At home around the world: sacristy, conference centre, and hotel
The places where ministers sanctify themselves, have discussions, and engage in training can be very different. And it is definitely not always on a Sunday that they get together.
“In his conduct and spiritual competency, a minister must live up to certain requirements. The sanctification received through ordination must be put into practice by the minister so that the gifts he has received can unfold to the blessing of the congregation.” — This is how the Catechism describes the exercise of a Church ministry. But in very practical terms, a minister’s sanctification and the promotion of his spiritual competency also includes regular meetings and training. And this is offered around the world, every week, in both larger and smaller circles.
A seminar for ministers in Russia
“I welcome our ministers from Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Belarus, and Russia,” said District Apostle Wolfgang Nadolny as he began his seminar. He went on to note that, although the group was comprised of many different cultures and traditions, “these differences do not divide us because the Holy Spirit establishes the necessary connections between us and promotes our love for Christ.” So reports the New Apostolic Church of Berlin-Brandenburg concerning a meeting of over 340 ministers in Moscow, which took place over the last weekend of April.
Apostles and Bishops gave lectures on the Catechism and discussed the significance of pastoral visits and pastoral care for the grieving. But there was also some instruction on conflict resolution. The several-day event concluded with a divine service conducted by District Apostle Nadolny with ministers and members in the congregation of Moscow.
A rectors’ weekend in Germany
It was also at the end of April that rectors from the local congregations of the District Church of North and East Germany gathered with the Bishops and Apostles of their district. District Apostle Rüdiger Krause had invited them to this event, and some 100 leading ministers met up for a lively exchange in Visselhövede.
The agenda included presentations, workshops, and a divine service together on Sunday morning. In addition, there were opportunities, during breaks and over dinner discussions, for ministers to take ideas and inspiration from others for their own work—which was of benefit to all the participants, whether they had decades of experience or whether their insights into congregational management were still relatively recent.
A meeting of the DSG authors
It is not often that the Apostles and Bishops who draft the Divine Service Guide gather for meetings. But yesterday, the time had come again, and so it was that leading ministers gathered in the Church office in Waterloo, Canada for the annual meeting on the North American continent.
The “Divine Service Guide” is the most important monthly publication for ministers of the New Apostolic Church. This is not a pre-formulated sermon template, but serves as an aid to ministers in preparing for divine services. Some 25 authors around the world work on the Divine Service Guide by mandate of the Chief Apostle. Once complete, the resulting articles are translated into over 70 languages and distributed around the world.
A workshop with Church leaders in Canada
At the turn of the month, District Apostle Mark Woll (Canada) met with the Apostles, Bishops, District Elders, and District Evangelists of the District Church of Canada. In Nottawasaga, which lies north of Toronto, the ministers worked their way through a lengthy agenda that included spiritual topics, Sunday School, music and choir, the so-called “Dwell” program, pastoral care, and many other subjects. In nearby Newmarket they then enjoyed a divine service together on 30 April.
A work group in Togo
Apostle Komlan Abalo is responsible for the members in Togo. This West African country is home to 1,000 ministers in 340 congregations. The Apostle has invited some lead ministers to form a work group. At present, these District Evangelists and District Elders are working on the development and promotion of the congregations and church districts, and meet up after service every Sunday. Last Sunday they were together in the congregation of Hedzranawoe.
A total of 111,000 Deacons, 110,000 Priests, and another 40,000 Evangelists, Shepherds, District Elders, Bishops, and Apostles serve in 60,000 congregations all around the world. They gather regularly for meetings and discussions on a local and regional level. Sometimes these are simple meetings that take place in the sacristy, but at other times they might also involve flipcharts, laptops, and projectors.