Pastor Matt Anker will take on the Lutheran Church of Australia’s senior international mission role as the next Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission.
Pastor Matt, who has been pastor for Victoria’s Goulburn Murray Parish since 2007, will succeed Mrs Glenice Hartwich, who is retiring from the role. He will begin a transition into the role and out of his current call on 6 August.
Glenice has served in international mission roles for the LCA for the past 12 years and was Interim Mission Director and Program Officer from early 2015 and Assistant to the Bishop since February 2016. She will finish in the role on 23 November 2018.
The first lay person and the first woman to be appointed to the church’s lead international mission position, Glenice represented the LCA bishop in working with partner churches in South-East Asia. LCA International Mission Program Officers Erin Kerber and Nevin Nitschke will continue in their roles to work with Pastor Matt.
Glenice said working with fellow followers of Jesus in South-East Asia had been a ‘great joy’.
‘I have had the privilege to hear and see firsthand the brothers and sisters in our overseas partner churches, living out their faith in often difficult situations’, she said in her final editorial in the latest LCA International Mission publication Border Crossings. The 16-page magazine is included with this edition of The Lutheran.
‘When you pray for the mission of the LCA or make your regular weekly offerings, these actions have eternal consequences. What a joy it will be, when you and I will join with these people from all tribes and nations around the throne of God.
‘My prayer is that we will also have the joy of receiving what our international partners have to teach us. We have so much to learn from our partners in the gospel.’
Pastor Matt, who has been heavily involved with cross-cultural ministry with African communities in Shepparton, said he was most looking forward to ‘building relationships with our partner churches and to supporting our gospel partnerships with these brothers and sisters’.
‘I’m also looking forward to building on the wonderful work of those who’ve gone before me, especially Glenice Hartwich, and to growing in my understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing Christians across South-East Asia, so that I can better serve and support our partners in getting the good news out’, he said.
‘There is so much to learn and I thank God for the patience and support that have already been afforded me. In taking up the call I also hope that my cross-cultural experience will help negotiate new friendships more easily and I pray that my passion for mission, love of our Lutheran Confessions and longing for all people to know the freedom and peace of the gospel would serve me well in this role.’
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