for me to serve him at his temple. To me, God’s temple now is the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand.
Most relied upon Bible verse: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Every time I encounter this verse, I am amazed by God’s mercy and love.
The most important thing to know about God is … he is for us. He loves us through the person of Jesus. Apart from him there is no way to God, no truth of God and no life in God.
Which pastoral privilege are you most looking forward to? To proclaim the gospel to God’s people and keep them free in God’s mercy, love and forgiveness.
Favourite leisure activity: Travelling
Favourite movie: Titanic. The musicians gave their lives to witness God’s love and presence in disaster.
If you could chat to any famous person, who would it be? Martin Luther, asking what he can imagine about the Reformation and the Lutheran Church 500 years after his posting the 95 theses.
FAMILY: Wife Sarah and daughter Emilie
HOME CONGREGATION: Langmeil Thanksgiving Lutheran Church Tanunda SA
ASSIGNED TO: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Mildura Vic
Who were the most influential people in your life growing up? Those who went out of their way to listen, teach and mentor.
Before ALC: I studied a Bachelor of Commerce at Adelaide University and volunteered for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea.
Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? A persistent sense of call.
Most relied upon Bible verse: I’ve been encouraged by 2 Corinthians 12:9: ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’
The most important thing to know about God is … his enduring grace.
Which pastoral privilege are you most looking forward to? Receiving his word and sharing it with others.
Favourite leisure activity: Beekeeping
FAMILY: Wife Altamira and children Passion, Alex and August
HOME CONGREGATION: St Paul’s Lutheran Church Glenelg SA
ASSIGNED TO: Gladstone/Rockhampton Parish Qld
Who were the most influential people in your life growing up? My Mum and Dad, living the faith; powerful mentors, such as Roger Brewer, Hans Christianson, Arnaldo Santiago, Wayne Schuller and Ben Soderlund.
Who are the most influential now? Pastors Tim Ebbs, Stephen Pietsch, Andrew Pfeiffer, Fraser Pearce, Tom Pietsch, Joshua Pfeiffer and many more.
Before ALC: I worked full-time as a youth minister in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.
Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? Rev Chaplain Andrew Grills when I was serving in the Australian Defence Force. I completed my Bachelor of Theology, moving into youth ministry. I came to ALC because I was convicted and convinced in the confession of the Lutheran Church as in the Book of Concord.
Most relied upon Bible verse: John 1:14: ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’. To save man, God became a man. The incarnation is such a glorious mystery, it has me bewildered and yet thankful every day.
The most important thing to know about God is … that the good news of his Son’s life, death and resurrection is for you.
Which pastoral privilege are you most looking forward to? Being entrusted to exercise the Office of the Keys – that is the ‘binding and loosing’ of sin.
Favourite leisure activity: German language and culture, learning Latin, Luther and humour studies, playing guitar, rowing/fitness, reading and collecting books, collecting church furniture, tattoos, wine and good coffee
Favourite movie: The Devil Wears Prada
If you could chat to any famous person, who would it be? Hermann Sasse. Not only was Sasse pivotal and highly influential in bringing ELCA and UELCA together in 1966, but he lived as he confessed.
FAMILY: Fiancée Jacqui Bayha
HOME CONGREGATION: St Paul’s Aboriginal Fellowship Ferryden Park, SA
ASSIGNED TO: Naracoorte-Penola Parish, SA
Who were the most influential people in your life growing up? My Nan, she was one of the only anchors in a whirlwind of an upbringing.
Who are the most influential now? Pastor Fraser Pearce, for his spiritual care and friendship.
Before ALC: I dabbled in numerous things – mostly doing short-courses and working at Woolies, before studying at Tabor College and eventually ALC.
Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? Pastor Bryce Clark introduced me to Lutheran theology and practice, and I became a baptised member of the LCA through his ministry at Ferryden Park. He modelled a life and ministry that I felt called to.
Most relied upon Bible verse: ‘Romans 8:34: ‘Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.’ For me, this sums up the gospel.
