There is confidence the newly formed Mallee Lutheran Parish will strengthen the mission of local congregations and open up new opportunities to show God’s love in the region.
After two years of conversations between 10 congregations, the new parish held its first worship service at St John’s Lutheran Church, Lameroo, in October. The congregations that have been brought together are Tintinara, Coonalpyn, Meningie, Tailem Bend, Karoonda, Buccleuch, Lameroo, Pinnaroo, Murrayville and Walpeup.
At its inaugural meeting, Ken Schutz was elected as the new parish chairperson. He said he realised how much the formation meant to people when he attended the celebratory service in October.
“I was sitting in one of the side pews, and as I watched the church fill up, it really struck me how big this amalgamation really is,” Ken said.
“There has been challenges to form the Mallee parish, but God has guided us through them and will continue to guide us.
“The main aim is to have a stable ministry for the communities within the Mallee parish, and from 1 January 2019, I believe this will happen.”
Conversations to form the new parish began when resources began to decline across the churches in the region. Many wanted to explore how they could continue to minister God’s word in the Mallee and keep as many doors open. A steering committee was established and this received support from the SA-NT District Office.
Tracey Woidt was part of the steering committee and has been elected as the new parish secretary. She said congregations will be able to support each other more closely now.
“We will be able to share the gifts and talents of our members to all congregations,” Tracey said. “We will be able to fellowship regularly with other people in our parish. I am looking forward to the new ideas that come with a group of people with one heart and one vision for Christ.”
Pastors Dan Rooney and Peter Heintze are currently serving the Mallee parish, which has also called a third pastor. Pastor Dan said that while conversations were largely positive throughout the process, as with any change, there were some challenges.
“What we have endeavoured to do is create a sustainable parish model, so that Christ can remain in the centre of our lives, both for us and our communities,” Pastor Dan said.
“This means that some people are going to be challenged in its acceptance, but with that comes new opportunities and possibilities in our going out and growing. We believe that we are in a stronger position with all our shared resources to encourage one another, enliven our mission and show Christ’s light into our communities.”
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