Next step in Lionels chosen path
THE CALL of God led him to Maryborough 10 years ago.
But now, after more than 1000 sermons, 60 baptisms and countless weddings and funeral services, Pastor Lionel Rohrlach says he is ready to pack up his life in the Heritage City and follow the call somewhere else.
“I’m going to finish on the same day I drove into Maryborough 10 years ago – January 10,” he said.
“I’m not sad to go. It’s come to a time when I’ve realised perhaps a change is a good thing for everyone.
“I’m ready to head off into new things.”
Rev. Rohrlach, who has led Maryborough’s St Matthews, Childers Grace and Woodgate Lutheran congregations, is moving to Pittsworth in southern Queensland and will no doubt leave a huge hole in the region’s religious community.
In his time he has been the president of the Maryborough Ministers Fellowship, preached to prisoners at the Maryborough Correctional Centre, taught religious education at schools and even umpired Aussie Rules.
It was under his watch as president of MMF that high school chaplaincy began in Maryborough.
“I’d like people, particularly young people, to have more information,” he said.
“I think there’s one little failing of the of the chaplains that a majority of the time they are taken up with social work at the expense of being able to draw students out in considering their faith journey in life.”
Rev. Rohrlach said the highlight of his time was that the St Matthew’s congregation was now “not just surviving but looking to care for each other”.
“For 25 years, all they did was pay off the church.
“Now, what we’ve committed ourselves to is paying its own way.
“And while the growth in the church has not been in numbers, worship and offerings have gone up.
“To me that is the highlight.”
He said some of the most memorable sermons he gave were at the Maryborough Correctional Centre.
“It was unreal,” he said. “You could end up with a full-time job.
“I would encourage prisoners to grow in faith and experience that God accepts them for who they are – not what they’ve done.”
While teaching religious education at Fraser Coast schools had “always been a challenge”, Rev. Rohrlach said that too provided some of his most cherished memories.
“These days the approach has got to be different,” he said. “The knowledge of Christianity is a lot less.
“But I’m not panicking about the future because people will always be vitally interested in spiritual things.”