We commend to the Lord, our brother in Christ, Pastor George Rosendale, who passed at Hopevale Wednesday 11 September 2019. He was a pioneer Aboriginal Lutheran Pastor in Queensland who had only recently celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his ordination to the Office of the Public Ministry.
Longer acknowledgements for Pastor George will follow, but in this District Newsletter, I wanted to highlight one part of his story that reveals to us, that which was central to George’s life and witness in the Church, ‘thanksgiving in all circumstances’.
In the video documentary about his life, “Colour Blind“, Pastor George tells the story of the people of Hopevale suddenly being taken by the Government during the Second World War on a 1600 kilometre journey to Woorabinda near Rockhampton. He was only a little boy at the time and he recalls how the people were entirely unprepared and some did not have food for days.
In the midst of this journey, with his siblings feeling hungry and uncertain, Pastor George tells the profound influence of his mother’s evening witness to her children during the journey. She quoted the Psalms: “We thank you Lord for thou art good and thy mercy endureth forever.” (This is a variation of Psalm 136 in prayer form.)
Pastor George learned from his mother, the words of 1st Thessalonians chapter 5: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” This became the deep theme of his life, of his witness and of his service in the name of our Lord. Pastor George has often shared his unique status of being one who survived the bite of the most venomous of Australian snakes, the Taipan. Whenever he told that story, it included “thanksgiving to God.” This episode in his life was instrumental in him training for the ministry.
In remembering George as a pastor of the Church and as a pioneer Lutheran Pastor of the North Queensland Lutheran communities, we give thanks to God. We trust that the Lord of the Church will flourish his witness.
Please pray for Pastor George’s family and friends and the people of the communities in North Queensland as they grieve, and as they commend him into the hands of the Good Shepherd: Jesus.
“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever.” (Psalm 136:1)