Reasons to celebrate
Although there is a lot of suffering in the world, people also have reasons to celebrate—some more, some less, and sometimes for no particular reason at all.
Twenty congregations in Argentina celebrated special anniversaries last year. The members of Valentín Alsina 1 and Gerli were able to celebrate the founding of their congregation 85 years before. So that as many members as possible could participate in the divine service without compromising on physical distance in the church, two services were conducted on two different days. Bishop Pablo Basso came to Valentín Alsina on Saturday, 4 September 2021, and to Gerli on Saturday, 18 December 2021. A day later, Apostle Guillermo Canesa visited the other half of the two congregations.
The congregation of Saavedra in the northern end of the city of Buenos Aires celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary and the congregations of Lanús No. 3, Bahía Blanca No. 1, and Oberá celebrated their sixtieth anniversaries.
Six congregations commemorated their golden jubilee in the past year: Adogué, Arturo Seguí, Lourdes, Paternal, Zárata 1, and Villa Esmarelda. The congregation of Villa Esmarelda was even able to celebrate its jubilee on Christmas with a special visit from the District Apostle.
Nine congregations marked their twenty-fifth anniversary over the past year: Santa Rosa, Santa María, Francisco Solano No. 4, La Plata No. 3, Los Hornos No. 2, Médanos, Temperley No. 2, and Veinticinco de Mayound Villa Tesei.
Celebrating a new beginning
In Belfast, Ireland, New Apostolic Christians celebrated the establishment of a new congregation. Although regular divine services had been conducted in Belfast already about thirty years ago, congregational activities had been suspended because of political unrest. Shortly before the Covid pandemic began, several sisters and brothers had come together and expressed the wish to open a congregation in the city. However, it was only last year that it became possible for the congregation to actually be established. Two Priests from Zambia and South Africa were reinstated.
The members in Belfast do not, however, have their own church yet, but are very glad that they can use the premises of the South Belfast Quaker Meeting House.
Celebrating their youth
Young people don’t need a special reason to get together and celebrate. At the end of last year, for example, some young people in the Philippines and in Guinea came together for a local youth day.
In Guinea, which is in West Africa, the young people assembled for a three-day event. One afternoon they memorised the ten Articles of Faith in their local languages. Afterwards, using the melodies as a lead, they tried to connect the printed hymns with their counterparts in their local languages.
The young people also proved their penchant for creativity the following evening, when they became artistically active and put on plays based on biblical themes. The youth get-together ended with a divine service conducted by the Apostles Saa Marc Leno and Nema Jacques Condé.
Celebrating the new church
The first divine services in the Santa Catalina neighbourhood in Montevideo, Uruguay, took place as early as 1990, albeit in the home of one of the first members. The congregation was officially established three years later. In 2003 then the congregation found its own place of worship. The then Bishop Raúl Montes de Oca dedicated the premises on 12 December that year. Starting in 2012, the congregation moved to a hall.
Last year the congregation finally moved into its own small church. It was dedicated by Apostle Herman Ernst. He based the divine service on 1 Thessalonians 5: 6, 11: “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
Guinea, Philippines, Ireland, Argentina, Uruguay, dedication/inauguration, church social, Congregational life