Building up the Church together
A youth convention without borders and music for the up-and-coming generation: these are two of the topics currently being discussed by the European District Apostles. They are meeting in Zurich (Switzerland) for their final conference of the year.
The District Apostles meet at the international as well as the national level. The international conference just took place in October in Perth (Australia). The main point on the agenda in Perth was the understanding of ministry of the New Apostolic Church. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider would like to consult with the Apostles on this issue again. Chapter seven of the Catechism supplies answers to the question of how the Church understands ministry. Additional questions will be discussed and dealt with as they arise.
The focus is on Europe
Continental District Apostle meetings serve to promote the uniform orientation in a region that shares a similar culture, such as in Europe. The points discussed at these meetings apply primarily to the European District Churches. One of the points on the agenda, for example, is the International Youth Convention being planned for 2019 in Düsseldorf (Germany). The Church leadership is expecting mostly European participants, but overseas delegations are invited and are very welcome—similar to the European Youth Day 2009.
Düsseldorf is ideal for an event of this scale. The city has an international airport and very large exhibition grounds, which proved to be ideal already in 2009 for the European Youth Day. The European District Churches in particular will organize and finance this mega event over the next few years. The overall co-ordination lies with an internationally staffed planning committee, spearheaded by District Apostle Rainer Storck (North Rhine-Westphalia).
Children love to sing. This is good, and is something the Church wants to encourage. That is why the music committee presented an idea for a new song-book for children of pre-school age. The book will contain simple texts and melodies for children up to the age of six. This new book will complement an already existing song-book in the German language, Stimmt mit ein, aimed at children of Sunday School age. Songs on God’s creation, the love of God, and the seasons will be included, as will songs of praise and thanksgiving, and for Christian festivals. The music will come from a variety of sources: some are well-known, while others will be newly composed or purchased on the market.
Grants for new church buildings
A big topic in Europe is the so-called Church Building Programme. Two years ago, the European District Apostles agreed on a new grant of 25 million euros to fund a building programme that will finance construction projects mainly in Berlin-Brandenburg and Central Germany. Members are to be provided with proper church quarters that will meet their needs. The plan is to reduce maintenance and operating costs in the future. The first building programme was launched in 2008 already, and five churches were built.