The most important thing to know about God is … his covenant promises are not contingent upon our participation but on Christ and his participation on our behalf to his Father.
Which pastoral privilege are you most looking forward to? Being the bearer of the Lord’s word, gifts and promises. Serving the holy things of God to the people of God. Being a ‘lamp upon a hill’ with the people of the parish.
Favourite leisure activity: I love playing footy and hope to find a team in the local area that don’t mind having an unfit pastor in the side!
Favourite movie: Rush Hour films and Shutter Island
If you could chat to any famous person, who would it be? Michael Jackson – there is no-one in the modern era who is more mysterious and interesting.
FAMILY: Mum, dad, two sisters, one brother
HOME CONGREGATION: St Peters Indooroopilly Qld
ASSIGNED TO: Gympie Qld
Who were the most influential people in your life growing up? My family. They taught me how to be me and supported me through good and bad times.
Who are the most influential now? My family hold me accountable, celebrate with me and point me to God in a crisis. One of my best friends, Ben Lyons, is a youth worker and his love for ministry, care for people and dedication to Christ’s work inspire me.
Before ALC: I did hospitality management at TAFE. I love to cook and wanted to own my own restaurant or café.
Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? Pastor Athol Pukallus supported me at school, telling me even then that I could be a pastor. Pastor Paul Smith taught me so much about God, Jesus and the Bible, and also has supported me through my journey.
Most relied upon Bible verse: John 12:47. It says, ‘for those that hear my words but do not understand them, I do not judge them for I did not come to the world to judge it but to save it’. This verse says Jesus came as a saviour and he doesn’t leave that up to us broken people.
The most important thing to know about God is … that he loves you so much he came down from heaven, suffered and died so that you can have eternal life.
Which pastoral privilege are you most looking forward to? Sharing the gospel with people.
Favourite leisure activity: I love to cook and bake. I hope to be able to cook for people in my ministry.
Favourite movie: Kung Fu Panda. It has a great message that people are special, but not because of anything they do. And to add my own thought to it, they are special because they are made as children of God.
If you could chat to any famous person, who would it be? Pavarotti. It would be amazing to hear what it was like singing in operas and learning that amazing music.
LEE VAN ROSSEN
FAMILY: Wife Sonja and daughter Malia
HOME CONGREGATION: St Paul Lutheran Church Glenelg SA
ASSIGNED TO: Whyalla Lutheran Parish (Whyalla, Pt Augusta, Wilmington)
Who were the most influential people in your life growing up? My missionary parents raised me in the faith, and daily demonstrated Christian living. They showed me God’s incredible faithfulness as he provided for all of our needs.
Who are the most influential now? My incredible wife and daughter. Sonja encourages and challenges me, regularly surprising me with her insight and wisdom, and Malia teaches me patience, gentleness, and self-control!
Before ALC: I was co-manager of the parts department at Paech Motors in Oakbank, SA. I had my finger in many pies – sales, parts, service and admin – and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Who or what encouraged you towards pastoral studies? My beloved Nanna gave me a gentle push toward full-time Bible study, and that study led toward joining not only the pastoral stream, but the Lutheran Church itself!
Most relied upon Bible verse: Isaiah 43:1b–4a. In all circumstances God promises to be with us but, even more, he is faithful because he loves us: ‘You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you.’
The most important thing to know about God is … the free gift of salvation from sin that Jesus Christ lovingly won for us by his innocent suffering and death on the cross!
Which pastoral privilege are you most looking forward to? Getting to know the people of my parish – hearing their stories, sharing their joys and grief, studying God’s word together, walking alongside and supporting them.
Favourite leisure activity: Video games
Favourite movie: Picking a single favourite is difficult but the first that comes to mind is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
If you could chat to any famous person, who would it be? My favourite stand-up comedian, Gabriel Iglesias, just for a good laugh!
Unfortunately Pastor Paul Calnan, who will be serving at Holy Cross Murray Bridge SA, did not provide his answers by deadline.