Since January 2017, four of our members of the Martin Luther Church congregation are being trained as lay preachers:
Katja Brittain, Friedrich Brunzema, Iris Schweiger and Tanya Zielke, whose interview follows below:
1) How long have you been coming to the MLC?
Tanya:I was baptized at MLC – my parents have been members since before I was born.
2) What do you like best about the MLC
Tanya: My favourite part of MLC is the sense of family you feel, the longer and more active you are at the church. There are many members of the congregation who have known me since I was very young. Members here are extremely welcoming and as soon as you find a place for your talents you get the opportunity to meet so many more members.
3) What prompted you to become a lay preacher and how long did it take to make up your mind?
Tanya: I remember Pastor Ceconi talking about the Praedikantenkurs at a Council meeting. Iris looked right at me and said: “Let’s do it!”. I said: “OK!” and that was that. I see the Praedikantenkurs as a way for me to learn more about the way we worship and the elements of worship. It also gives me a chance to practice my German.
4) What was the biggest challenge (what was most difficult to cope with) during the training seminar?
Tanya: One of the things I found really difficult was finding a creative, yet informative way to share the message with the congregation.
5) Ten years ago, could you have imagined yourself today standing in front of a congregation as a lay preacher?
Tanya: Nope. But I am really blessed to have had this opportunity.
6) What was the hardest part of your first sermon?
Tanya: I was really nervous and didn’t want to let anyone down. I was worried the congregation would not like my sermon. It was stressful, however the response I got from the congregation was a very positive one.
7) What abilities do you value most in your three colleagues.
Tanya: My three Praedikanten buddies are very supportive. They give fantastic feedback that is going to make me a better preacher. Their honesty is valued. I’m lucky to have them in my corner.
8) What is your favourite Bible verse and why?
Tanya:Philippians 4:13 – I can do all this through him who gives me strength. As the saying goes.. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But making lemonade alone is boring.. God is there to help. He is always there to support and carry you when you need it. You are never alone.
9) What is your greatest wish for the MLC community in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation?
Tanya: That the message of what it means to be Lutheran / Christian can be shared with many. To inspire others to live in a way that shows kindness and compassion to others. That we can support each other and share our talents with not only our church community but with all of God’s community.