The Chief Apostle’s visit to Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento is the name of the city in Uruguay that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will visit over the weekend. On his agenda are two divine services and a Day of the Youth.
The interior of Uruguay is verdant and lush. Montevideo, the national capital, is said to be a house with a garden (la casa con jardín)—because of the rolling hills and plains in the hinterland. Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America and is situated between Argentina to the West and Brazil to the North. On the East it straddles the Atlantic Ocean. The city Colonia is located on the Río de la Plata, which is known for its huge estuary. This is the Chief Apostle’s destination, this old and venerable colonial city on the Río de la Plata.
Not far from the city, the New Apostolic Church Uruguay owns and maintains a recreation area: La Caballada (which means “horse”). Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber inaugurated a considerable part of the huge property in March 2012. About 2,500 people can gather here for divine services.
On Saturday, 16 March 2019, the young people of the country will celebrate their annual Day of the Youth—this time with the Chief Apostle. The youth service will be transmitted to congregations in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay. The Chief Apostle will be accompanied by the hosting District Apostle Enrique Minio, Raúl Montes de Oca from neighbouring Brazil, and Wolfgang Nadolny from Berlin (Germany).
An accepted Church
The New Apostolic Church is represented throughout the country. There are a total of 105 congregations, 515 ministers, and more than 10,000 members. The Church has a legal status and is officially recognised by the Ministry of Education and Culture and other government agencies. The Council of Christian Churches of Uruguay (CICU) has awarded the New Apostolic Church observer status. Representatives of the CICU have also been invited to the Day of the Youth.
In addition to the youth service on Saturday, the Chief Apostle will conduct two more services: on Friday and Sunday. Both will take place at the recreation area.
It all began in Montevideo
New Apostolic Christians from Europe, mainly from Germany and Switzerland, brought their faith along when they emigrated to the South American country in the early 1930s. Montevideo was their starting point. The first New Apostolic services took place in people’s homes and later in other premises. In the beginning, the services were held in the German language. Godofredo Rufenacht was one of these pioneers. He was a Swiss who settled in Colonia Cosmopolita in 1932, where he started a cheese dairy. Thanks to the future Apostles Gantner and Toplisek from Argentina, he heard about the New Apostolic Church. He worked zealously in his new Church so that eight congregations could be established within the space of a few years. In 1950 Rufenacht was ordained as a District Apostle.
Today Apostle Herman Ernst is responsible for the New Apostolic Church in Uruguay.