‘Mutual support and encouragement’ were the hallmarks of a recent national gathering of 100 principals and senior leaders of Australia’s Lutheran schools at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.
That was the view of Pastor Stephen Schultz, who served as chaplain for the four-day National Lutheran Principal Conference held under the theme ‘Embracing the Past. Inspiring our Future’.
Initially planned for 2020 but twice postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the conference organised by Lutheran Principals Australia was an important opportunity for the Lutheran school leaders to ‘come together for some time away from the daily challenges they face’, said Pastor Stephen, who is also the LCA SA–NT District’s Assistant Bishop for Mission.
‘We have all felt the impact of dealing with COVID but the leaders of our educational communities have had significant challenges to face during this time’, he said. ‘It was wonderful to see the mutual support and encouragement that was evident throughout the conference.’
Along with worship, devotional times, networking opportunities and leisure activities, the conference program included presentations from speakers including author, social researcher and futurist Michael McQueen, award-winning clinical psychologist Dr Tom Nehmy, and retired Lutheran educators Dr Roger Hunter, Ruth Butler, Ev Leske and Loyd Fyffe.
Pastor Stephen said spending time with these leaders of Lutheran educational communities was the greatest blessing for him and he encouraged members of the LCANZ to give thanks and pray for them. ‘The church is experiencing decline at this time as our society transitions from a “Christian” culture to a “post-Christian” one. That means the harvest is plentiful’, he said. ‘Our schools and other education communities are right in the heart of that harvest.
‘I was inspired to hear the countless stories of how our Lutheran educators, principals and leaders are engaging their communities with the gospel. They are bearing witness in so many powerful and practical ways to the love of Jesus for all people.
‘I came away thankful for the opportunity to spend time with these amazing leaders and determined to encourage and support them in their challenging role.’