On Sunday 15 November, Neville Doecke was installed as Pastoral Support Worker for the Western Arrarnta communities of Central Australia.
Pastor Rob Borgas led the rite of commissioning at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Hermannsburg, assisted ably by local pastors Marcus Wheeler and Rodney Malbunka.
After seven years as Yirara College chaplain, Neville joins a team of people who lead the ministry of word and sacrament among Arrarnta people. In his message, Pastor Borgas highlighted Neville’s ‘support’ role for pastors and families, and just being an ‘encourager’ for indigenous and non-indigenous people at Hermannsburg and other places.
The Combined Central Australian Women’s choir enriched the service with their harmonious singing of favourite hymns that are a legacy of the influence of German missionaries from 1877, when the mission was established.
Since arriving at Hermannsburg on 10 November, Ingkaarta Neville (as he was known at Yirara College) and his wife Heather have been richly blessed by the sincere friendship of the local people.
‘What a true blessing after a hot, dusty and windy day’, says Neville, ‘to sit in the cool of the evening, surrounded by the early twinkle of hanging Christmas lights and to read and discuss the Scriptures with an Aboriginal pastor, while Heather talks and laughs with the women nearby, listening to their stories and attempting to learn some of the Arrarnta language.’
God’s Holy Spirit continues to work mightily in the hearts and lives of his people everywhere.