Cleve, in the centre of Eyre Peninsula, was the place to be on the weekend of 25-26 June, where Mission was the focus for the annual Eyre Peninsula Zone Conference.
Beginning on Saturday afternoon with a ‘Walk My Way’ event, a number of walkers trekked the 12 km return trip from Cleve Lutheran Church to Yeldulknie Weir in aid of Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) who support the weak, vulnerable and destitute in overseas countries. The weather was kind, enabling the walkers to raise enough money to educate 226 students for a year. At a dinner at the church hall that night, Julie Krause from ALWS spoke of the work that was being done overseas that Lutherans support.
Sunday dawned to another beautiful day and the Cleve Lutheran church looked resplendent to welcome more than 100 worshippers to morning service. Following a welcome cuppa and much chatter as old friends met again and new friendships were formed, Pastor Keith McNicol led Divine Service. Guest preacher for the day was Pastor Matt Anker, Assistant to the Bishop for International Mission, who preached on the Gospel of the day from Luke 24. Jesus’ Apostles were one minute filled with joy and belief and the next they were filled with doubt and fear. We are filled with the same doubts as the Apostles, and our mission to share the Good News can be overwhelming in our failure. But Jesus has freed us with forgiveness in His name – just as he did with the Apostles. Pastor Matt recounted a story of a couple in Thailand who lived a dark life of demons and great unhappiness but, on becoming baptised members of God’s family, they found freedom and joy. Sharing the message of hope and forgiveness is God’s mission and we are invited to be part of it. The day’s offering was directed to Lutheran International Mission.
The Annual Zone Conference then began, with Chairman of the Parish Anne Siviour warmly welcoming everyone in attendance and thanking the pastors and musicians involved in the service, before inviting Pastor Matt Anker back to the lectern. Pastor Matt gave an in-depth talk about the work that is Lutheran International Mission. The LCA has partnerships in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Burundi, the Philippines and Malaysia. Christianity is growing fast in these countries but not all governments are supportive of this, so our help is tempered by the laws of these lands. Our support is in scholarships, funding seminaries, translating Lutheran books, medical support and education. Navigator College is one of the Lutheran schools that visit overseas with Lutheran International Mission, and students learn a lot from the children of these countries.
After singing Grace, attendees moved to the hall to enjoy a hot lunch of soup, lasagne and salad followed by a choice of three puddings, all provided by the Cleve Parish.
A roll call opened the afternoon session, with people coming from Ceduna, Yaninee/Wudinna, Cummins, Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Cleve Parishes.
Stephen Jude, principal of Navigator College Port Lincoln, gave a brief report of the past year. Special water play areas have been built at Navigator, along with finishing of the seniors building, and shortly the Early Learning Centre will include 3 year-olds and long daycare before and after school will be offered for this age group. Navigator serves all of Eyre Peninsula and a home-stay program is available for students who come from further away.
Parish reports, Crossways Ceduna Lutheran School and Trinity Haven reports rounded out the afternoon.
In closing, Zone Pastor Phil Joppich called to the front Pastor Keith and Trudy McNicol. Pastor Keith is retiring later in the year and the Zone farewelled them with prayer and thanks for their time on the EP.
After thanking Anne Siviour and Dawn Briese for their organisation of the weekend, Pastor Keith closed with prayer and Benediction before a farewell cuppa was offered prior to the journey home.
Photo L-R: Anne Siviour (Cleve Parish Chair); Pastor Matt Anker; Julie Krause (ALWS); Pastor Keith McNicol (Cleve Parish pastor).