At home worldwide: new church buildings
Building new churches nowadays is not that easy. There are many obstacles. Either there is not enough money or the members of the congregation or politicians are against it. Following are some positive examples.
“New churches are always a joy for the believers,” District Apostle Urs Hebeisen from the Philippines says. “Who does not like to move into a new house?” And this was the case in Semarang, a port on the island of Java, on Thanksgiving this year. A few weeks later, on 12 and 13 December, the district rectors from Indonesia gathered for their National Assembly in the new church. District Apostle Hebeisen conducted a divine service for them in which he spoke about the construction of the temple in Jerusalem and the gifts that were brought by the people so that it could be built. They not only gave willingly but were also very happy. “This is a beautiful picture for building the church and working on our own soul’s salvation,” the District Apostle said. “Let us also offer our gifts and strength, and support the building of God’s temple and contribute to the accomplishment of God’s work and thus our own salvation.” The first church in Semarang was built in the year 1979. Over the years the building began to deteriorate and even risked to collapse on account of soil erosion and rising water underneath the building. The church was not fit for occupancy any more. A new lot was envisioned, but a permit could not be obtained. Finally, a contractor had the solution: he removed the old structure and stabilized the lot with piles and a steel platform.
A new church building is under construction for the New Apostolic congregation in Greven. The work is progressing so well that the topping-out ceremony took place recently. The church is expected to be finished in the second half of next year. It is centrally located on one of the main roads in the region. Apostle Schorr, who is responsible for the area, opened the ceremony with a prayer. In his address he said that he hopes that everyone will feel welcome and at home in the new church. Together with the rector and the architect he placed a time capsule—containing newspapers, an issue of the Unsere Familie, chronicles, and photos—under the spot where the altar will stand. The church has been designed in the form of a cube. The clearly elevated nave and the flat single-storey annexe are built on a rectangular base. The floor-plan of the church hall is square and calls for 150 seats. The 32 windows lining the top of the church hall will be designed by Lea Schulz-Dievenow, a glass designer. She wants to illustrate the cycle of life on the four walls of the nave, symbolized by the four seasons.
The New Apostolic congregation in the city of Lich near Frankfurt recently moved into its new home. District Apostle Bernd Koberstein dedicated the new church. “God is here!” he said. “The doors of the church are open for anyone who seeks an encounter with God. Everyone is welcome!” The construction of the building took a year. The church is not only beautiful but also functional and offers seating for about 110 church goers. The design of the stained glass windows was chosen by the members of the congregation, who were shown a number of designs to choose from. The windows were designed and built by Jostmann Glass Design from Paderborn. The electronic organ with an acoustic radiation system has two manuals, a 30-note pedalboard, and 34 registers.
Rudi Congregation in Tanzania, located in the country’s interior, also has a new home. District Apostle Joseph Opemba Ekhuya recently dedicated the new church. It offers seating for 300 people. Much of the construction was done by the members in self-help. The Church offices in Dar es Salaam contributed money for the completion of the interior.