RALLYING THE WOMEN OF QUEENSLAND – written by Rebecka Colldunberg
Lutheran Women of Queensland (LWQ) is an organisation devoted to helping its members deepen their relationship with God, serving the community and offering friendship to fellow Lutheran women. At its helm is the tireless, vivacious President Karen Bryce.
Karen’s affiliation with LWQ goes back almost half a century, ‘When my first child was a few months old I was invited to the Petrie [now affiliated with Living Faith, Murrumba Downs] fellowship for a 10th anniversary celebration’, she explains. ‘A number of young mothers were invited to this event and we were all quickly invited to join their fellowship. This was a great fellowship in an area of quick growth. I remember at this time the fellowship meetings were blessed with the attendance of at least 15 young children. My son is now 46 years old!’
Today there are around 80 fellowships spread throughout Queensland. ‘An integral part of our mission is to study God’s word and share his love with others’, Karen continues. ‘Over the years the fellowships have also contributed large financial assistance to their churches and the projects of Lutheran Women.’
Lutheran Women continue to make contributions to many mission-orientated organisations within the Lutheran Church and to pastoral care. Karen believes that helping with mission offers the women in the fellowships a chance to put their faith into action.
As president of LWQ Karen enjoys the challenges and, as an eternal optimist she faces them with an unflinching confidence that the best outcome can always be reached. As with many areas of the church as a whole, aging membership remains a top challenge. ‘LWQ have a declining ageing membership and on the executive team we seek to connect with the younger women who are in our churches and meet them on their terms’, she says, reflecting back to her own days as a fledgling young mother in a welcoming church. ‘There has been some membership growth in this area as our annual retreats, fellowship days and rally days have programs that are inclusive for all ages.’
LWQ is divided into seven zones; these are the same zones of the Lutheran Church Queensland. Each zone has its own executive and organises rally and fellowship days. At a rally the women will hear reports on their zone projects (such as student bursaries, LCC projects and schools). ‘Projects are decided at a rally’, Karen explains. ‘The women also enjoy a worship time, praise session and Bible study and of course a time of fellowship with delicious food!’
‘They’re a jolly good shindig’, said Bundaberg parish’s pastoral care assistant, Gudrun Collins. ‘The women love them! The older ladies do get discouraged at times, with themselves and with all that’s happening in the world. They want reminders that the Lord is in control, and won’t forget about them. The rallies give them a chance to encourage each other, especially if they can have a laugh together.’
‘LWQ offers a chance to be stimulated through being with other Christian women of all ages from many walks of life. It provides opportunities to share our Christian journey with others with similar objects and ideals.’ Karen finishes with a warm invitation for all women, young and old of LCAQD, to become involved: ‘If they are willing to embrace the ideals of LWQ and the concept of being “Loved by God, sharing this love with others”, they are very welcome.’
Reproduced with permission from LCAQD eNews