Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) was formed 70 years ago so that our Lutheran family could walk alongside people in need.
At the end of World War II, an exodus began from Europe in which more than 300,000 people came to Bonegilla Migrant Centre in Victoria. Many were Lutherans, so the pastor in Albury, Rev Bruno Muetzelfeldt, began visiting Bonegilla.
In 1950 the Lutheran church’s aid agency was born – Lutheran World Service-Australia (LWS-A). By 1955 the Lutheran team had helped resettle 2350 refugees.
When the LCA was established in 1966, it was agreed that LWS-A would be its channel for overseas aid.
In 1971 the LWS-A office moved to Albury and support increasingly shifted to aid and development around the world, with a focus on refugees. This continues today, with ALWS supporting work in refugee camps where nearly 1.5 million people live.
LWS-A would later become an Australian organisation and in 1991 ALWS became the aid and resettlement agency of the LCA.
In 1995 ALWS began creating resources for teachers – used by more than 70 per cent of Lutheran schools across Australia today.
In the past 20 years significant steps have included support for Indonesia after the Boxing Day tsunami, in partnership with Lutheran Education Australia, LCA International Mission and the LLL; the first Gifts of Grace catalogue; the first Walk My Way, and the GRACE Project.
Today our church through ALWS works in 11 countries. Last year the ALWS family helped 297,498 people with the same spirit of service as Pastor Bruno 70 years ago. Walking alongside people. Side by side, every step of the way.
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