The first Big Course for 2011 was held at Yirara College from 8–13 May. About forty people attended the course, including ten women (the biggest attendance yet for women). People came from communities as far away as Yalata in South Australia.
Pastor Paul Albrecht made a welcome return visit to central Australia to jointly lead the course with local Pastor Davey Inkamala on the book of Amos. Pastor Albrecht has just completed a translation of this Old Testament book into the Arrarnta language. Theresa Wilson, who attended from Areyonga, was impressed by his command of the Arrarnta language, ‘I have never heard a white person speak Arrarnta so well. It’s like the old days.’ Pastor Albrecht spoke in Arrarnta and English, and Paul Traeger translated his words into Pintupi-Luritja, while Pastors Philip Wilyuka and Howard Smith translated for the nineteen Pitjantjatjara speakers present at the course.
Daily Bible studies were led on the lectionary readings for the Sundays that fell after the course.
A number of guests also presented including
- District President Pastor David Altus who offered prayers and encouragement as well as an update on the 2012 Synod for the centre
- local Lutheran Dr Yip from NT Health Department (infectious diseases section) offered ways of preventing the spread of common infectious diseases
- representatives from Lutheran Community Care spoke about the financial management courses they offer
- Pastor Basil Schild spoke about alcohol issues and we looked at ways of reducing alcohol consumption in Alice Springs
- Dr Mirtschin addressed the leaders about Yirara College and also to get vital feedback from them about Yirara.
On Friday we finished the course with a service with Holy Communion at the Yirara chapel. Special thanks to Yirara College for allowing us to use their wonderful campus and chapel facility. It was a great opportunity for regional church leaders to see the college (we also attended a chapel service during the week) and for students to see what the Big Course is all about.