Mr Nick Schwarz has accepted a call and appointment to serve the LCA as Assistant to the Bishop – Public Theology.
Most recently Nick has been Assistant Director and occasional Acting Director at the Melanesian Institute for Pastoral and Socio-Cultural Service, an ecumenical research, teaching and publishing institute, based in Goroka, Papua New Guinea. LCA International Mission has partly sponsored his work in PNG since he joined the Institute’s research department in August 2009. He also has headed up the Institute’s Publications Department since January this year.
Since 2011, Nick has also served on the PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) Institutional Review Board, the ethics committee that examines medical research proposals. In 2008-2009 he served on the LCA’s Committee for Social and Bioethical Questions.
LCA Bishop John Henderson said he believed God had called Nick to the position of Assistant to the Bishop – Public Theology ‘due to his extensive experience and skills in research, education, publications and communications; his aptitude for assessing social issues within their contemporary context; his strong faith and grasp of Lutheran theology; and his heart for sharing the gospel’.
The position is a new one in the LCA, established with the support of the General Church Council.
The Assistant to the Bishop – Public Theology will promote Lutheran theology as a framework through which to assess and respond to the contemporary social environment, and will assess developments in popular thinking which impact on the church’s engagement with and place in society. It will add vitality and relevance to the thinking, speaking and actions of the LCA in relation to major issues in the contemporary world. It will also serve to resource Lutherans in Australia and New Zealand as we engage more fully and effectively with current and emerging ethical, social and moral issues.
In this role, Nick will assist the church make informed and timely statements, provide advice, and/or prepare submissions on matters of importance. He will facilitate cooperation between, and awareness among, LCA ministries which work in areas related to public theology.
Nick said he was looking forward to expanding his experience and learning in the role and that there wasn’t another job he would rather do.
‘I am so thrilled to be able to continue to work for the church and to be able to build on the knowledge and skills that I’ve developed in recent years’, he said.
‘We live as citizens and as church members in a changing world. It’s important for the church to help members to think clearly about contemporary issues from the point of view of God’s word and foundational teachings of the church.
‘I’m looking forward to working with learned, wise and Spirit-filled people within our church to produce formal statements, informal messages and study guides on a range of important issues, and to grow in my own understanding and faith at the same time as – hopefully – helping others to do the same.’