National Magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia

Blessed to be a blessing … together

May 2019

by Neville Otto

I’m very blessed. In so many ways, as a parish pastor in the Lutheran Church of Australia, I am – and I feel – very blessed.

I was blessed last October to be at the LCA’s General Convention as Secretary of the Church and hear a proposal by my sister in Christ, Shona Reid, with South Australia-Northern Territory District Bishop David Altus, for our church to support the preparation of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). It was a great joy and privilege.

Synod approved the proposal and though I write from Melbourne where I now live, I remain part of the LCA’s RAP Project Team.

Our Bishop John Henderson has encouraged us to grow together as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Lutherans. We pondered how best to do this, recognising the strong communities and the relationships that already exist in places such as Central Australia, Cape York in Queensland, and on South Australia’s West Coast.

After some searching, and guidance from wise, caring people, we learnt more about Reconciliation Australia and RAPs. The preparation of a RAP is designed to help us to:
• Raise awareness of the good and long relationships already in existence and help us listen even more intently and widely
• Help us plan together
• Help us to commit to the plan and follow through
• Help us stay healthily accountable to what we plan.

After Synod, our project team attended a National Reconciliation Action Plan conference in Melbourne.

The RAP we will produce will be true to who we are as Lutheran Christians and also help us in our responsibilities and witness in the communities in which we are set.

We pray that our Lord will guide us as we walk together and witness to Christ in this work. Blessed to be a blessing … that’s you and me … that’s us together.

Neville Otto is Senior Pastor at St Paul’s Box Hill, in Victoria, and chair of the RAP Project Team.