Education, a priority
Education is high on the agenda—also in the New Apostolic Church: from children to seniors, in our own congregation and outside of it, generally or very specifically. Here is a look at some of the things going on in the Church in the way of education.
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider put education on the New Apostolic Church’s agenda, at least in Africa. The Church’s own teaching programme was in the focus of the Apostle Meeting that took place at Pentecost 2015 in Zambia. “Instruct the ministers, and establish Sunday School for children in all congregations,” the Chief Apostle appealed to the Church leaders. “This is my agenda for Africa.”
And this is the course the regional churches are taking. At a recent conference the Apostles in East Africa addressed the subject of training ministers and those involved with music in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Sudan. Meanwhile, the Apostles, Bishops, and senior teachers met for a two-day seminar with their District Apostle in Ghana.
But Africa is not the only place where educational opportunities are offered. The two latest examples: South-East Asia just started its own academy. And in the western part of Germany a series of seminars just ended on the topic of “Pastoral care for addicts and people at risk of addiction”.
Even without a ministry, many people are busy working in the church. And to be able to do this, the teachers need training themselves. There is a good example in Sierra Leone to illustrate this. The Apostles, Bishops, and senior teachers from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Ivory Coast met for a presentation of new teaching material. And, as in other parts of the country, the latest information together with basic knowledge was then passed on to the teachers in the eastern provinces of the country.
Others with special functions in the Church also received training. In the Netherlands, for example, there was a workshop “Singing with children”. In Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone there was a workshop for editors involved with PR work for the Church.
Education is one way to help people help themselves, and at the same time it is an important means for the Church to fulfil its charitable commitment. The Jörg-Wolff Foundation of Germany recently presented scholarships to the three best pupils of schools run by the New Apostolic Church in Sierra Leone. The NAC SEA Relief Fund awards similar grants to students in the Philippines.
Together with NAK-Humanitas from Switzerland, the South-East Asian aid organisation helped rebuild classrooms after they were damaged by a typhoon. NAK-karitativ from Germany is currently involved in building a preschool in a township in South Africa.
The two European organisations do not only direct their focus on foreign projects, but also support projects at their own door-step. NAK-Humanitas has supplied funds to “Forum écoute”, which helps train deaf people in the French-speaking part of Switzerland to read lips. And NAK-karitativ supports refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and other countries now living in the western part of Germany.