The offering from this year’s LCANZ Convention of General Synod in-person meetings is contributing more than $30,000 towards a Finke River Mission (FRM) project producing, revising or reprinting Lutheran song and hymnbooks in Central Australian Aboriginal languages.
And on Sunday 14 May, the fruit of these gifts was celebrated when the new Alyawarr Hymnal was dedicated at Alice Springs Lutheran Church by Pastor Frank Turner and Alyawarr linguist David Moore.
About 200 people attended the service which also included the installation of Pastor Ben Pfeiffer to the congregation and the farewell of Pastor Michael and Hanne Jacobsen. The Jacobsens are returning to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria (ELCB) after serving FRM for the past six years. We thank Michael and Hanne for their service, and Mission One World of the ELCB for supporting them financially. Michael worked as a pastoral support worker with Alyawarr-speaking Lutherans and Hanne worked at Yirara College while they lived in Central Australia.
Volunteers and FRM staff have been working on reprints of worship songbooks in the Pitjantjatjara and Western Arrarnta languages, while the Alyawarr-language hymnal is a new resource. In addition, a revision of the Pintubi-Luritja language worship resource is also underway.
All of the hymnals include liturgies and prayers, rites for pastoral care, catechism resources, as well as hymns and songs. The preface to the Pitjantjatjara Lutheran Hymnal documents the history of earlier Indigenous worship resources, including the production of the first Arrarnta hymnal in 1891 that contained Bible stories, prayers, psalms and 53 hymns.
As well as offerings collected at the Melbourne Convention in February, LCANZ congregations donated to the Synod offering via the LLL. A total of $34,098.66 was raised for the hymnbook project.
Pastor Rob Borgas is an FRM board member and former FRM Support Worker who has been working on the hymnbook project.