Christ in the Centre spoke with Pastor David Altus following his recent visit to central Australia:
Did you enjoy attending the In-Service Bush Course?
Attending the Big Course was something I had wanted to experience – sitting with our Aboriginal pastors and leaders was special.
The attention they gave to the word of God and those speaking it to them indicated to me the importance they placed on this time. To spend a week together in Bible study, prayer and song, and to do that camping out in the cold under the stars at night goes beyond what most of us in the ministry do for our in-service training!
I felt honoured and privileged to sit with them. I was also full of admiration for our support pastors. I particularly admired the linguistic skills of Paul Traeger who communicated with ease.
Yirara College is an important part of Finke River Mission’s service in the centre. Did you get a chance to visit?
I was escorted on a tour of Yirara by two very polite, quietly spoken students who were obviously very proud of their school and of the leadership roles they had been given in it.
The facilities are obviously impressive, but equally inspiring (and obvious) is the love of the principal, Andrew Mirtschin, and the staff for the total well-being of the students in their care.
Their desire to share and live our Christian faith in that community in practical ways comes through. Dignity and respect, compassion and love for all because of Christ.
You led Bethlehem Lutheran Church in a pre-call meeting, how did that work out?
When I asked the Hermannsburg congregation what was important to them about their next pastor, after Pastor Peter Pfitzner leaves for Robertstown later in the year, I was greeted by silence – for a while. Then, one by one people spoke, sometimes themselves, sometimes through others, sharing what was important to them about ministry in the place where God had put them to serve him.
Their concern for people around them, in their own and neighbouring communities, meeting people where they are, as well as for the young people came through. Please pray for a pastor to join them in the unique place, challenge and opportunity for ministry in the Hermannsburg area.
Following your time in the centre, do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I was encouraged by the various Church groups’ desire to develop their relationships with each other so that God’s work there is coordinated and supported across the region. This is vital as they face the many opportunities and unique challenges in the centre, but especially as we work towards our 2012 district synod in Alice Springs.