In the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Lutheran church worship and ministry are being done differently – just as they are right across Australia and New Zealand – due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pastor David Spanagel of Hope Vale Lutheran Parish believes it’s an era of new opportunities for sharing the gospel. Unlike pastors and laypeople from the cities and areas with high internet coverage and usage, who are using more high-tech means of keeping people connected with their church family, Pastor David has turned to his trusty bicycle and the local radio station to reach his community. He writes: ‘The whole world has entered a new era of ministry. Often-heard comments around our town are, “God has taken away the things we enjoyed – pokies, football, shopping and now the church! We must listen and respond to his message at this time”.
‘It brings joy to my heart to hear people sharing the resolution of long-held grudges and, as a result of coronavirus, saying “enough is enough” and settling the argument. God is good and moving in memorable ways.
‘Our new methods of ministry involve a bicycle for delivery of printed services and Lutheran Tract Mission tracts to the front gate of every home. Daily devotions and Sunday services are now being broadcast on the local radio station.
‘In the isolated town of Wujal Wujal, a devoted Christian person in the community has offered to deliver service orders to households . This is the first time in 35 years that we’ve had an offer. Surely the Spirit is moving.’