Finke River Mission (FRM) offers three ‘bush’ courses every year, supported by Australian Lutheran College, to provide theological training for pastors and potential pastors. FRM also provides at least one ‘bush’ course per year for indigenous women.
No other church in Australia has provided regular courses in indigenous language for their leaders over such a long period of time. Lutherans should be proud of our long history of bringing the gospel to all in their own language.
In recent years FRM has also responded to the increased need to provide pathways for church leaders who desire accredited vocational skills in English. Since 2014 FRM has been sending men and women to Nungalinya, an indigenous adult-training college in Darwin for Anglican, Roman Catholic, Uniting and Lutheran students.
This year seven Lutherans from central Australia graduated with a Certificate 1 in Education and Skills Development. One of them was Pastor Rodney Malbunka from Hermannsburg (pictured above left), who appreciated gaining literacy and numeracy skills to help his work as a baker at the Hermannsburg store. While most of Rodney’s education expenses were provided by the government, FRM paid his store wages while he was studying in Darwin.
Rodney said, ‘I enjoyed going to Nungalinya because I have learnt many new things in English. But I was shocked to discover that many students up there don’t know how to sing in their own language, only the Lutherans, and the lecturers were amazed that we could do it so well.’
Pastor Rodney is pictured above with fellow graduate Lorraine Donald, from Areyonga, and Hobart pastor, Geoff Kuchel.