Record Ordination Celebrations for the LCA
18 January 2011
Over 1000 people packed the Concordia College Chapel in Highgate on 5 December 2010 to witness the ordination of eight new pastors for the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA).
Newly ordained LCA pastors – Nathan Glover, Tom Hoffmann, Josh Pfeiffer, Ben Pfeiffer, Tom Pietsch, Vaughn Spring, Murray Smith and Damien Martin – with LCA President, Dr Mike Semmler. Photo: Colin Henschke
Nathan Glover, Thomas Hoffmann, Damien Martin, Thomas Pietsch, Murray Smith and Vaughn Spring joined brothers Benjamin and Joshua Pfeiffer for the ceremony, which was also attended by all LCA district presidents.
A further two new pastors, William Frost and Christopher Janetzki, will be ordained in Toowoomba on 12 December 2010; the highest number of pastors ordained in the LCA in one year since 2000.
In his address, LCA President Rev’d Dr Michael Semmler said, ‘Gone for many is the thinking that absolute truth is available. Vows and promises are readily broken. Political leaders promise dubious deliveries. Wars are threatened. Wiki leaks are welcomed. Disillusionment pervades.
‘In an age of product recalls and broken promises the faithfulness of God to us will not be broken or recalled.
‘But it is by the grace of God that any congregation comes together to share in Word and Sacraments. The lonely, the struggling all understand the blessing of coming together as a fellowship of forgiven sinners gathered together by God in Christ.’
‘John 17:17 ‘Your Word is Truth’—is just one more claim to be, if not doubted, rejected,’ said Dr Semmler. ‘While it means so much for many of us (I hope all of us); it can be a real barrier for the age which shops for emotional lifts, majors in fragmented desires, superficiality and a smorgasbord of experiences along with entertainment and substance and chemically induced highs and reliefs.
‘What strength we have in our weakness!
‘Begin at the beginning—every age and era into which people are born is one where all are born in sin—sinful, enemies of God, actively opposing him.
‘Contrary to popular belief, this is not a time to address ‘felt needs’ as spiritual therapists, dispensing prescriptions for symptoms.
‘Your first focus is the preaching and teaching for your congregations. But it cannot stop at that point. The faithful built up with the hope and joy of what Christ has done become the bridge to a lost society and the communities in which we live and move.
‘All the tracts in the world, though they have their place, will not be as effective as the credibility of people of salt and light who live in a world which no longer looks to absolutes and considers itself let down by that which is rational.
‘Our world is not so interested in learning the way of salvation, but rather what is being done to help the homeless, understand single parents. Don’t talk to me about how to do things, show me, accept me, and give me that story.
‘Corruption and violence are our companions in the media and on the streets. Let our story be one of the Suffering Servant—the story of the Good Samaritan on another level—apply the balm where the wounds show up.
‘In whatever ages and changes you will face, the wounds will be found in different places, but they will always be wounds of sin and separation from God.
‘It is the story of a marriage hard to maintain, the story of betrayed by family and friends; it is the story of being slandered and wrongly accused; it is the story of parents grieving at the loss of the child; a terrible illness; a meaningless tragedy; it is the story of one who can no longer hold on to life—the story is not of a ‘how to fix manual’ or a ‘do it yourself’ remedy—it is the story in the face of no answers, but the spiritual gifts mercy, life, salvation, faith and hope at the manger, then the cross.’
Updated: 18/01/2011 [1.00]
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