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From the Principal

Pastor John Paech (5/9/1922 – 23/2/2012)

It is with sadness that I share with the Luther College community the news of the passing of Pastor John Paech, the founding principal of Luther College.

Pastor Paech began the formidable task of guiding Luther College in its founding years when he accepted a call from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia Board of Higher Education to the position of Principal in 1962. When recalling these events, Pastor John Paech said: “The fact that the Church offered a year’s study at the University of Melbourne for the Diploma of Education gave me some assurance, albeit with the full knowledge that I would need much divine guidance and support… “

As a parish pastor and with a deep interest in Christian education at all levels, Pastor Paech faced the task of founding Luther College with a degree of confidence. In addition to theological studies at Concordia Seminary, Adelaide, he had graduated in Arts at the University of Adelaide, and a Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne in 1963. However, he felt quite keenly the disadvantage of not having progressed through the ranks of a secondary school as a teacher, thereby gaining necessary teaching insights, before assuming control of the
new school. The way he overcame this initial disadvantage and established himself in this highly responsible position was through a deep personal Christian commitment – something that those working closely with him at the time learned to admire. He ‘ran a tight ship’, but his ability and willingness to compromise won for him the cooperation and respect of those around him.

Pastor Paech was installed at a Service of Dedication on Sunday 9 February 1964. Two days later, 11 February 1964, the first Luther College school year began with a staff of seven teachers
and an enrolment of 53 students. Twelve months later the school had grown to 140 students and by 1968 Luther College was a two stream school of 264 students and was already expanding its facilities.

Not only was Pastor Paech the Principal, he was
also a classroom teacher of Doctrine, German, Geography and Library and held a strong interest and involvement in clubs and sports in which students participated. He, together with his wife Edna, also a teacher at Luther College, retired in 1980, after serving for 17 years.

“Bell, Clock and Cross”, the book written to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the College in 1988, includes a prologue from Pastor Paech, in which he writes, “To refer to the title of this history, Luther prayerfully aims to encourage its students to learn ever more fully to let their lives ring out clearly and joyously like bells to God’s glory; to devote the hours marked by the clock to thankful service to Him and their fellowmen, using their gifts and talents which the School has sought to develop; and always to look up in faith to the cross of Christ, whose love for them, even to death, is their salvation from their sin, their eternal hope, and their constant motivation in this life.”

Pastor John Paech lived these words every day in his service to God. We give thanks for his dedication to the work of the Gospel and especially for his service to Luther College, which laid the spiritual foundation of all that we hold dear here today.

Pastor Paech was laid to rest in Horsham on Tuesday 28 February.

Vale,Pastor John Paech

Michael Kleidon

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