Mr Cliff Rossack, a lifelong member at St Pauls Lutheran Church Grovedale in Victoria, is a worthy recipient of the LCA Servant of Christ Award for 2022. Described by his fellow congregants as ‘a humble, dedicated servant to his church and Lord’, 85-year-old Cliff served St Pauls as an elder for 43 years until 2015 and remains an active contributor to the life of his congregation and local community in a variety of ways. He is the congregation’s longest-serving member.
Since 2004 Cliff has been organising a fundraising farm produce stall which operates after Grovedale church services, with the help of fellow member Peter Winter. Originally selling honey Cliff harvested from his own hives, the stall now includes such seasonal produce as potatoes, pumpkin, strawberries, beans, eggs, parsnips, cauliflowers, broccoli, tomatoes and zucchini, while his wife Betty has made hundreds of jars of jam from the fruit he ‘somehow manages to get hold of’!
Since 2010, the stall has raised almost $60,000 and benefitted those helped by more than a hundred different charities and causes.
Cliff has assisted with and initiated many maintenance-related projects at the church since his teenage years. One of which was – with the able assistance of a very active maintenance team – the complete remodelling of the church entrance.
Each year since approximately 1990, he has helped to locate, cut down and Transport to the church a live, large Christmas tree, to the delight and appreciation of all who attend Christmas season services at St Pauls.
Cliff has also volunteered his time at other non-Lutheran churches for many years, and he continues to help with the meals program for the homeless and underprivileged run by Christ Church in Geelong.
His heart for others also has shone through his personal support for Kaway, a refugee from South Sudan welcomed into the St Pauls family. As well as using their own funds to assist Kaway as he endeavoured to bring his children out from a refugee camp in Africa, Cliff and Betty cared for Kaway’s wife and other family members while he was away overseas.
An active member of Lutheran Youth of Victoria in his younger years, Cliff also served on the St John’s Lutheran Primary School council at Geelong for approximately eight years.
His fellow parishioners sum up their reasons for nominating Cliff for the Servant of Christ Award with the following words: ‘Speaking about what Cliff has done is easy. Speaking about who Cliff is, is simple. He is a humble, quiet, God-fearing Christian who loves his Lord.
‘He was a commercial fisherman for over 52 years and that fits in very well with his Christian life example. He connects and communicates with ease across all generations with his genuine and gentle manner.
‘Speaking about Cliff is also somewhat difficult because over time we have seen that the many acts of kindness that Cliff performs mostly only come to light many months or years after the act, because he rarely discloses to anyone what he has done.
‘He has helped – and helps – and cares for people as he can, and still tries his best when he can’t. Cliff throughout his life has been a humble, dedicated servant to his church and Lord.’