Perth welcomes the leaders of the Church
Two thousand kilometres to the nearest city and yet in the middle of a metropolitan area. This is where the District Apostles are convening for their second international meeting this year: originally called “place with plenty of sun”, it is now better known as Perth.
Perth is perched on Australia’s west coast. From here to the next big city it is more than two thousand kilometres. This makes metropolitan Perth with its two million people probably the world’s most isolated state capital.
The beautiful city on the Swan River is just on two hundred years old. The Indian Ocean is right on its door-step. The City of Perth only has 12,000 inhabitants, but the metropolitan area around it is the fourth largest on the continent. The climate for most of the year tends to be moderate. The sun shines ten to fourteen hours a day, which is why Aborigines call this place Alunga, meaning “place with lots of sunshine”.
Here is where the leaders of the New Apostolic Church will come together for their second conference of the year. On the agenda are topics such as our understanding of ministry, teaching material for children, and training modules for ministers. A jam-packed programme is waiting for the Chief Apostle and the District Apostles.
A busy week
Andrew Andersen, the host of the conference and District Apostle of the huge district of Australia since 2001, does most of his travelling by air because of the enormous distances. He is very relaxed and radiates peace and experience. He says: “Perth is indeed a special city. Western Australia, whose capital it is, comprises an area of 2.6 million square kilometres. This is a third of the entire continent.” There was only a single congregation in the city for many years. Meanwhile, there are six. Beyond the city limits, the nearest congregations are Albany (400 kilometres), Geraldton (400 kilometres), Karattha (1,500 kilometres), and Darwin (4,000 kilometres).
Everybody is excited about the visit of the Chief Apostle and the District Apostles, the District Apostle says. A number of meetings have been planned. But the two-day conference of the District Apostle Meeting is of course the most important for the international Church leaders. On Sunday, 23 October 2016, the Chief Apostle will celebrate a divine service at Perth Concert Hall.
The New Apostolic faith was brought to Australia by immigrants—mostly Europeans who made their way to the fifth continent to begin a new life. Around the 1880s there were New Apostolic Christians, farmers, among the immigrants who settled in Queensland in the south of the country. They not only cleared land and worked hard on their farms, but also joyfully brought testimony of their faith.
They were full of energy and highly motivated otherwise they would likely not have survived in the Australian bush at that time. And they had their faith! They not only built houses for themselves, but also churches in the middle of the bush. For them, Sunday was the day of the Lord and going to church was part of it, even if it meant hours of walking.
In the first half of the twentieth century, most immigrants who came to Australia settled in the cities—not in the country any more. They also built churches, founded congregations, and testified of their faith.
Around 1980, the New Apostolic Church Australia started to work across the South Pacific in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
Photo: Lev Kropotov - Fotolia