Members of Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA) have donated almost $300,000 over the past three years to support church projects both in Australia and overseas.
Through these gifts of love and service, birthing gifts have been sent to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and support has been given to Aboriginal ministries in North Queensland, South Australia and Central Australia, while much-needed funds have gone to Bible translation, vulnerable children in Asia, and to other LCA International Mission and Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) projects around the world. Pastoral ministry students at Australian Lutheran College have also been assisted with emergency funds, and overseas students have been given financial support.
Projects benefitting from the fundraising total of approximately $295,000 were highlighted at LWA’s General Convention in Sydney from 30 September to 2 October, which was held preceding the LCA’s General Synod. A further $10,753 was given in convention offerings.
Women from all over Australia met under the banner of the LCA Synod theme of faith freedom future, with the added element of hope. The symbol of the anchor in the LWA Convention logo was used to represent attendees being secured to the unswerving word of God, with Jesus as our hope (Hebrews 10:23). The agenda included worship and Bible studies led by Pastor Stan Rudowski and Pastor Michael Jarick, business sessions, devotions and guest speakers.
On ‘faith’, Aileen Huf of Port Macquarie shared her family’s story about being stranded for 26 hours on an upturned boat off the New South Wales coast from New Year’s Eve 2003 to New Year’s Day 2004. She recounted the miracles of their survival, their knowledge God was with them, and their winching to safety by sea rescue helicopters named Angel 1, Angel 2 and Angel 3.
Hanna Schulz from Wycliffe Bible Translators spoke to Convention about ‘freedom’, through the work she does in PNG. She shared her joy at ‘working in God’s vineyard’ with the Kope and Anigibi people of PNG’s Gulf Province, sharing the gospel and working with local teams on translating the book of Luke.
Grow Ministries’ Rachel Schilling covered the topic ‘future’, sharing with LWA members about the four keys of faith practices. These are caring conversations, devotions, serving and rituals and traditions.
Accredited Israeli Tour guide and Global Tour Manager Gale Mashiach was guest speaker at the LWA Convention dinner, covering the final theme topic with her talk on Living in hope – life as a woman in Israel today.
Other speakers included Joy Wurst (Lutherans for Life), Anne Hanson (Lutheran Tract Mission), Pastor Richard Fox and Celia Fielke (Lutheran Media), Rachel Kuchel (Lutheran Archives), Wayne Bevan (Finke River Mission), Andrew Waldhuter (LLL), Jonathon Krause (ALWS), and Glenice Hartwich, Erin Kerber and Nevin Nitschke (LCA International Mission).
Wendy Habel, from Hawkesdale congregation in Victoria, was elected as LWA President for the next three years. It is general LWA practice to elect an executive based in the district which will host the following General Convention. The remaining committee members elected were Irma Dymke (Grovedale – Vice-President), Irene Geer (Tabor – Treasurer), Linda Niewand (Horsham – Secretary) and Leonie Hateley (Horsham – Extra Member).
with reporting by Marilyn Jonas