News Archive

Servants of Christ 2010
18 January 2011

Mrs Hannelore (Hanno) Lina Kemeny and Dr Robert Pollnitz were honoured as Servants of Christ at the Australian Lutheran College graduation service at Concordia College on Saturday 27 November 2010.

Mrs Hanno Kemeny & Dr Robert Pollnitz

LCA President Rev’d Dr Michael Semmler said, ‘We commend you for the encouragement you provide to all in whatever calling and station in life they find themselves.’

Hanno was nominated for the award by the Western Australian District Church Council for her long and faithful service within St John’s Lutheran Church in Perth, at the Western Australian District of the LCA, especially its aged care ministry, and as loyal support to her late husband, Pastor Peter Kemeny.

Born in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1925, Hanno and her husband Pastor Peter George Kemeny of Hungary came to Australia in 1950 as sponsored post-war migrants. After a brief period in the Northam Army Camp, Hanno and Peter settled in Perth in 1951. They have two children, Ann and Thomas.

On behalf of the Honours Committee, Dr Meryl Jennings read the citation, which outlined Hanno’s extensive work with the St John’s Women’s Guild, the St John’s Church Council, as secretary of the St John’s Church redevelopment committee and role as the inaugural President of Lutheran Women of Western Australia.

Mrs Hanno Kemeny receives her award from Rev John Henderson

Mrs Hanno Kemeny address the assembly

Mrs Hanno Kemeny receives her award from Rev John Henderson and addresses the assembly

‘Hanno’s husband Peter taught English at Perth’s Institute of Technology and conducted an itinerant ministry for more than 30 years among the Hungarians in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide,’ said Dr Jennings.

‘When he assumed pastoral responsibility for the members of the German congregation at St John’s in 1968, Hanno took on an active support role, checking her husband’s sermons and providing friendship and hospitality for the worshippers.

‘After her husband’s death in 1989 Hanno dug into her husband’s archives for his German sermons, already typed, to be read by lay-readers. This she did for 12 years, until Pastor Julian Bayha assumed the ministry to the Germans in 2000.

‘Hanno devoted heart and soul to her tasks within St John’s and the WA District. She was a founding member of Lutheran Homes (WA) Incorporated, receiving the first life membership, in 1975. She insisted that the Homes be run professionally and that the property and grounds be well maintained and attractive.

‘Above all she represents all who give themselves tirelessly to the work among migrants, those who offer their lives in service to the elderly and disadvantaged, those with a keen eye on the wider work of the church in Australia, and those who show friendship and hospitality to all who cross their path.’

Although Hanno is now frustrated by her restricted mobility, she says, ‘Even though there remains so much to be done for her Lord, I feel that God might be saying, “Take it in your stride. I am still walking beside you”’.

Dr Rob Pollnitz recieves his award

Dr Rob Pollnitz receives his medallion and gives his acceptance speech

Dr Robert Pollnitz received the Servant of Christ Award for his long and faithful service in the area of social and bioethical issues. For more than twenty years Robert has led the way for the Church in this increasingly important area.

‘Robert has made a faithful and courageous contribution in the field of Christian ethics and public responsibility in social and bio-ethical issues,’ said Dr Jennings, ‘He has sometimes been a lone voice in matters where Christians ought to speak out clearly. He has laboured faithfully to make us better informed so that as Christians we can make God-pleasing ethical decisions about our own lives, and take a stand when that is called for.’

Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) in 1966 and gained specialist letters in paediatrics in Melbourne in 1972, and has since attended no fewer than 18,000 births. He went on to do further training in England and Canada. He still enjoys some part-time medical practice.

In 1991 Robert became a member of the LCA’s Commission on Social and Bio-ethical Questions, and has been its chair since 1992, working on and presenting submissions for parliament. Robert has been involved in defeating eight euthanasia bills in South Australia thus far and is working against a current bill.

‘Robert has also been involved in Lutherans for Life since the early 1980s and still serves as a researcher and presenter on a variety of issues,’ said Dr Jennings, ‘In 1997 the SA Heads of Christian Churches Committee asked Robert to be its representative on the SA Council of Reproductive Technology, and he has served in that role since then. More recently he has become a regular contributor to The Lutheran in the area of social/bio-ethical and world issues.

‘At all times Robert has been a faithful Christian, serving his church and local congregation in a variety of ways. A member at St John’s Unley for about thirty years, he has served there in various positions, from usher to Alpha group leader, and in personal ministry to people as well. He has maintained a wide perspective in church life and been a strong witness to the Gospel in word and deed’, said Dr Jennings.

Updated: 18/01/2011 [1.00]