Church's new minister

Naracoorte Lutheran Church's new minister Shaun Manning. Photo: Laura Sneath
Naracoorte Lutheran Church's new minister Shaun Manning. Photo: Laura Sneath

A long way from home - Naracoorte Lutheran Church has welcomed a new minister Shaun Manning.

Growing up in Melbourne in a non-religious household, Shaun was grateful when he turned over a leaf in his life and found God.

He studied to become a minister in Adelaide, and was transferred to Naracoorte for his first placement.

"I grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne (in a) non-Christian home," Shaun told the Herald.

"I came to faith as a teenager. It was a big surprise to my family. I moved to Adelaide to start (studying) when I was 19."

Shaun said he wanted to "start fresh" and move to another state and get his life on track.

"I started taking my faith seriously ... then I stumbled across a Lutheran Pastor - he was a big influence for me.

"After getting to know him a little bit, I came into the Lutheran Church (and) was baptised when I was 23."

One year later, and Shaun began his five-years of studying to become a minister.

"You have to study biblical languages - Hebrew and Greek as a foundation. You learn about the history of the churches and then go more into pastoral theology.

"In my final year, (I had) to do six months of being a vicar and you shadow a qualified pastor."

Luckily for South East residents, Shaun was placed in Naracoorte, and we're all excited to welcome a friendly face.

"The first place you end up is not your choice. So they have 20 something vacancies around the churches in Australia and New Zealand."

Seven new ministers graduated at the same time as Shaun, and were sent all over, including Strathalbyn and even Mildura.

Shaun told the Herald he received a "warm welcome" upon his arrival at the church.

"I guess I'm a city boy and enjoying the country life a bit. It's a lot different, (especially) knowing things aren't as accessible, like clothes shops."

Despite the changes, Shaun is happy he was placed in Naracoorte, and said the "humble nature" of country people has made the transition easier. The 29-year-old is adjusting to country life nicely, and with his fiancé right by his side, he's hoping to make a lasting impression at the Lutheran Church.