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Your Voice

Voices

We welcome a new article by SDC member Alison Short.

Alison is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Sutherland, NSW.

Alison is also a university lecturer and researcher at Western Sydney University.

This space is for YOU: if there is any encouragement or inspiration, concern or call-out  you want to share publicly with the whole church,

then this is the place to do it!

Contact us via the My Voice link at the bottom of this page.

Voices # 18: 19.02.2024

A Reflection on my Lay Preaching journey

by Alison Short

 

I felt called to ministry in the church soon after my confirmation in early teenage-hood, but of course this was impossible! I was a woman; it was not even worth thinking about. I already understood Luther’s concept of vocation, and this was to guide my career choices and the underlying meaning and purpose throughout my life, entering a new health field and making a difference locally, nationally and internationally with service, writing, research and education. At the same time, I engaged in many roles within the church: playing music, flowers, Sunday school teaching, lay reading, delegate, chairperson. But God kept niggling, poking me in the ribs about my interest in theology and applying the Word. Then two things collided – 1) attending the NSW/ACT Synod as Lay Delegate and feeling invited into the new ALC Discover Program, as outlined by the Principal of ALC, and 2) the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I spent my five-hour drive back to Sydney praying, asking, discerning – could this be me? Was I really being invited to study? With overseas conference attendance just cancelled at work a couple of days beforehand – what else would I do with all this extra time?

 

How much longer would I wait? Was, in fact, the time now?! After considerable consultation with all concerned, not the least of whom were my husband and family and finding a local mentor – I committed to this new direction. And then things changed even more – suddenly we were in lockdown, and everything was online. Vocation? Where were my feet, where was I planted, what did I need to do? As it turned out, I developed new training materials for students in my secular tertiary day-job, incorporating resilience and a broad sense of spirituality for their learning and development; a later review showed their appreciation of this. I completed my Diploma in Theology (ALC/University of Divinity) in 2022. I thought that this would be enough – but still God poked and niggled. And when it became clear that our congregation would be in (pastoral) vacancy, I again talked with the Bishop, where he recommended the ALC Lay Preacher Training (online). I was able to find a very supportive Pastor/Mentor, even if in another region, and we set about making it all work with a combination of in-person, email, phone and Zoom interactions to support my learning and development. In fact, I have thoroughly enjoyed the ALC LPT training and the skills and knowledge it has fostered, in order to make a difference for my congregation and the people in my community. I am very thankful for the support of my Pastor/Mentor, the Bishop, and various and sundry other people (Australia and overseas, Lutheran and other) who reviewed and gave feedback to my draft sermons. As part of this training, I had to write and deliver two sermons, one each on an Old Testament and New Testament text of my choice. I chose to deliver each sermon twice, once in another region and then in my home congregation in Sydney, with the full support of my Pastor/Mentor.

 

My first sermon delivery was incredibly scary – in fact even submitting my script for review a couple of weeks beforehand was so challenging! How could I dare to stand up and preach in a church that from my birth had told me I wasn’t eligible? And then, 50 years after my initial sense of call, I had done it, preached my first sermon! How did it feel? As I reflected at the time, “It felt like what I was born to do!”. Now, after a second sermon with more challenges and further excellent mentoring, I feel ready to start the journey and think towards the future. And I think I hear God saying in the distance, “What took you so long? Where have you been?” To which I say: girding my loins, preparing myself, finding my way, developing my skills, serving the people.

 

What next? Truly, God only knows. To him be the glory, Amen.

 

Dr Alison Short is a Senior Lecturer, Music Therapy, in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a Research Leader: Music and Health, in the Humanities Religious Studies Research Collective at the Western Sydney University.

Read them all

Read Them All:

17/

VOICES #17: 1.2.2024

Women prophesying/proclaiming in the New Testament

by Mark Schubert

16/

VOICES #16: 6.9.2023

New Testament support for women pastors

by Peter Lockwood

15/

VOICES #15: 3.5.2023

Recent experiences in Germany

by Colin Huf

14/

VOICES #14: 3.3.2023

A Synod Report

by David Christian

13/

VOICES #13: 30.1.2023

As I prepare for LCANZ Convention of General Synod 2023 by Kathy Matuschka

12/

VOICES #12: 19.1.2023

Overwhelming biblical support for female leadership and ordination by Ray Schulz

11/

VOICES #11: 8.12.2022

Some say.... But did you know?

by Helene Schulz

10/

VOICES #10: 14.10.2022

Beyond an earthly reign: changing custom to meet context by Dr Alison Short

09/

VOICES #9: 18.03.2022

The ordination of men and women: so say the Bible and the Confessions by Rev Dr Peter Lockwood

08/

VOICES #8: 24.11.2021

The Two Texts do not prohibit women from being ordained by Rev Joel Cramer

07/

VOICES #7: 1.10.2021

Called to be a pastor too - interview with Maria Rudolph

06/

VOICES #6: 12.8.2021

Love not Law by John Noack

05/

VOICES #5: 11.6.2021

In Support of Women’s Ordination by Shirl C

04/

VOICES #4: 12.5.2021

It's been a long, long journey by Noel Schultz

03/

VOICES #3: 26.4.2021

Sharing a message sent to the College of Bishops and General Church Board by a senior, wise SDC Member

02/

VOICES #2: 13.2.2021

Giving voice to the people of God by Neville Otto

01/

VOICES #1: 1.2.2021

"Who's got the power?" by Brenda Jericho

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