On Sunday 13 October, nearly 200 people attended the ordination service for Jeffrey Wheeler at Mount Liebig. People came from several communities, including Hermannsburg. Among them was Pastor Marcus Wheeler, Jeffrey’s uncle.
I preached on Luke 7:2–8 and 1 Corinthians 15:24–28, pointing out that even Jesus was, is and always will be under authority. So, respecting authority is not a demeaning thing. I urged the congregation members to bear this in mind when they solemnly promise to honour and help their new pastor.
Pastor Graham Poulson formally presented Jeffrey for ordination. Bishop John Henderson led the ordination rite. The congregation sang the hymns with gusto, and the promises to respect their new pastor were made loudly.
Pastor Jeffrey is one of the younger generation of Pintupi–Luritja pastors. Like Pastor John West, he is not yet 40 years of age. He was confirmed at Yirara College in the 1990s and married Veronica Peterson a few years later. They have four children.
He has worked for the Mt Liebig/Amunturrngu Council for many years. He has been trained for the ministry according to the Finke River Mission curriculum and has attended teaching courses for about the last six years.
After his ordination, Pastor Jeffrey led the communion service with Pastor Roderick Kantamara assisting. Afterwards, there was a great outpouring of emotion. Some people spoke, with tears of joy and relief, of how they had been waiting for this day for a long time. The day finished with a late-afternoon barbeque and singalong.
Many people helped to organise the day’s activities. Evangelist Stanley Roberts was a great help with the preparation of the liturgy, and the women of Mount Liebig made a beautiful banner for the occasion, with words of encouragement for Pastor Jeffrey in both Pintupi–Luritja and English.
Paul Traeger is the Ministry Support Worker for the Pintupi–Luritja Language Area.