Earlier this year the District was approached by Lutheran Education Victoria New South Wales & Tasmania (LEVNT) about the possibility of a call to a pastor, through the District, to oversee, support and train lay chaplains in schools across the LEVNT region. The current shortage of school pastors has left 5 out of 7 of the district’s full time school pastor positions vacant, with the one more nearing retirement within a year and the other not long after. Attempts to fill vacancies through calls and Expression of Interest have yielded no result. In the meantime, schools and colleges are employing lay chaplains, in order to fill the pastoral care ‘gap’. The new role of Pastor for ministry and formation will provide a spiritual oversight role for lay chaplains in District schools.
District Bishop Lester Priebbenow and LEVNT Executive Director Julian Denholm worked together to bring a recommendation on this matter through Vic-Tas District Church Council (DCC) to College of Bishops, who approved the new pastor position, noting that in effect it would replace existing pastoral positions that were not likely to be filled. DCC subsequently received a recommendation from the District Board for Lutheran Education (acting as the call committee) to extend the call to Pastor David Spike, of Geelong Lutheran College, who had already been seconded part-time to LEVNT for a similar supporting role. We are excited that Pastor David has accepted the call, and look forward to his commencement in the role.