19+1: The leadership board of the Church meets

The international leadership of the New Apostolic Church is meeting again at the end of this week in Zurich: how does such a District Apostle Meeting proceed? Who is in attendance? What will be discussed?

The International District Apostle Meeting (DAMI) usually takes place two times each year, most often in the Church's head office in Zurich. Here there is a conference room that is equipped to handle all technical and organizational needs. For example, this includes the ability to show presentations in up to three languages at the same time by projector.

The Church's actual leadership

To begin with, the invitees include all active District Apostles, which at present number nineteen around the world in total (see http://www.nak.org/de/kennenlernen/strukturen-und-amtsaufgaben/bezirksapostel-und-apostel/). Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider serves as Chairman of the group. This panel comprises the actual leadership level of the Church, according to the statutes of the New Apostolic Church International. In Paragraph 8 of the Statutes it states: "The District Apostle Meeting advises and supports the Chief Apostle in all matters concerning the Church and, together with the Chief Apostle, bears responsibility for the unity of all New Apostolic District Churches."

Also invited are the District Apostle Helpers, of which there are currently nine: although they too take part in the District Apostle Meeting, they do not have the right to vote. When resolutions are passed, the votes of the attending—or legally represented—District Apostles is what counts. A three-quarters majority is required in order to adopt a resolution. Often decisions need to be made on the calculations and elaborations prepared by various Project and Work Groups.

Everything begins in prayer

At the start of each day, the Chief Apostle opens the meeting in prayer. Since he is surrounded by his closest helpers, who are not so often with him, the prayer is a little longer and a little more emotional than usual. His view is always focused on the needs of the global Church. And this is also reflected in the petitions in his prayer, for example, the members affected by Ebola, the believers who suffer as a result of unrest and persecution in some countries, and the worldwide unity of the Church.

The meeting on 12-13 March will focus primarily on theological topics. At the top of the agenda are discussions surrounding our conception of ministry. This topic has regularly occupied a prominent place on the agenda for a year already. It is also a topic that Chief Apostle Schneider has already addressed in public on several occasions, for example in a panel discussion at the International Church Convention.

Theology and Church strategy

In the upcoming meeting, the District Apostles are also planning to engage in a workshop to discuss the topic of our conception of ministry, and thus bring all their personal experiences to bear. The debates on this topic are still in the process of first reading, which means significant resolutions are not anticipated. Aspects of Church strategy will also be addressed, for example, the question of the minimum standard that must be fulfilled in order for a congregation to be able to function. Here the cultural circumstances around the globe are extremely different: while some harbour the wish for a pipe organ, others in the past have been desperate just to acquire enough Bibles.

District Apostle Meetings for Europe, Africa, and Asia

In addition to the full worldwide assembly, there are also separate continental District Apostle Meetings. The European District Apostle Meeting also meets in Zurich. The last African District Apostle Meeting took place in October 2014 in Berlin (http://www.nak.org/de/news/news-display/article/18738/). There has already been an Asian meeting as well (http://www.nak.org/de/news/offizielle-verlautbarungen/article/16624/). This meeting centred on a presentation entitled "The Asian Way": "Step by step – no big jumps – the Asian way".

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Peter Johanning
District Apostle Meeting (DAMI)