On Saturday 1 October, Professional Standards officers Marilyn Wall and David Biar were picked up from Ayers Rock airport and taken 250 kilometres west, mainly on dirt roads, to Kaltukatjara to deliver the first-ever LCA Standards of Ethical Behaviour (SEB) presentation to Aboriginal pastors and church workers from Western Desert Aboriginal Lutheran communities.
The reasons for this course were not only to teach Aboriginal church leaders about LCA Professional Standards (how to respect, protect and care for each other in the church) but also to help develop future programs for Aboriginal congregations in other areas of the LCA. Both men and women from the Kaltukatjara (Docker River) congregation were taken through a number of sessions over three days and three nights to ensure the whole congregation was made aware of LCA Professional Standards.
The entire course was interpreted by Pastor Paul Traeger, so Western Desert speakers could clearly understand the content. Of particular concern to church leaders at the course was the influence that modern media is having over their young people through recently available technology:
This course is good. We worry about the bad things out there. It is good to be pointed to the Word of God to hear what that says—Pastor Hezekial Tjingoona, Mutijulu.
We worry about modern technology and how it influences our young people … We have hope and encouragement when we can talk about it … when we can read God’s word—Trevor Adamson, Docker River
In future, Marilyn and David hope to make available a translation of the LCA SEB policy document in Arandic and Western Desert languages for use in the FRM areas and also an audio version for those who cannot read. They would also like to see the LCA produce of a range of SEB banners – created by the different Aboriginal communities explaining the key points of the course content through art. These banners could be displayed in their churches and become a valuable way of teaching their congregations to follow God’s way of looking after each other in the church.
It is also hoped that similar presentations could be made at a future Aboriginal women’s bush camps in 2017 or 2018.