Hong Kong entrusted into new hands
It is as diverse as it is small: the multicultural congregation in Hong Kong. This Wednesday, the congregation experienced a historic divine service—and not only because the Chief Apostle was there for a visit.
The Hong Kong members were closer to heaven than most other New Apostolic congregations—until Easter 2018, that is. It was then that they had to move, namely from the Sheuung Wang Commercial Building to the Reason Group Tower. The move did not signify a fall from their previous heights, however: they were back to work in their new meeting premises soon afterward, once again on the twentieth storey.
A crucible of cultures
The beginnings of the New Apostolic Church in Hong Kong date back to the early 1970s. Ministers from Canada brought testimony of the newly established Apostle ministry to the area. A pair of brothers with the family name Lim were the first locals to be baptised and sealed—by none other than District Apostle Erwin Wagner. In 1980, a certain Urs Hebeisen—then still a District Evangelist—began living in Hong Kong. Little did he know that he would return barely three decades later as District Apostle.
The first permanent congregation came into being under the watchful care of Evangelist Ray Strang from New York. The congregation’s first gathering place was established in North Point. Over the years, the families Lam, Choi, and Kowk became the backbone of the congregation.
Today the congregation is a true reflection of Hong Kong society: a crucible of cultures and nationalities. It consists of Church members from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Europe, not to mention many travelling business people and visitors from all around the word. In 2013, a total of 148 members from ten different nations came together in the Eaton Hotel in Kowloon in 2013 to celebrate the congregation’s 25-year anniversary service.
From South-East Asia to Australia
One way or the other, the visit of Chief Apostle Schneider represents a milestone in the history of the congregation—all the more so because Hong Kong will now be transferred out of the pastoral and organisational care of the District Church of South- East Asia and into to that of the New Apostolic Church of Australia.
This task will be taken on by Apostle Peter Schulte, who will be appointed District Apostle in Brisbane in just a few days—on 30 September—for the working area. Together with Hong Kong, the new District Church will now also care for the countries of China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The Apostles responsible for the respective countries will become better acquainted with their new District Apostle today (Monday).
The previous Church leader, Urs Hebeisen, already bid farewell with a divine service yesterday (Sunday). He had assumed responsibility for most of these congregations in South-East Asia and the Far East from Canada in 2009. In November, his working area in classical South-East Asia will be transferred to the care of Apostle Edy Isnugroho from Indonesia.