A first: two District Apostles in one district
Fifty years ago today, two District Apostles were retired. Both of them had been active together in one district. Nac.today looks back on a first in the New Apostolic Church.
The rattle and hum of the express train from Dortmund to Basle drones along evenly on a hot summer day of the year 1965. Though he appears lost in thought, District Apostle Ernst Streckeisen is wrestling with his soul as he sits alone in one of the compartments. He is on his way back from Dortmund, where Chief Apostle Walter Schmidt has just asked him to take on the care of the members in the Württemberg area in addition to his current tasks. He had given the Chief Apostle his "Yes", even though the thought of his seriously sick wife at home weighed upon him like a heavy load. The question: "How is this all supposed to work?" left him no peace.
In Schaffhausen, District Apostle Streckeisen is abruptly torn from his thoughts. The compartment door opens, and standing before him are his wife and daughter, who fall into his arms and say, "We have come to meet you and tell you to exercise your ministry and not allow yourself to be deterred on our account!" Thus a great weight falls from the District Apostle's shoulders.
Retirement in Württemberg, Southern Germany
Wednesday, 18 August 1965 was approaching quickly. It was on this day that Chief Apostle Schmidt travelled to Stuttgart in order to retire the two District Apostles Georg Schall and Gotthilf Volz, and to introduce District Apostle Streckeisen to his new working area. In that evening service, the Chief Apostle paid tribute to the self-sacrifice and activity of the two Apostles. He dedicated a passage from Luke 12: 42 to them: "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?"At the end, he introduced the members to their new District Apostle Ernst Streckeisen.
Georg Schall – a kind father figure
Georg Schall first saw the light of day on 8 February 1886 in Steinenkirch, Göppingen district. He became acquainted with God's work of redemption as a young man, and was adopted and sealed at the age of seventeen. In 1907 he received his first ministerial commission. Chief Apostle Niehaus called him to Frankfurt as a District Evangelist in 1920 in order to provide support for the newly appointed Chief Apostle Helper Johann Gottfried Bischoff. In Frankfurt he received the Apostle ministry in 1923. In 1927 he was told to take leave of Frankfurt and return to Württemberg. The District Apostle Karl Gutbrod, who was responsible for the area, urgently needed some energetic and active support. In all levels of ministry and all tasks he undertook Georg Schall distinguished himself by his fatherly kindness and gentleness—among the members he was affectionately known as "Uncle Schall".
Gotthilf Volz – a Swabian patriarch
Gotthilf Volz was born on 13 February 1893 in Sindelfingen. Very little is known about his childhood and youth, as only scant records are available. Although he had been endowed with a strong will, and although he pursued his goals with great persistence, his personality was characterized by his always gentle and winning nature. In his earthly life this made him a successful and popular business man, and in God's work of redemption, it made him a respected minister. For him the focus was always on the members in the district and the wellbeing of the employees in the electrical appliance plant he had founded.
A very special era came to an end in Württemberg with the retirements of Apostles Schall and Volz. District Apostle Schall, who had led the district of Württemberg since 1938, had been given District Apostle Gotthilf Volz as a support. The reason for this unusual arrangement had to do with disagreements associated with the "message" of the Chief Apostle among the ministers of some of the Württemberg districts.
What had at first been intended as an interim solution turned out to be a ten-year period of blessed collaboration between the two District Apostles.