Pastor Lester Priebbenow is the new bishop of the Lutheran Church of Australia’s Victoria–Tasmania District. Bishop Priebbenow, who succeeds Pastor Greg Pietsch in the role, was installed by LCA Bishop John Henderson on Sunday 5 February.
A congregation of more than 230 people witnessed the installation service at St John’s Southgate in Melbourne, with Bishop Henderson preaching on the Gospel of the day, Matthew 5:13-16. Speaking after his election at the district’s convention in Shepparton, Victoria, last October, Pastor Priebbenow said, ‘God is a God of surprises … I would never have envisaged this as my next call. But God is also a God of provision, and when I was nominated I knew that, if elected, he would also give me what I need in order to do it.’
Bishop Priebbenow has been involved in parish ministry for 32 years, serving in New South Wales (Gilgandra–Dubbo and Walla Walla), then at Tarrington, Victoria, and Our Redeemer, North Geelong. He and wife Deidre have four married children.
Former bishop Pastor Pietsch announced in March 2016 that he would not stand for a fourth term. He served in the post for 12 years, first as president, then bishop for Victoria and Tasmania. Pastor Pietsch was also LCA Assistant Bishop from 2013 to 2015. He said his hope for the future was to serve the district through ‘short-term pastorates to help parishes or other calling bodies through change’. These ‘interim’ or ‘transitional’ ministries are usually between one and two years in duration. In this capacity, Pastor Pietsch has accepted a call to Doncaster–Ivanhoe in Victoria.