The strong voice which rings out during worship each Sunday at a tiny brick church in bustling inner Brisbane springs from a surprising source.
Ninety-eight-year-old Isobel Eisenmenger sings with vigour belying her years. The petite nonagenarian remains a vibrant matriarch of the Nazareth Lutheran congregation, Woolloongabba, which she has served for most of her adult life.
The historic church, built from recycled bricks in 1896, is the place where she met her late husband, Alfred, at the Young People’s Society. It was where she became the congregation’s first woman president in the late 1970s. And it was there that she spent a decade as matron/manager of its senior citizens’ hostel.
Always strong and community-minded, Isobel has been a mentor and matriarch to many, whether knowingly or not.
‘Nazareth has a special place in my heart’, Isobel says. ‘It’s where everything has happened.’
Now as she approaches her 99th birthday on 31 July, Isobel says she has always felt very privileged to have been able to serve in her various roles over the decades.
‘I feel I’ve been very richly blessed’, she says. ‘I have had everything that I need … and it’s a blessing to give back to my community. God has absolutely blessed me all through my life. I have gotten through everything with flying colours because of him.’
Her reflections of God’s grace to her shine through in her favourite hymn: ‘Jesus lover of my soul’, written by Charles Wesley. ‘It just seems to fit me because he has been so good to me’, she says.
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