Trebaseleghe: looking forward to the Chief Apostle’s visit
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will be in Italy this coming weekend. He will be in Trebaseleghe, 25 kilometres north of Venice. The congregation is looking forward to the special visitor, everything is ready.
“What distinguishes Italy from a New Apostolic point of view?” No one can answer this question better than District Apostle Helper Jürg Zbinden. He knows the Italian congregations well. For many years he looked after the congregations in Italy as a Bishop and later as an Apostle.
Small and heartfelt
What distinguishes the Italian congregations is the special connection between everyone. “The congregations are far apart,” he says. And they are small, but there is a strong inner connection. Their distinguishing feature: small but heartfelt. The majority of the members live in the north of Italy, is how he explains the disparity that exists between the north and south. This is also reflected in the social reality of the country: the infrastructure in the north is better than in the south. Unemployment is higher in the south, the District Apostle Helper says, although unemployment is generally high in Italy. “Youth unemployment in particular is a problem. There are no prospects so that our young sisters and brothers move north or go abroad.” Despite all the cares and worries, the members are refusing to give up, Apostle Zbinden adds. “There is a deep faith and an impressive willingness to make sacrifices.” Community spirit is a big thing in Italian society, the Apostle explains. “I know every congregation, all the ministers and members, and we are very close to this day.”
The congregation in Trebaseleghe is active and joyful, he says. “It radiates a lot of strength and is musically very active.” Jürg Zbinden, a Swiss national, held his first confirmation service in the Italian language there. He has happy memories of this. “But I also conducted my first funeral in Italian there.” He loves to visit the congregation.
The New Apostolic Church in Italy is comprised of 45 congregations in five districts. There are some 2,300 members who are looked after by 82 ministers. Responsible for the co-ordination of all the pastoral work in the congregations is Apostle Rolf Camenzind.
Everything is ready
Everything is ready for the Chief Apostle’s visit. The first choir practice of a combined choir took place in February. Choir members from far away congregations joined the local choir. “Such a visit by the Chief Apostle has to be well prepared,” Apostle Zbinden says. On Saturday, a meeting of the district leaders is planned. And the service on Sunday morning will take place in the church—to the congregation’s great delight. The entire district Nord-Est is invited. In addition to Trebaseleghe, this includes seven additional congregations: Bozen, Forlì, Modena, Rimini, Trient, Udine, and Villa di Cordignano. The service will also be transmitted throughout Italy, to Ticino (southern Switzerland), and Spain. The Chief Apostle invited the Apostles Hans-Jürgen Bauer and Gert Opdenplatz from Germany to join him in Trebaseleghe.