New Lutheran church opened at Imanpa

Imanpa is a community of about 1200 people about 270km south-west of Alice Springs on the Lasseter Highway.

Church services have been held in the vicinity on cattle station from Angus Downs to Henbury Station for almost 100 years since ‘Blind’ Moses Tjalkabota made his first evangelising journey to the Pertame (Southern Arrarnta) speaking people at Henbury in 1918. Churches have been built here in the past on Angus Downs and Erldunda cattle stations, but later dismantled and reassembled in other areas like Maryvale as the people moved for various reasons.

Imanpa community was established in 1978, after an excision of land was made from Mount Ebenezer cattle station to make a home for the station’s stockmen and their families. Church services have been held regularly at Imanpa since the 1970s by various Indigenous pastors and evangelists and also Finke River Mission (FRM) support workers; often held outside in the past, but more recently in the local women’s centre.

After seeking funds and planning for many years, a new Lutheran church at Imanpa was finally opened in the name of the Triune God on Sunday 22 October 2017 by Pastor Robert Borgas. Rover Pumpjack cut the ribbon to open the church. A memorial plaque for his father (an evangelist at Imanpa for many years) was then unveiled by two granddaughters (Kathleen and Cynthia), and finally all the great-grandchildren carried the processional cross into the church.

Imanpa working group member, Tanya Luckey said: ‘We wanted a place to hear the word of God … Old people have been asking for a church building for many years now because they knew that it would help strengthen and unite the community’.

FRM truly thanks the past members of Kimba Lutheran Church for donating seating for the new church, and especially Keith and Kay Braendler who freely delivered sacred furniture donated all the way from St Paul’s Lutheran church in Naracoorte. Woodside Lutheran church also donated $1000 for new Pitjantjatjara hymnbooks, Bibles, children’s Bibles, and literacy materials to help Imanpa people read Pitjantjatjara so they can lead worship in their own language, in their own church. In the words of Maria Coulthard, ‘We will use the new church at Imanpa to help us teach our kids Christian stories in their own language’.