International guests reflect diverse partnerships

The strong contingent of international guests to the 19th General Convention of Synod reflected the diverse partnerships the LCA has with Lutheran churches and bodies in other places.

Seven international representatives joined delegates and visitors in worship and in the business centre, observing the Synod in action. Three guests brought official greetings from their churches: Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church–Papua New Guinea Jack Urame, Lutheran World Federation representative Bishop Ben Chun Wa Chang and International Lutheran Council representative Rev Dr Albert Collver.

The other four guests were Rev Dr Paul Munthe, of Gereja Kristen Protestan Simalungun Indonesia; Rev Daniel Orn, from the Lutheran Church of Cambodia; and Rev Dr Franklin Ishida and Bishop Jessica Crist, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

As mementoes of their visit – made even more significant in light of Synod’s decision to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan – the guests were given a cross decorated with Indigenous designs. The crosses, variously called comfort, holding or palm crosses, were made by South Australian resident Ian Pfeiffer and individually decorated by Queensland artist Leah Kerr.

Comfort crosses are asymmetrically shaped to fit into the palm of the hand and based on an ancient design found in European chapels. They are used as an aid to meditation and prayer and a reminder of Christ’s work of salvation on the cross. A carpenter-builder, Ian has been making comfort crosses since his retirement in Adelaide.

Leah, who has lived in Hope Vale all her life, took up painting more than 10 years ago. Her work is based on traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designs, but she enjoys using a brighter palette of sea colours which she draws from her Far North Queensland coastal environment.

She began painting as a way of managing chronic pain caused by a significant childhood injury, and describes her talent as something to be treasured as ‘God’s gift to her’.

Reprinted with kind permission of The Lutheran. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.

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