What’s this? A brand-new Lutheran church being built in these uncertain and lean times? Well, that is what has happened in Noosa on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast! For most of the year, passers-by have been watching major new facilities emerge near the entrance of Good Shepherd Lutheran College in Noosaville.
Since 1991 Lutherans in Noosa have been worshipping in a multi-purpose hall on the Noosaville campus which their congregation shares with Good Shepherd Lutheran College. However, the hall has now been renovated and extended to provide a complex of facilities called the Worship and Ministry Centre which will be utilised by both the local Lutheran congregation and the college.
After five years of planning and developing this joint venture, work began on building the new project in January. On Sunday afternoon, 28 November, it all came to fruition when the Lutheran Bishop of Queensland, Pastor Mark Vainikka, officially opened the new facilities, including a rite of dedication.
Noosa’s resident pastor, Mark Hansen, based his occasional address on 1 Peter 2:4-8 where Christ is depicted as the cornerstone of the church, the essential foundation on which the stones of God’s people find a secure place.
After the service a special plaque was unveiled by the chair of the congregation, Matt Bartholomaeus, assisted by the chair of the college’s governing body, Chris Roche.
Pastor Hansen explained: “Our local church identified five purposes they need to fulfil as a Christian congregation: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Evangelism, and Ministry. These became the basis for the development of the new facilities.”
When the congregation received a generous bequest from the estate of two former members, Karl and Erna Holtz, the new building complex became a possibility. It soon emerged that even more could be achieved through a partnership with the local Lutheran college.
The college principal, Anthony Dyer, indicated: “The College used the congregation’s multi-purpose hall a great deal during the extended school day and we are looking forward to the new facilities providing extra enhanced spaces that will support a wide range of existing and new college activities”.
The new facilities feature a dedicated worship space with a seating capacity for 250 people and a flow over area into the adjoining hall for many more. In addition to weekly congregational worship, this space will be used on a regular basis during the week by the college for daily chapel worship services. There are also rooms for church youth and educational activities as well as a playgroup. The college will use this area for the provision of
Outside School Hours Care and Vacation Care programs. A terrace veranda adjoining the renovated hall area will provide room to host fellowship events, morning and afternoon teas and lunches. There is also a new and capacious kitchen for catering purposes. As part of the complex there is also an administration area providing workspaces, confidential offices, meeting rooms, a church library as well as storage and amenities.
The most impressive feature of the building is the worship space, particularly the sanctuary at the front of the church. Bathed in bright light from a skylight, the centre piece is a plain wooden altar with crucifix and candles. It is matched, to one side, by a solid wooden lectern. Towering above the altar, and suspended from the wall, there is a large wooden cross graced with a vertical blue inlay referencing the waters of Baptism. And on the other side there is a beautiful blue, pebbled baptismal font made of sculptured glass. And to cap it all off, the setting boasts two large, stained-glass windows, a total of twelve panels, depicting Jesus the Good Shepherd against a background of trinitarian symbols and representations of baptismal waters and the bread and wine of Holy Communion. There is a cross reminding the viewer of Jesus’ death for the sins of the world as well as the empty tomb of the resurrected Christ. And pervading it all is the light and water reflecting the ambience of Noosa.
David Nivala, a congregational member centrally involved in the planning and building of the facilities said: “The design and execution of the sanctuary furniture and artworks were mostly the work of local people, members of the congregation as well as local businesses.”
The architectural design and work supervision for the building were provided by Ken Down Architects and Aspect Architects and Project Managers and the builder was NCM Constructions.
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