Pastor Matt Anker was installed in the LCA’s senior international mission role on Sunday (17 February) by Bishop John Henderson at Hamilton, Victoria.
The installation was held during the Victorian–Tasmanian District Convention of Synod at the Southern Grampians town’s Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
In the position, known as Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission, Pastor Anker will represent the bishop as he works with the LCA’s partner overseas churches. Among other duties of the role, Pastor Anker will be responsible for engaging and encouraging LCA members in their support for the church’s international mission partners.
Previously in ministry with Victoria’s Goulburn Murray Parish since 2007, Pastor Anker succeeded Mrs Glenice Hartwich, who retired late last year after 12 years in international mission roles with the LCA.
After the installation, Bishop Henderson prayed for Pastor Anker in his new role: ‘Gracious heavenly Father … Fill him with your Holy Spirit, so that he may tenderly care for your people and give freely of himself to them. Help him to proclaim the gospel clearly and lead your people boldly.’
Pastor Anker said his installation was ‘a reminder to me that it’s a call to serve on behalf of the people who have called me – the LCA’.
‘It was very special to be installed in the Victorian District where I’ve served for the past 16 years, surrounded by familiar faces and to have family present. I also appreciated the way in which Bishop John thanked the District for “gifting” me to the national church, acknowledging the interconnectedness of our ministries and life together as synod’, he said.
‘Although I can see lots of reasons why it would seem God has called me to this role, he has a habit of surprising me! Obviously there are key alignments in terms of past experience and the responsibilities associated with the role, but I look forward to discovering what God has in store for me, for the department and for our partner churches as I find my way in this role.
‘I’m overjoyed at the opportunities our partners continue to extend to the LCA to help strengthen their understanding and practice of mission and ministry that flows out of a proper understanding of law and gospel, and I see this continuing to be a key area of our work into the future.’
Also during the convention, which carried the theme of ‘Treasure in Jars of Clay’, Pastor Mat Ker was elected unopposed as the District’s Assistant Bishop for the next synodical term. The Warrnambool parish pastor had served in an interim capacity in the role since August 2018 when former Assistant Bishop Matt Anker was appointed to the international mission position.
The role of bishop was not up for election at this synod, with District Bishop Lester Priebbenow having been elected in 2016 for three synodical terms of two years each.