Lutheran congregations in Australia with primary and secondary schools face "a glorious opportunity" for growth and witness, says the church's president, Lance G. Steicke.
During a visit to the ELCA offices in Chicago, Steicke said the Lutheran Church of Australia has traditionally thought of schools as nurture of its members. Now the church sees them as a "mission field that we really hadn't tapped."
About 70 of the 400 parishes in the LCA have primary schools and 18 have secondary schools, Steicke said. A church statement titled "Schools in Mission" speaks of students, faculty, parents and families as the "whole world of the school."
Steicke said the LCA has 7,000 members among the aboriginal people and 12 aboriginal pastors. The church also is focusing on a " refresher course" of Luther's catechism for use in congregations.
The LCA is the only associate member church of the Lutheran World Federation. "I am seriously committed to LWF membership," Steicke said, "so I ignore the 'associate' label and function as a full member. We contribute to the LWF, send representatives to seminars and workshops and cooperate with our Asian church neighbors."The LCA is the result of a 1966 merger of two Lutheran bodies; one was an LWF member with European roots, while the other was a non-member with Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod roots.
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