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3 February, 2015

A new year ....

Welcome to Australian Lutheran College’s (ALC) first eNews for 2015. I pray that your Christmas celebrations were a time for rejuvenation.

This is the season for resolutions, new and renewed goals, and hopefulness for the year that is ahead. It’s just like that at ALC as we wait for the start of our teaching year. We are looking forward to connecting and reconnecting with our students – our companion learners. 

During this year we will be reviewing our strategic plan.  This will be our opportunity to listen intently to what the LCA is asking from us and imaginatively consider how we might meet those needs. It will also be an opportunity for us to use and develop the rich resources that are available at ALC to serve and enrich the LCA. 

As we consider ALC’s future directions one of our primary concerns is: how will we support and enhance the vital mission and ministry that happens in and through the congregations, schools, aged and community care, international partners and other agencies of the LCA?

If you have some ideas, we would love to hear them.  Write to me or email me at principal@alc.edu.au. Above all, please pray that God will continue to direct and guide us.

I hope that you feel encouraged and a little challenged as you read this eNews. Throughout 2014 God blessed ALC time and time again, and now we confidently wait to serve God and the Church in 2015.

We are born learners for life


“Education is the kindling of a flame,
not the filling of a vessel.”


What did you learn today?  What did you learn yesterday?  What might you learn tomorrow?

You would have enjoyed meeting Norm.  He was my father-in-law.  He was a marine engineer by profession but his rich life’s stories extended way beyond that. While he was good at it, marine engineering never set the boundaries to his curiosities.  Norm didn’t live to work, he worked to live so that he could pursue his many and diverse passions.  His interests were captivated by many things.  He was a man provoked by his own curiosity, he was a lifelong learner.

As a child born in the shadow of the depression, Norm had learned many skills and built a repertoire of general and technical knowledge from a young age.  As a learner Norm was also a researcher. If he didn’t know the answer to something rather than leave his curiosity unsatisfied, he worked at an answer, a solution.  More importantly he worked at his own answers and solutions, rather than relying on someone else’s.  Norm’s learning was his own, and his learning values could best be summarised by this quotation from Albert Einstein: “It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”

Norm worked out his own answers.  He was an interesting guy and his opinions were worth listening to as I also worked at my own answers…or should have.

Australian Lutheran College (ALC) provides tertiary level education to participate in and support the mission and ministry of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA), as well as the wider Christian church.  Wherever the LCA is in partnership with other Christian communities we are often there too.  Together with the LCA, ALC is a community who grows and goes. 

In this eNews I want to throw out a challenge, and it’s a challenge exemplified in Norm’s life.  My challenge is to build spiritual maturity and capacity through lifelong learning. 

Do we value lifelong learning?  Do we value lifelong learning in respect of our personal faith journeys?  Do we value lifelong learning in respect of our shared faith journeys?

These questions are important.  A community who is actively engaged in its own lifelong, faith based learning will be able to:

  • Confidently manage its decision making even around the most difficult of conundrums as it builds its own spiritual and theological capacity, motivation and resilience to setbacks;
  • Practise and pass on learning values (which include rigorous questioning) to other people, but most importantly to its children, and so build for its own future;
  • Raise up dependable leaders who will also demonstrate a life active in continuous learning and growth (When was the last time that your congregation asked your pastor about his professional development or learning plan?) 

Just like Norm, we need to value our own learning, work out our own answers and not rely upon someone else’s.  As Socrates reminded us at the opening to this article, that’s what learning is.  It doesn’t mean that we ignore the learning of other people.  Instead, we use and build upon their learning as we arrive at our own understandings.  To be honest, it’s something that every one of us has done from birth.   

I am concerned that ALC is underutilized by the people of the LCA.  We have amazing resources for you to use.  From our library through to our teaching staff and our diverse range of learning opportunities and courses we are able to support your own lifelong learning.  It’s there for your asking.  So please ask.  That’s my challenge to you.

Celebrate and maybe even rekindle what was yours from birth:

  • Curiosity about creation and who you are within it;
  • Courage to take risks, explore your questions and develop your responses;
  • Commitment to your own precious journey as a lifelong learner. 

We are all born learners.  Learning happens together.  ALC wants to partner with you in your own learning.   
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
   that I may walk in your truth;
   give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

                                                                       Psalm 86:11 NRSV

Pastor James Winderlich

End of academic year celebrations

ALC Acadmic Staff at 2014 Graduation

ALC academic staff pictured at the 2014 graduation ceremony

Back row L to R: Dr Stephen Haar, Rev James Winderlich, Dr Stephen Hultgren, Dr Peter Lockwood, Rev Linards Jansons, Dr Andrew Pfeiffer, Dr Jeff Silcock
Front row L to R: Mrs Tania Nelson, Mrs Ruth Zimmermann, Dr Stephen Pietsch, Dr Merryn Ruwoldt, Dr Dean Zweck

Several major events concluded the 2014 academic programme at ALC.

On Friday, 21 November we celebrated our Valedictory service at Zion Lutheran Church, Glynde. In addition to farewelling our final year students, this was an opportunity to recognise the achievements of our VET students who completed the Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology and also to recognise and present Vocational Certificates to those students who successfully completed the formational aspects of their course.

