What's a Lutheran?
The Lutheran Church dates back to the Reformation in sixteenth century Europe. A German monk by the name of Martin Luther staged a protest about abuses in the church by posting ninety-five theses or statements on a church door in Wittenberg in 1517. This was one of the first steps in a movement that resulted in the formation of a number of Protestant churches which followed leaders like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Knox.
The Lutheran Church which grew out of this period based its teachings on the Bible and wrote them down in a collection of documents known as the Lutheran Confessions. The central teaching of the Lutheran Church has always been that God sent his son Jesus to save a fallen creation. All people are tainted with sin, but are forgiven and reconciled to God because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Free forgiveness is received through faith for all those who repent and seek reconciliation with God.
The catchcry of the Lutheran Reformation was threefold:
The Lutheran Church grew to be a major Protestant denomination in Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic states. European migrations spread the Lutheran faith to America, Africa and Australia. Currently the Lutheran Church comprises around eighty million members worldwide, making it the largest Protestant denomination in the world.
There have been Lutherans in Australia since the beginning of European settlement. Some of the first official activities by Lutherans in this country were conducted in the form of mission work among the Aboriginal people. For example, the Gossner missionaries who started a mission station in what is now the Brisbane suburb of Nundah were the first free settlers in Queensland. From 1838 a series of major religious migrations of Lutherans to South Australia took place as the result of persecution of Lutherans in Prussia.
South Australia and Queensland became the strongest states for Lutherans in Australia, but there were also major settlements of them in Victoria and southern New South Wales. In modern times there are around 75 000 Australians who have official membership in the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) as well as many more who claim affiliation.
The LCA has its own tertiary institution in Adelaide called Australian Lutheran College where it trains its pastors, teachers and other church workers. Lutheran parishes are scattered all over Australia and the LCA provides a robust system of Lutheran schools and aged care facilities. It maintains strong links with Aboriginal communities, supports overseas missions and contributes to international welfare causes through Lutheran World Service.
History Of Our Congregation
The Good Shepherd Lutheran Congregation in Noosa started in 1985. Until then Noosa Lutherans formed part of the Gympie parish which included a congregation in Cooroy. Neil Berlin, a Lutheran lay mission worker, did some groundwork in the Noosa area in the early 1980s and found that there was support for the establishment of a Christian school in the area.
In 1985 the former Noosa drive-in theatre on Eumundi Road in Noosaville came up for sale and was purchased by the Lutheran Church as the centre for a church and a school. A new Cooroy-Noosa Lutheran parish was formed and the drive-in kiosk converted to a preaching place. Good Shepherd Lutheran Primary School opened in 1986, added a classroom block and shared the existing facilities with the congregation. Pastor Keith Stiller served as the first pastor to the Noosa and Cooroy congregations. He was succeeded in due course by Pastor Chris Bartholomaeus, Pastor Mark Nitschke, and currently Pastor Mark Hansen.
In 1991 the congregation built the current church on the campus. Meanwhile the school
was growing and became a P – 12 college in 1992.
The Good Shepherd Lutheran congregation in Noosa belongs to the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA). It is also part of the regional organisation known as the Lutheran Church of Australia, Queensland District (LCAQD). It financially supports both the national and regional entities of the Church and accepts and co-operates with their initiatives in areas like missions, education and welfare.
Good Shepherd also has considerable local autonomy, calling its own pastors, electing its own officers, establishing its own committees, setting its own budget and establishing its own program. The congregation works under a constitution.
The Church Council has oversight of the work of the congregation, which includes a chair, treasurer and secretary. Various committees are formed to provide for areas of purpose including; worship, fellowship, discipleship, evangelism and ministry (pastoral care).
Pastor Mark Hansen originally comes from Audubon, Iowa USA. He studied Audio Engineering in
Minneapolis, MN before becoming involved with Lutheran Youth Encounter. While on Lutheran Youth
Encounter, Mark met his wife Anne who is from Adelaide, SA. Together, they have 3 children, Jonah,
Christian & Emma.
Mark studied at Luther Seminary in Adelaide and was ordained in the Lutheran Church of Australia in
2000. Pastor Mark has served the Wodonga Lutheran Parish (2000-2005), Holy Trinity Lutheran Church,
Hampstead SA (2005-2009), St Peter's Lutheran Church, Loxton SA (2009-2016) and currently Good
Shepherd Lutheran Church, Noosa (2017- Present).