Thankful towards God and the neighbour
Envious, jealous, or even resentful? The month of October gives us an opportunity to express our gratitude for what we have—something we can certainly do throughout the rest of the year too. Following is a look at congregations around the world.
Grateful for trust: full membership in the Council of Christian Churches
Luxembourg. “What made me really happy was the unanimous resolution by all the representatives of the religious denominations,” Apostle Clément Haeck writes. He is responsible for the congregations in Luxembourg. On 2 October the Luxembourg Council of Christian Churches awarded the New Apostolic Church in Luxembourg full membership on the national level. The New Apostolic Church was awarded guest status in 2015. At the time, the Church received a letter stating that its presence and collaboration in the Luxembourg Council of Christian Churches is desired.
Twenty-one religious denominations, among them the Catholic Church, Protestant Churches, the Reformed Protestant Church, the Romanian-Orthodox Church and the Serbian-Orthodox Church all voted yes. Full membership represents a “great acknowledgement for our Church and for all of us,” the Apostle wrote. “We are very grateful for the trust that the other churches have placed in us!”
In addition to Luxembourg, the New Apostolic Church also has other national memberships in ecumenical associations in Europe—for example, in Switzerland and the Netherlands. The national churches are also active on an ecumenical level in India and Argentina. In Germany there are now numerous local associate memberships as well as three memberships in regional assemblies of the Association of Christian Churches (ACC), including the federal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Baden-Württemberg, and Hamburg. Discussions with the ACC are also underway in Germany on a national level.
Grateful for ministerial service: Apostle Stephens retires
South Africa. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider placed Apostle John George Stephens into retirement on 15 October 2017. The Apostle had served the Church in various ministries over 44 years. In his address the Chief Apostle explained that in addition to preaching and pastoral care the Apostle also contributed his administrative skills to the Church’s management board. Both District Apostle Noel Barnes and District Apostle John Kriel valued his assistance. Chief Apostle Schneider said: “We are thankful that you did this leadership work with humbleness, wisdom, and knowledge. It was a blessing for the Church and something we will continue to benefit from in the future. Thank you for that.”
Grateful for the harvest: Thanksgiving celebration worldwide
India. “It’s Erntedank time again” the website of the New Apostolic Church India says in a combination of German and English, and goes on to explain that the festival is popularly called Thanksgiving in India and other countries. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to express our thanks to our Creator for seedtime and harvest, for the weather, for the big and the small things. Congregations throughout the world offer their thanks to God. In many countries this festival is celebrated on one of the Sundays in September or October. In the United States and Japan it is celebrated in November.
Meet and greet: the Chief Apostle in South Africa
South Africa. While in South Africa, Chief Apostle Schneider used the opportunity between meetings, concerts, and divine services to put in a planned stop at the congregation of Ocean View. He was accompanied by District Apostles John Kriel, Joseph Ekhuya, and Enrique Minio, as well as District Apostle Helper Patrick Mkhwanazi. He was greeted with shrills of joy and excitement by the Sunday school children of the area. Each of them vigorously waved a flag representing all the areas in the District Church of Southern Africa as well as the flags of France, Argentina, and Kenya.