By MALUM NALU
MEMBERS of the St John’s Lutheran Church in West Goroka celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend attended by pioneer pastor Rev Brian Schwartz, of Australia, and his two sons Nick and Brian.
Also there were former Australian pastor Murray Thomas and wife Edith.
The celebrations included a seminar on Friday, cultural show on Saturday and the anniversary service on Sunday.
Goroka MP Henry Ame unveiled the anniversary plaque on Sunday in front of a crowd including former congregation members living in parts of the country.
“It really was a joyful occasion,” said Schwartz, who came to Goroka in 1969 as a 23-year-old fresh out of seminary. He left the country in 1985.
“Today was a wonderful service. It was the best service I’ve ever been to at St John’s, better than any of the ones I’ve conducted. It was a lovely time. Everyone welcomed me and I was very honoured. I’m very thankful to God.”
Schwartz said under the leadership of current pastor, Grahamme Baital of Siassi in Morobe, “St John’s might be able to play and important role in furthering ministry in urban centres, take a leading role to help train pastors, and other leaders in working more effectively in urban centres”.
Murray, who was at St John’s from 1993 to 2003, said it was heartening to see the church still continuing its work in Goroka.
“It was great to come back and catch up with people we knew as friends, and to see that the church is still going,” he said.
“We have many faithful pastors, and many faithful church members, who are following God’s way and growing. It was good to see all the people here, the energy in getting all the celebrations and preparations.”
By MALUM NALU