The beginning of Our Saviour congregation goes back to the early years of Redeemer Lutheran College and the St John’s congregation at Eight Mile Plains. Vince Gerhardy, pastor at St John’s, found himself teaching a Year 8 Religious Studies class and leading chapel worship on a roster with staff members. In 1981, a youth group consisting of students from the college became a reality. FROG as the group was called – an acronym for Friends of Redeemer & Of God – met in the Eight Mile Plains Church hall. A green frog was the group’s logo, and invitations were sent home with the college students.
Between 1981 and 1984 a team of excited and enthusiastic leaders, also members of St John’s, ran this highly successful youth group. Activities included a leadership camp at Mt Binga, participating in the zone rally, leading a zone youth worship service, a camp at Mapleton, disco nights and fortnightly fun nights that included a Bible focus time. The regular attendance in big numbers by the college students was exciting and phenomenal.
The notable attendance of students and families at the zone youth worship service led to discussion on taking the church to them, by holding services in the familiar surroundings of the college campus. So 14 October 1984 at 8:30 am the first worship service was conducted. There was no big fanfare, just a lot of nervousness wondering who might turn up. Average attendance during the rest of 1984 was 72. Some of those who came were from St John’s and others were parents and students from the college. The undercover area in Block A was the place where the school met for chapel and assembly, and a sanctuary area was set up with an altar and lectern. In 1986, when the first baptism was about to take place, it was suddenly realised there was no baptismal font! A salad bowl held by an elder made a good substitute.
‘We were amazed how new parents to the school would attend the worship services and make it their church’, one member said. A confirmation service was held 31 March 1985, with most of the confirmees having connections with the college; some were recent graduates. The teamwork of those who gathered at Redeemer was remarkable. Those who came to worship at the college for the first time didn’t see a slick worship space (it was anything but slick, with lockers all around the walls, and very draughty in the winter) but they did see people, their warmth and their fervour.
Our Saviour Lutheran Church was formalised on 23 March 1986 and it was agreed that the name of the former Lutheran congregation that had existed on Miles Platting Road would be a very fitting one for this new congregation worshipping within the campus of Redeemer Lutheran College.
Not everything that happened in these years was smooth sailing, but in spite of the human failings, God wonderfully blessed both Our Saviour and St John’s during the 1980s. Our Saviour saw the beginning of worship and ministry to youth on the college campus while St John’s had a ministry to children and their families that was amazing.
God was truly at work.