Coming together in the year 2016
It has been a year of coming together: mergers between District Churches, reconciliation among apostolic denominations, and reaching out to guests with a service for the departed. Following is a look back over the most important events of 2016…
Announced twice and executed twice: on an international level, the regional structure of the New Apostolic Church underwent some changes over the closing year. One of them was that the two previous working areas of Northern Germany and Central Germany were merged in June. The name of the new District Church: Northern and Eastern Germany.
Mergers and management changes
Yet another kind of merger in Germany was announced in December, although it will only be completed at the start of 2018: at that point in time, the working area of Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland will be merged with North Rhine-Westphalia under the management of that District Church.
In addition, the establishment of the new District Church of “Southern Africa” has not only been announced but is now also complete. It has resulted from an amalgamation of the previous working areas of “South East Africa” and “Cape”. The District Apostle there is the newly ordained John L. Kriel. The catalysts for the changes in Eastern Germany and Southern Africa were the retirements of District Apostles Wilfried Klingler and Noel Barnes.
In the meantime, the rapprochement of apostolic denominations continues. In February 2016, representatives from the United Apostolic Church of South Africa and the New Apostolic Church Cape gathered officially for the first time. And in September there was a meeting on an even larger scale between delegates of the New Apostolic Church and the Apostolischen Genootschap in the Netherlands.
And in October, representatives from the Reformed Apostolic Community and the New Apostolic Church in Eastern Germany announced a date for the signing of a declaration of reconciliation. The historic document is to be signed on 11 March 2017. Precursors for these developments included a Declaration of Reconciliation with the “United Apostolic Church” in North Rhine-Westphalia and a reunion of Apostolic Christians in Switzerland.
Commemoration and prayer
The first service for the departed with a uniform motto, which was also billed as a guest service in many locations, met with positive resonance in November 2016. The motto—“And your heart will rejoice”—was not only used in 2,800 participating European congregations, but also on other continents such as Africa, where 9,500 congregations in Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe enjoyed a video transmission of the divine service with Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider.
The year in brief
Young people from Argentina and Bolivia gathered for a collective youth day in Eastern Bolivia. A reciprocal invitation has already been issued for the coming year.
On the margins of his trip to the Far East, Chief Apostle Schneider took advantage of the opportunity to meet with district leaders from China.
Members in Indonesia bade farewell to their previous District Apostle, Alfons Tansahtikno, who passed away at the age of 72.
A new project known as “dwell”, which sets guidelines for interpersonal conduct, was introduced among the congregations in Canada.
In April, the first Pan-American District Apostle Meeting took place in Columbia.
Cuba, the land of the house congregation, received a new District Elder at the start of the year.
The kindergarten of the BNA-Humanitas Institution in Moldawia—which is financed by the aid organisation of the New Apostolic Church Switzerland—opened its doors for the first time.
The Apostles in Zambia had their hands full: for example, with 1,300 sealings in a single divine service.
A project known as “Konzeption Achtsamkeit”, which is a written declaration by ministers and other functionaries committing to a specific code of conduct with regard to the manner in which they treat people in their care, got underway in Southern Germany.
In South Korea the Chief Apostle visited the Imjingak Resort with its many reunion monuments, among them the Liberty Bell and the Bridge of Freedom.
Congregations in the USA celebrated a special family day: a divine service with dinner and a workshop intended to establish a new culture of mutual service.