About 170,000 Australians identify as Lutherans and a large percentage of them reside in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Though we are a relatively small Christian denomination in Australia, the Lutheran Church is largest Protestant church in the world with over 70 million members.
As Lutherans, we believe that we are saved 'by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith'. In other words, there is nothing we can do to earn God's favour or to gain eternal life. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has won all this and more for us. We also believe that only the Bible is the source of inspiration and teaching.
Lutherans have been in Australia for over 175 years. The first Lutherans to arrive were German emigrants from Prussia, who were escaping religious persecution. It wasn’t long before these emigrants established the Lutheran Church in South Australia in 1838. Though this persecution ceased in the mid-1840s, many more Germans followed and established settlements at Klemzig, Hahndorf, Lobethal and in the Barossa Valley.
In 1877, missionaries arrived at Hermannsburg in Central Australia to work with local Indigenous communities. They worked hard to preserve Aboriginal culture and the languages, while also protecting the people from many threats that existed at the time. Today those missionaries are honoured by Aboriginal Lutherans for the respect, dignity and care they showed.
Today, the Lutheran Church of Australia, South Australia – Northern Territory District, is culturally rich and diverse. This is not only present in our congregations and parishes, but in our schools and aged-care facilities as well. About 10,000 regular worshippers gather in our churches each week, stretching from Kangaroo Island to Darwin.