By Marilyn Wall, RAP Project Officer
Normally we would have been sitting on the lawns outside having a yarn, but the weather was a little unpredictable and so on this occasion we moved into the church space on Mission Block, to engage in conversation. Thursday afternoons the ladies usually gather for Bible Study and a singalong, supported by Suanne Tikoft, Aboriginal Women’s Support Worker for the Alice Springs Lutheran Church. This was my second visit with this group of ladies, having shared time together last year, in similar circumstances.
Today we were looking at the Gospel from Luke chapter 18 – the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The ladies were from different communities, but they were also multi-lingual and so they comfortably read and shared their thoughts in their own languages and respectfully and patiently translated them for me who only understood one language – English.
As we talked, the ladies shared what it meant to them to be able to hear the Word of God, pray, confess their faith and sing their favourite hymns in their language during Sunday worship, alongside the English version of the service order. A number of the ladies shared the joy they experience in serving the church as stewards and pastoral carers, assisting with the preparation for service, distribution of Holy Communion, reading of the lessons and similar tasks. For them they see it important to ensure their children learn about Jesus and grow up in his ways, that the children learn about their culture and maintain their connection to Country and to their language.