Praising God and celebrating fellowship
Music brings people together whether in congregations, districts, or even across continents. In many New Apostolic congregations around the world, members sing and make music to praise God and celebrate fellowship.
Spontaneous music in the congregation
At a picnic of the district of Algrange-Metz (France) the performance of the youth choir ended in a sing-along. The brothers and sisters had come together on 28 August to have a barbecue, do sports, play games, but above all to spend time together and get a chance to talk with one another. The youth choir sang some rousing songs at the end and during the last song “Confiance en Dieu” (Trust in God) everyone got so carried away that they just had to join in.
Also at the long-awaited get together of the Noord district in the Netherlands there was a lot of music to be heard. After the two districts of Assen and Groningen had been merged at the beginning of 2020, the members had to wait more than two years until they could finally get to know each better. The day’s programme offered something for everybody: in addition to plenty of food there was also speed dating or the opportunity to get one’s nails painted for a contribution to the youth fund. And of course there was also music. Although a sudden thunderstorm made everyone run for cover in the church, it was not long before everyone was back outside and singing and dancing again.
The long way of musical instruments
A music stand from Emden, a guitar from Bad Oeynhausen, a viola da gamba from Salzgitter, melodicas from Hiddenhausen, a clarinette from Aachen, and recorders from various other congregations in Germany. Following a renewed appeal for donations, a New Apostolic sister from Oeynhausen had her hands full dealing with people’s overwhelming willingness to donate. Not only New Apostolic congregations donated musical instruments and money, but also music teachers from music schools and choirs from Protestant churches.
Musicians in three countries were absolutely delighted with the instruments. In Congo-Brazzaville, Apostle Aldin Bifiga presented the instruments to the orchestra; in Ghana, Lead Apostle Benjamin Ohene-Saffo took on this joyful task; and in Togo and Zambia, the eagerly awaited packages were distributed so quickly that the Apostles will probably already be able to enjoy the music the next time they are there. In Togo, for example, the brothers and sisters gave their first concert with the new instruments on 28 August already.
The strains of Ukraine in Germany
Oksana Dondyk was a successful soprano soloist and the conductor of various choirs in Ukraine. She conducted the Khreshchatyk Academic Chamber Choir, for example, with which she won several international choral competitions. But then the war came and she had to flee her home with her children and also leave her career behind. She found refuge in Frechen in Germany, where she came into contact with a New Apostolic Deacon, who immediately noticed her and her daughter’s musical talent. He invited, Olha, Oksana’s daughter, to a youth outing to a theme park, and the congregation gave mother and daughter the opportunity to practise in the church.
Oksana organised the performance of a quartet with other Ukrainian women for the 1st of May, a public holiday. They sang at an ecumenical prayer for peace in the Protestant church. She went on to found the vocal ensemble Ukraine, which is made up of young Ukrainian women with musical talent who had fled their homeland. She wants to familiarise people with Ukrainian music, traditions, and culture and promote Ukrainian culture in Germany while in exile.
On 14 August the ensemble had its first official performance at the cultural centre for people with and without disabilities in Frechen. Before that, however, there was an unofficial concert as a thank-you for the New Apostolic congregation in Frechen after the divine service on 7 August. The young women sang three sacred songs and four folk songs, touching the audience with their performance. The folk songs included scenic elements.