Pastor Gordon Wegener has accepted the mantle from Pastor Bob Kempe as coordinator of the Continuing Education for Pastors (CEP) program. Pastor Kempe, who announced his retirement as coordinator earlier this year, had held the role on behalf of the LCA College of Bishops since CEP’s inception in 2012.
Pastor Wegener’s appointment was announced by Pastor James Winderlich, principal of Australian Lutheran College (ALC), and Dr Chris Materne, manager of the LCA Church Worker Support Department.
‘We are excited about working with Pastor Wegener as he builds on Pastor Kempe’s solid foundation’, they said in a joint statement. ‘We are also keen to maximise engagement in the program so that pastors feel appropriately equipped to face the complexities of contemporary ministry.’
Pastor Wegener will be working within ALC. This will allow a much more direct voice into course development as well as interaction with people undertaking studies through ALC. He will also explore how the LCA HRS can streamline recording of education activities to remove some of this administrative burden from pastors.
‘Theological education and pastoral formation are lifelong processes which do not end at graduation and ordination’, Pastor Winderlich said. ‘There is no doubt that pastoral ministry is complex, but within that complexity engagement in ongoing education can lead to enhanced pastoral practice.
‘Indeed, one of the covenants in a call to service (in the LCA) is that a pastor commits to participating in continuing education and that the calling community supports him with this. There is a recognition that continuing education is an integral part of the pastor’s vocation, not just something that is nice to do.’
Pastor Winderlich and Dr Materne acknowledged the foundational CEP work of Pastor Kempe.
‘He reshaped and developed this program and established a process for recording continuing education that pastors undertake’, Dr Materne said. ‘His service to the College of Bishops and the LCA pastorate has been a great blessing to the church and all its members.
‘We wish him a blessed retirement and express our deepest gratitude to him for his long-term faithful service in this role.’
ALC and the Church Worker Support Department are working together to continue to develop and equip ‘a vibrant and engaged community of lifelong learners in and around ALC and across the LCA’ so that they might be a blessing to the LCA and its communities.
‘Continuing education is not to be undertaken for its own sake’, Pastor Winderlich said, ‘but rather it helps us proclaim the word and be salt and light in this broken world.’