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500 Steps

What do Popeye, Donald Bradman and the 19th century German Lutheran missionaries Schurmann and Teichelmann have in common?

 

Each will feature on a 500 Steps Prayer Walk in the lead-up to the 2017 Australian Conference on Lutheran Education to be held in Adelaide on 5-7 July.

 

Before the opening worship of the Conference, people from around Australia will gather to walk from Australian Lutheran College (ALC) to the venue at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

 

Walkers will make the journey in a series of 500 Steps, to acknowledge the 500th commemoration of Reformation. After each 500 steps, there will be a 5 minute pause at a place of significance to hear a Bible reading, reflect on a short message and share in a minute of prayer.

 

There are six Prayer Points along the way.

 

The walk begins at ALC, from where just about every teacher in a Lutheran school has received training.

 

At Light’s Vision statue, we’ll pray for the community as we look over the city of Adelaide, and to the hills where the day before 500 Steps others will walk 26 kilometres in Walk My Way.

 

When we reach Donald Bradman’s statue outside Adelaide Oval, on the corner of War Memorial Drive, we’ll think about a world that calls on young people to be heroes on sportsgrounds and battlefields.

 

Walking along the Torrens River, where the famous Popeye tourist boat chugs along, and ancient gums line the banks, we’ll consider a world that sees Casino and Hospital side by side. Then, where roads cross above Pinky’s Flat, we’ll consider young people at the crossroads of life, and the decisions they make about career, relationships and faith.

 

Our final stop before ACLE is at Piltawodli, where German missionaries Teichelmann and Schurmann in 1839 began the first Lutheran school in Australia, teaching the local Kaurna children in a bark possum hut.

 

It’s good to remember these teacher missionaries were both only in their 20s when they began their life of service, just as many of our teachers in Lutheran schools are today. The encouragement these young men received from their sending body, the Dresden Missionary Society, still rings true:

 

“…we direct you to Him who is called Counsellor, to the head of His church, the shepherd and bishop of souls, the chief shepherd of His under-shepherds, our Lord Jesus Christ, and ask Him that He would accompany you, go in and out with you on land and sea, in times of solitude and in your official activities, in joy and sorrow, in short, may He be with you at every place, at every time and under all circumstances and lead you by His Holy Spirit, shelter you with His protection and strengthen you with His power.”

 

When we take the last 500 steps to the Convention Centre, we’ll gather outside to pray for the more than 900 teachers from Lutheran schools gathered together. They will use the theme People. Planet. Purpose. Reformation starts with us to explore their mission to young people through education.

 

500 Steps uses sealed paths, and is either flat or downhill, though there are some steps to be negotiated. The total distance is around 3 kilometres.

 

We will also invite members of the Catholic community to join us for the 500 Steps Prayer Walk in a spirit of reconciliation.

 

If you would like to join the Prayer Walk, simply arrive at ALC in time for a 6.45am start on Wednesday 5 July. To find out more, email 500steps@alws.org.au