Lutheran Church Origins in Queensland
Lutherans belong to a world-wide group of Christian Churches which identify with the witness of the Augsburg Confession. This collection of teachings was written in 1530 in Germany to guide Christians in making clear the good news of all that was done for us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The key influence in the writing of the Augsburg Confession was the German pastor and teacher Dr Martin Luther.
Today, there are over 70 million people in Lutheran Churches in all the continents of the earth. Although small in number in Australia and New Zealand, the Lutheran Church worldwide is the largest of the Protestant denominations.
Lutheran people first came to Queensland in 1837 when a group of 22 missionaries arrived in Nundah as the first free settlers in Queensland. They established a mission to serve the local Aboriginal people on the north side of the Brisbane River. The new settlers were predominantly German lay missionaries trained by the Gossner Mission Society in Germany and part of their work included establishing the first Lutheran school in Queensland. The party included two Lutheran pastors and every member of the group had a specific vocation to serve. They came with a missional heart to share the Good News of Jesus with the local people.
This first mission station closed within a decade but it established a legacy of missional outreach and education for our church.
In the years that followed, from 1855 until 1890, there was large scale migration from Germany to Queensland, sponsored by the new Queensland Government with about 19,000 German immigrants settling as farmers in rural areas across South-East Queensland. Most of these German settlers were Lutheran and their influx provided the foundation of what has grown to become the Lutheran Church in Queensland.
In the late 1800s the Church was bolstered by the movement of more German migrant families from Western Victoria and South Australia looking for farming land and opportunity. Many Scandinavian Lutherans also immigrated to Queensland at this time. Following World War II the cultural diversity of the Lutheran church was broadened further by an influx of Finnish Lutherans who migrated to Queensland. Today, Queensland has the largest population of Finnish speaking residents of all the states and territories of Australia.
It isn’t until the mid-1960s that the modern Queensland Lutheran Church that we know really starts to take shape. The migration of various Lutheran church groups over the preceding 120 years had resulted in fragmented church communities. This division ended in 1966 with the union of various Lutheran Synods to form a single Lutheran church in Australia. It’s from that point that we really see the Lutheran Church in Queensland take shape with the missional foundations of our Church flourishing again through significant outreach and growth, particularly in education and community care.
Today the Queensland District of the Lutheran Church is an expression of the mission of God in the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand. The people of the Lutheran Church in Queensland serve in over 65 Parishes with 11 Aged Care Services, 3 Youth and Family Support Centres, 5 Places for Care for People with Disability, 2 Youth Camp Sites, 27 Schools and 58 Centres for Early Childhood work, all governed by the “Lutheran Church of Australia Queensland District” administered through the Church’s office located in Milton in Brisbane.
We give thanks to God for the commitment of those who came before us. We are inspired by their courage and faith in reaching out to Indigenous Australians, followed by those who established congregations and schools, and developed other institutions which continue to serve the wider Australian and New Zealand communities.
You can learn more about the world-wide Lutheran Church here:
and also at the Lutheran Church of Australia website.