The majority of these students will now take up or resume their service in and through the LCA. This service includes parish workers, teachers and pastors. But not everyone fits into such neat categories. Other people studied with us for their own nourishment and growth in faith; as a response to their own curiosity. While yet others have used their time with us to equip themselves to serve in their local congregations as leaders and volunteers. Not everyone who studies at ALC is looking for paid employment. 

Flowing on from our Valedictory, a similar celebration was held for our Queensland students. The event was hosted by Living Faith congregation, Murrumba Downs during their regular worship service on Sunday, 30 November.

Seven out of a cohort of 16 undergraduates who completed the Lutheran Strand in Queensland in 2014 attended and were presented their Vocational Certificates by their own ALC teacher, Pastor Andrew Jaensch. This event was also attended by the Director of Lutheran Education Australia, Stephen Rudolph, who made a special presentation to each participant. 

Friday, 5 December saw a first for ALC. The University of Divinity held its first graduation event outside of Melbourne. ALC is one of the ten theological colleges who together form the University of Divinity, and it was a thrill to be able to offer our students the opportunity to attend an Adelaide based celebration. The venue chosen for the event was Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide, where approximately half of the students eligible for graduation attended in order to receive their diplomas and degrees. 

Dr Deidre Palmer, Moderator of the Uniting Church in South Australia, gave the academic address, drawing upon her background in education to inspire and challenge our graduates as both learners and teachers in their respective fields. 

The Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Divinity were very impressed with the event and they look forward to making this an annual event in Adelaide.

Many thanks to the Glynde, Bethlehem and Living Faith congregations for hosting our special celebrations.

Graduations and Valedictories are important events. They recognise and acknowledge the hard work and earned outcomes for both students and their teachers. More importantly, however, they celebrate the many learning experiences shared across the whole of our academic community. Our teaching staff will tell you that they learn just as much while leading their course as their students do. There’s a richness to that, a richness that is available to anyone within the LCA and beyond.

We give thanks to God for the academic year that was 2014. Please pray for our graduates, that they will continue in their journeys as learners. Pray for our teachers that they will continue to share the excitement and rich rewards of being learners with their students. Pray for our support staff who are very much a part of the rich learning environment of ALC. 

As we begin a new academic year, pray for our church that we will continue to be a community where the God who wants to be known is known in Jesus Christ.

Recipients of the Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology who attended the Valedictory Service.

L to R: Lisa Brow, Hannah Lack and Eileen Annandale

Lutheran Strand students who attended the Valedictory Service pictured with staff from ALC's School of Educational Theology.

Back row L to R: Stephanie Nelson, Joshua Schapel, Elke Cunningham, Tennyson Jaensch, Amelia Spry, Thalia Wesselingh, Katie Woodfield Middle Row: Rev Andrew Jaensch, Asher Rohde, Karna Stone-Phillips, Morgan Brookes, Natalie Nowak, Naomi Ridley, Dr Merryn Ruwoldt

Front row L to R: Mrs Ruth Zimmermann, Siobhan Barwick, Lauren Bone, Abby Zimmermann, Ashlee Ferguson, Ms Natalie Weir

Final year pastoral students attending the Valedictory Service.

L to R: Mark Gierus, Nicholas Kitchen, Graham Pfeffer, Jason Pokela, Anthony Castle. (absent: Jaswanth Kukatlapalli)

Queensland Lutheran Strand students who attended the celebration at Living Faith congregation.

Back row L to R: Amelia Taylor, Jordana Raines, Tahlia Henshall

Front row L to R: Rev Andrew Jaensch (lecturer),Jessica Brook, Jessica MacArthur, Liza Page, Alicia Bonelli

Upcoming events

Toolkit for Ministry Workshop - SA 
Date: 9-10 February
Venue: Australian Lutheran College

Registrations now open

Building Healthy Relationships Workshop - SA 
Date: 11-12 February
Venue: Australian Lutheran College

Registrations now open

Opening Service and Lecture - SA
Date: 23 February 2015
Venue: Australian Lutheran College

The college will commence the new academic year with worship in the chapel at 9am, followed by the Opening Lecture, presented by Rev Dr Stephen Hultgren in the Refectory at 9.30am.

The lecture being presented is entitled: ‘Revisiting the Third Use of the Law. The topic of the third use of the law – whether the law has a place in guiding Christians who live in the power of the Holy Spirit – has had a long and contentious history in Lutheranism.

The lecture will take up the question, unearthing the roots of the debate, exploring biblical dimensions, and offering a contemporary restatement of the doctrine, particularly in view of challenges regarding law and freedom today.’

All are welcome to attend.

Toolkit for Ministry Workshop - Qld 
Date: 24-25 February
St Johns Lutheran Church, Ipswich

Registrations now open

Spiritual Resilience Workshop - Qld
Date: 27 February - 1 March
Venue: St Johns Lutheran Church, Ipswich

Registrations now open

Spiritual Resilience Workshop - Vic
Date: 4-5 March
Venue: St Pauls Lutheran Church, Box Hill

Registrations now open

Equipping for Leadership Workshop - Vic
Date: 6-7 March
Venue: St Pauls Lutheran Church, Box Hill

Registrations now open

Australian Lutheran College
104 Jeffcott Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
P: +61 (0)8 8267 7400
E: alc@alc.edu.au
W: www.alc.edu.au