How a pioneer drew attention to his cause
It is 1972: a tall man in a black suit sits in the park and waits. At some point someone comes up to talk to him. Their conversation marks the beginning of the New Apostolic Church in the Philippines. Today our members there look back on fifty years of Church history while also looking forward to the anniversary celebration.
The man in the black suit was a Canadian by the name of Herbert Pache, who was living in Japan at the time. District Apostle Michael Kraus had called upon him to help spread the New Apostolic faith around the world. And Herbert Pache thought to himself that it would surely be helpful if he were to do so in an unusual manner.
So there he sat in Rizal Park in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, wearing a black suit in the tropical heat. This attracted the attention of a number of individuals, among them Carlos Gayon. He and his family were the first people in the Philippines to receive the sacrament of Holy Sealing. After another family was adopted a year later, it was possible to establish the first congregation in Sampaloc.
Lots to do on the inaugural visit
When Apostle Erwin Wagner visited the island state in December 1979, he dispensed the sacrament of Holy Sealing to 100 believers and ordained numerous Deacons and Priests. In addition, the many new congregations were given the necessary structure.
The social, economic, and political situation had a profound effect on the people of the Philippines. Many of them were in search of security and meaning in life. And they found these in the churches. Since the state also granted religious freedom, the number of members and congregations in the churches began to grow. The New Apostolic Church likewise experienced tremendous growth during this period.
Small and large churches
The new congregations needed to be both presentable and flexible. They had to fit into the various neighbourhoods and adapt to the risk that a given community might grow rapidly, shrink, or disappear altogether. Just as the urban economy was growing, the churches in the big cities grew and the churches in the rural areas declined.
Over the years that followed, larger central churches were built in some of the larger cities where Apostles and Bishops also lived. One of these representative churches was dedicated in Makati in 1994.
The 18th of January 2009 was a historical date for the New Apostolic Church in the Philippines. It was on this day that Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber established the District Apostle area of South East Asia and appointed Urs Hebeisen to lead it as District Apostle. As of 18 November 2018, this function has been performed by District Apostle Edy Isnugroho, with the support of Apostle Samuel Tansahtikno, who leads the congregations of the Philippines.
Going to work with love
In 2004, a tsunami raged across the Indian Ocean, killing many people and unleashing a wave of solidarity around the world. The Church in the Philippines suddenly had a great deal of financial resources at its disposal. A well organised apparatus was needed to ensure that the aid would actually reach those who needed it the most. That is how the relief organisation NACSEARelief came into being, which is registered as an independent organisation but makes use of financial resources and the pastoral network of the New Apostolic Church.
Anticipating the Chief Apostle’s visit
The members of the New Apostolic Church in the Philippines, who have now grown to more than 40,000 in number, are looking forward to the Chief Apostle's visit to their country on the occasion of the Church’s fiftieth anniversary. The Chief Apostle will conduct three divine services in the Philippines. The anniversary divine service on 16 October will be transmitted throughout the entire country. “Since many of the nearly 1,500 congregations are located in mountainous areas, some of them will be merged, and our brothers and sisters will gather in places where there is an internet signal,” explains Apostle Samuel Tansahtikno.
Preparations are already underway in Tupi, where the anniversary service will take place. “The choir members are participating in choir practices with joy,” relates Apostle Tansahtikno. The Chief Apostle will also perform some ordinations and retirements: Apostles Cleofas Bual and Alfredo Pascual will retire, and the Chief Apostle will ordain the two District Elders Medie Sabal and Freddie Nuyad as Apostles. Apostle Tansahtikno: “We are very much looking forward to the visit of our Chief Apostle, and the fifty-year anniversary of the work of God in the Philippines.”
Philippines, Chief Apostle, missionary journeys, Divine service, Congregational life