A spirit of optimism in the Church
In many parts of the world, the third Covid wave still has a firm grip on society, but it cannot keep believers from building on their mutual bonds in the congregations. Here is some good news from congregations around the world.
New churches, new altars, in-person services, and seminars. A wave of optimism is spreading in the Church and the congregations.
A new place for God’s word
Thanksgiving Sunday in Madina, Ghana: The acting district rector, John Hammond, conducted a divine service on the topic of gratitude towards God. He based his sermon on Genesis 2: 2 – 3: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” The minister spoke about gratitude from behind a special place: members, who had wanted to express their gratitude on Thanksgiving Day, had donated a new altar to the congregation.
Building up the congregations
Meetings for ministers took place in Yekaterinburg and in Stockholm in September and October. The ministers were able to exchange ideas with their Apostles Marat Akchurin and David Heynes and discuss questions arising from faith in everyday life. In Stockholm, Sweden, a teacher training session took place at the same time; the teachers also discussed faith-related topics and fostered fellowship. The participants of both groups in Stockholm were treated to local specialities, and the highlight was a joint final service with District Apostle Helper Helge Mutschler.
Kick-off for a new church building
It was on a cloudy but rainless day in September that 120 New Apostolic members and other Christians met on the church property in Taucha, Germany, for the laying of the foundation stone of the new church. After the project manager’s speech, Bishop Thomas Matthes read Isaiah 45: 18 and wished the congregation that the church, just like the earth created by God, should not remain empty but that it should be a place that is inhabited and where God is present. He wished the congregation that it be a place of harmony, love, and forgiveness.
The mayor of Taucha, the architect, the pastor of the Protestant church, and the parish assistant of the Catholic church also spoke. The latter emphasised how happy he was that a church was now being built on the plot of land, which had once belonged to the Catholic Church.
Bishop Matthes placed a few items—including the official certificate, a recent issue of the Church magazine Unsere Familie, as well as copy of the local newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung, into a metal case and sealed it to form a time capsule. Children from the congregation and the neighbourhood then placed it in the prepared concrete.
Coming back to church
In Cuba the authorities had ordered the closing of churches right at the start of the pandemic. Although the country is currently experiencing a third wave with the highest number of Covid cases so far, the government has now decided to ease the restrictions.
On 31 October 2021 the first divine service could finally be held again. Even the heavy rains could not prevent the brothers and sisters from coming to church for the service. The sermon was based on Psalm 135: 6: “Whatever the LORD pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places.” The members were overjoyed to finally be able to join an in-person service and be able to see each other again and have fellowship. In the coming weeks, divine services will also be possible again in the other congregations in the country.