At home worldwide: Together in Christ
Worldwide, Covid made getting together in the congregation almost impossible. Now that the restrictions have been relaxed, people are excited that they can finally see each other again and do things together.
Back in congregational fellowship
Finally, we can get together again, talk and laugh together, and make music. This was possible again for the members of the congregation in Madrid in Spain starting 2 April. At 9 a.m. on the chilly Saturday morning they met at a family’s farm. The day officially began at 11 a.m. with a prayer. Then there were games and quizzes from the youth for the children, which they were only able to solve as a team. Afterwards two sisters took to the stage and taught the others how to dance a little jig to a song in Lingala “Ysu azali away” (Jesus is with us). Another game prepared by the youth was to show the congregation what “Together in Christ” means. It required members to answer questions and take a stance on certain subjects: “Who is always late?”, “Who sometimes feels lonely?”, or “Who comes from the African continent?” They discovered that the motto the Chief Apostle had issued for the year does not mean that all are the same, but that everyone can answer the question of “Do you feel loved by God?” with yes. Lunch was potluck style to which everyone had contributed. A little girl thanked God for the food. In the afternoon there was lots of time for games and activities and The catching up.
Also in the district of Algrange-Metz (France) it had been impossible for the members to get together because of Covid. Finally, on Pentecost Monday, a public holiday, they were able to follow an invitation by the young people to the grounds of the church in Metz. The youth had created a fair-like setting with booths and all kinds of activities. Everyone could try their skills in archery, volleyball, table tennis, boule, or duck fishing. There was food galore. As everyone enjoyed lunch and had ice cream, coffee, and pastries afterwards there were many conversations, and everyone, including the guests, felt very happy that it had been such a beautiful day.
The seniors from Kirchheim in Germany had also missed not being able to do things together. It had been far too long. As soon as the restrictions were relaxed they met for a hike. The trail was interesting and there was lots of time to catch up along the way. Afterwards they stopped for lunch.
Youth activities big and small
A large number of young people came together for their Day of the Youth in Guéckédou (Guinea) from 8 to 10 April. The young people not only had a lot of fun together but also learned a lot. For example, they worked together on topics related to offering or leadership in the congregation. Apostle Saa Marc Leno came for the closing service. He based his sermon on Philippians 1: 6: “[I am] confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The 27 young people who came together in Oslo (Norway) on 13 March also had a lot of fun. Apart from fun and games, the Oslo youth also explored the different aspects of the 2022 motto. They discovered that faith, love, and hope are the elements that connect us.
Fellowship for young and old
The children and young people from the district of Schwäbisch-Hall (Germany) and their teachers enjoyed a day of fellowship on Saturday, 9 April. Relaxed Covid restrictions made the outing possible. The children and young people used the day to prepare for the Chief Apostle’s visit to their district on Ascension Day. The young people had written a script for a film. Props were still needed so that anyone who wanted could help make them. While everyone was busy, the filming began, and the young people could use their talents in front of the camera or behind it. The finished video was sent to Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider as a welcome message from the district.
The congregational rectors and their wives of the district of Paris (France) decided to put the annual motto into practice. They travelled to Châteauroux on the Pentecost weekend for a tour of the city. They visited the American Museum and the Bertrand Museum and learned a lot about the city’s history. There was also plenty of time to catch up over lunch. On Sunday the rectors and their wives joined the congregation in Châteauroux for the Pentecost service.
Something special had also been planned for the ministers and their wives in Sweden. Apostle David Heynes had invited them all to Gothenburg for a weekend of fellowship.
Fellowship despite physical distancing
The fact that people can be connected in spite of being physically separated was demonstrated by some brothers and sisters in Germany. For many weeks they had joined the online services that were being broadcast from Vienna-Donaustadt in neighbouring Austria. When the rector of the congregation in Vienna retired, he and the congregation received a parcel with messages of thanks from the online congregation in Germany.