Historic conference in the USA
Priests from the USA came together for a national conference in September. “Mosaic” was the theme for a conference that kept the North American ministers busy over a whole weekend.
“Unlike any other event ever hosted in the USA district, the National Priest Conference in September was a historical gathering,” the organisers say. The preparations for this unique conference took weeks, and it was well worth the effort, the New Apostolic Church (USA) says. Over the course of two weekends, almost 500 priestly ministers came together to be renewed and strengthened in the understanding of their ministry.
From spiritual gifts to minister development
At the beginning of each weekend—September 6–8 as well as September 20–22—the ministers had the opportunity to attend an exhibition that highlighted and reinforced the various resources and programmes in the USA district. At the same time, it was a place for asking questions and diving deeper. Ministers were able to gain insight into topics such as spiritual gifts, Faith Arc, small group discussions, music and worship, greeter and member resources, benevolence, giving, and perhaps the most applicable, minister development.
District Apostle Leonard Kolb opened the weekend by sharing his thoughts on the importance of each minister’s personal relationship with God. For him personally it means to be part of a mosaic created by God, he said. A mosaic is made up of preformed elements that when put together create a larger image or pattern of beauty. These diverse elements come together to form a coherent whole, just “as God’s servants, as part of the body of Christ, contribute to His mission on earth”.
Exploring and seeing the whole mosaic
The theme, Mosaic, carried throughout the weekend as the ministers explored the different elements of the divine service and how they can fit together to create a Spirit-inspired experience for all members that deepens their relationship with God.
Groups of approximately 50 priestly ministers rotated between presentations given by the Apostles on pastoral care, music and liturgy, preaching, the preparation for and celebration of Holy Communion, and sacraments and blessings. At the end of Saturday’s sessions and activities, the ministers were able to meet with their own Apostle and continue the conversation on the important aspects of their ministry and the expectations connected with it.
Celebrating divine services and the sacraments
The high point of each weekend was the opportunity to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. “Needless to say, these moments created a deeply moving experience that shall always be remembered,” a participant said.
For the divine services marking the end of the two conferences, District Apostle Kolb chose the themes “The sacrament of Holy Communion” for the first weekend and “The holiness and wonder of God the Holy Spirit” for the second weekend.
Called by God—for our neighbour
As each weekend came to a close with the divine service experience, District Apostle Kolb summed up the weekend with the following closing thoughts, highlighting the purpose of the conference once again: “… that each priestly minister understands and embraces his calling from God”, adding, “The fellowship and sense of unity among the brothers was truly an unforgettable experience.”