Approximately 60 people came together at Mortlake Uniting Church for Lorraine Tonzing’s final service as lay preacher. Visitors from Derrinallum, Terang, Mepunga and Warrnambool attended the service on 13 March, along with friends from the Anglican Church and Lorraine’s family.
Lorraine’s journey began in Kangaroo Flat Methodist Church, where she was baptised and confirmed as a teenager after attending a youth rally.
She developed a passion for working with children and was regional officer for the Council for Christian Education in Schools for many years.
After completing a lay preachers’ course in 1982, Lorraine took worship services throughout the Presbytery of Western Victoria. She later became parish assistant for Derrinallum, Mingay, Port Fairy, Terang, Heywood Parish and Warrnambool Parish.
Lorraine represented the Presbytery of Western Victoria on the synod’s Lay Preachers Committee for several years and served as president for one year. She travelled to presbyteries throughout Victoria and Tasmania during that time, meeting with lay preachers on Saturday evenings and leading worship services on Sundays.
At the end of 2006, Lorraine retired as a parish assistant and served as a lay preacher again. She took worship services in Allansford Parish, which included Wangoom, Grassmere and Mepunga, and Mortlake Parish, covering Mortlake, Hexham, Woorndoo and Ellerslie.
In a speech given at the service, Mortlake Parish member Merryl Tanner thanked Lorraine for her many years of ministry.
“Lorraine, we will certainly miss your regular leading of worship each fortnight, ongoing in the Mortlake Parish for the last nine years. You have been our loved minister,” Merryl said.
“Your generosity of spirit and compassion for others kept you very much in touch with the ‘ordinary folk’, and your faith is grounded in interaction with people in very practical ways, as well as prayerfully.
“We are all deeply grateful for your lifetime commitment to ministry in our midst over such a long period. The attention and dedication you have given to the small churches in a large radius around Warrnambool enabled those churches to stay open and be vital.”