Vienna sends signals around the world

Ten satellites and eleven ground stations will make it possible: on Pentecost, the New Apostolic Church around the world will edge closer to one another and form one large congregation. And in the process the central divine service will return to the place of its roots.

Chief Apostle Jean Luc Schneider will conduct the divine service on 4 June this year in the Austrian capital of Vienna. The District Apostles and their Helpers will already assemble there a few days ahead of time for their spring meeting. Beyond that, the agenda in the “World Capital of Music” also includes a concert with two project choirs and an orchestra with a total of approximately 350 musicians on 3 June.

Like the concert, the divine service will take place in the famous Vienna Concert Hall, which offers seating for some 2,000 attendees. However, millions of New Apostolic members will once again be able to enjoy the divine service as well. This is because the event will be transmitted via satellite, fibre optic cable, and radio to more than 100 countries on all continents.

A transmission network encompassing the whole world

The Chief Apostle will serve in German and be translated into English phrase by phrase. The signal recorded in Vienna will then travel by satellite to Germany, to Neu-Isenburg, near Frankfurt am Main. There, in the studios of the Bischoff Verlag in Frankfurt, interpreters will stand ready to pass the message along in a total of 22 languages.

From the company premises, the transmission will be sent to the Eutelsat-satellites. For one thing, the latter will distribute the signals throughout Europe, Northern Africa, and parts of Asia. But on the other hand, the satellite will also link to two ground stations in Germany and Jerusalem, from where the transmission will reach ground stations on other continents via other satellites and fibre optic cable. These stations will in turn distribute the transmission by both satellite and radio signal to receivers in local congregations. Due to the time difference, the transmission to the Americas will be recorded and shown to the congregations at a later time.

Congregations in South East Asia and some African countries, as well as individual members who cannot be reached by satellite, can follow the divine service by internet. Participants will be authorised to do so by their respective District Churches. The Bischoff Verlag will stream the service by way of a provider in Dresden. Thirteen streams in various bandwidths and levels of quality—as well as different languages—have been made available for this purpose.

From sound to image

The New Apostolic Church has been broadcasting services in sound since at least 1946. The nudge to attempt a video transmission was given by Chief Apostle Hans Urwyler in 1983 after returning from a trip to America. He was also the one responsible for moving the central divine service as an annual event from New Year’s Day to Pentecost.

The big leap to international transmissions came in 1990—at the express request of Chief Apostle Richard Fehr: more than 270,000 members in seventeen countries throughout Europe witnessed a live video transmission of the Pentecost divine service. A real tour de force was required to make this happen, however.

It was also necessary—in the space of barely over a year—to stamp out a completely new receiving network: testing, seeking out, and acquiring suitable equipment, installing antennas, cables, and receivers, instructing local helpers—and all of this for around 830 congregations.

However: the premier was a success. And where did it happen? — In the Austrian capital of Vienna, from where signals will be sent once again, 27 years later.

Pfingsten 2017 Sendeweg.pdf Link

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