Recorders echo throughout South Africa

Poverty, violence, and unshakeable faith: this is what best describes the place the Chief Apostle will visit next weekend. The fate of two young women says a lot about the life of the people here.

She was killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout: Chrissandra Oppermann had just come home from a youth outing. Some 800 people attended Chrissie’s funeral in the New Apostolic congregation of Netreg and paid their last tribute.

Bishop Lavis is the name of the Cape Town suburb in which the 30-year-old youth leader lived. Deaths like hers have become a sad fact of everyday life here. Though home to the largest police academy in South Africa, the Lavistown precinct has the highest prevalence of gang and drug-related crime in the country.

A career that started in a children’s choir

Someone else who grew up in Bishop Lavis, but whose life took an entirely different turn, is Paxton Fielies. As a 17-year-old, she won the 2017 South African Idols casting show.

Her career as a singer began in the New Apostolic Church, with the NAC Children Choir. Despite her success, she has remained faithful to the Church. Staying grounded is the plan for this young star. And the most important factors in her life are God, her family, and music. Last year, Paxton performed at the Young Peoples Convention of the Church at Cape Town Stadium.

A 40-year wait for a church building

Whether in distress or success, faith is what gives the Church members there stability and hope. And how unwavering their faith is, is shown by the history of the congregation Lavistown. Members attended divine services in homes and classrooms for approximately forty years before receiving their own church building. This was due to a legal technicality which barred the Church from acquiring land in the area.

A breakthrough was made in the late 1980s, when the local municipality could be convinced that a church building was needed to accommodate the members. Land was acquired and a beautiful church building, able to accommodate up to 2,000 members, was built.

Children invite children

This is where Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will conduct two divine services this coming weekend, 11 and 12 May. Both will be transmitted to receiving stations across the District Church Southern Africa.

The divine service for children on Saturday will be very special. The children will be seeing to the greater part of the music in this service. The grand finale, a special recorder piece, will not only be played in Lavistown, but simultaneously in all connected congregations. The estimated number of participants is 60,000 performers.

Children across the District Church have been practising for this since last October, and not only they. The Apostles and Bishops led by example and learned to play the recorder as well. The children’s service is the first highlight of the Year of the Child, which the District Church has proclaimed for 2019. Friendship Day, which traditionally takes place in September, will mark the end: the children will invite their friends to an outing, to a divine service, and to make music together.

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