At home around the world: Old Europe and young Africa
Europe and Africa — two different continents, two different cultures. In Europe, the membership numbers of many churches are decreasing, and even New Apostolic congregations are being closed. But the Church is growing in other places.
Transfer of official operations in Slovakia
As of 1 January 2016, the New Apostolic congregations of Slovakia will be served by the District Church of Switzerland. Before that, the District Church of Central Germany had been responsible for all the operations of the New Apostolic Church in Slovakia since 1993. In future, ministers from Austria will travel to the Central European republic. On Sunday, 9 August 2015, District Apostle Wilfried Klingler conducted his last divine service in Bratislava. Also present at this event was Bishop Jürgen Müller from Vienna. He will from now on be responsible for all official operations of the Church in Slovakia. A choir from Saxony, which had for many years supported the musical endeavours of the congregations in Bratislava and Komarno in exemplary fashion, provided a festive musical backdrop for the divine service.
Largest congregation in Zurich-Wiedikon closes its doors
The largest New Apostolic congregation in Zurich is located in the city quarter of Wiedikon. The last divine service was conducted there on 23 August 2015. Bishop Ruedi Fässler performed the deconsecration of the church building.
The then District Apostle Ernst Eschmann had dedicated this building as a place of worship on 30 January? November 1952. A total of 24 divine services there had been conducted by a Chief Apostle. For example, on 19 November 1978, it was in this place that the then District Apostle Hans Urwyler officially succeeded the recently departed Chief Apostle Ernst Streckeisen. Other special moments included the last two divine services conducted by the Chief Apostle: on Wednesday, 25 May 2011, Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber visited the fully occupied church. And on the fourth Sunday of Advent 2014, it was the current Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider who retired Apostle Heinz Lang in a festive divine service there.
In future the congregation will assemble in the new church in Albisrieden. District Apostle Markus Fehlbaum conducted the dedication service on 30 August. The two congregations had already been amalgamated three years before, first in Zurich-Wiedikon, and now in Albisrieden. The combined congregation presently numbers 585 members.
Divine service for musicians in Tafelsig
Music in the divine service is divine worship. Every now and then, District Apostle Noel Barnes invites the musicians of his District Church to a special divine service in order to strengthen and equip them for their many tasks. On this occasion, namely on Sunday, 18 August 2015, the musicians of the greater Cape Town region assembled in the gigantic Tafelsig church. All Apostles and Bishops of the District Church were present. The divine service was based on the third verse of Psalm 40, "He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord." In the afternoon there was a public concert in the Silvertown church. The programme featured Mendelssohn's "Elijah". The concert was performed by the choir and orchestra of the New Apostolic Church of Cape Town, under the direction of Brandon Phillips, who was recently appointed chief conductor of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (we reported).
Apostles and Bishops assemble in Dennekraal
In August of each year, all the Apostles and Bishops of the Cape District Church assemble for several days of conferences. This year they did so in the Dennekraal Recreational Centre from 13-15 August 2015. District Apostle Noel Barnes shared some thoughts from the international Church leader, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider, with the participants. Other topics were also addressed, among them a presentation concerning the question as to why one is New Apostolic. Subjects concerning Sunday School and youth care were also discussed in detail. One of the resolutions passed in this conference was to conduct a statistical survey of all members of the District Church to see how the new Catechism in Questions and Answers has been received.