Ushering in a new generation of leadership
It was the year of the District Apostle Helpers: over the past twelve months, the Chief Apostle assigned no less than three new ones. This is not by coincidence. In fact, there is a stated reason behind these changes. And it all has to do with the future.
He was active as a minister for exactly 45 years to the day, 29 of them in the Apostle ministry: District Apostle Wolfgang Nadolny retired on 22 May 2022. “We thank you for your work of love and faith,” said Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider, as he acknowledged the District Apostle’s close relationship with his brothers and sisters, his commitment, and his fatherly care.
Wolfgang Nadolny, a civil engineer by profession, had led the District Apostle area of Berlin-Brandenburg since 2005. In addition to the German federal states in his care, his working area encompassed the countries of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. With the retirement of District Apostle Nadolny, these areas were amalgamated with the New Apostolic Church of Northern and Eastern Germany.
A method to the amalgamations
It was the fifth amalgamation in six years: it all began in the year 2016 with the formation of the Regional Church of Northern and Eastern Germany, which combined the previously independent Regional Churches of Northern Germany and Central Germany. It was in that same year that the Regional Churches of the Cape and South East Africa were amalgamated to create a new entity known as the Regional Church of Southern Africa.
In the year 2018, the Regional Church of Western Germany was created through the amalgamation of the Regional Churches of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland. And last but not least, the Regional Churches of Argentina and Brazil/Bolivia amalgamated in 2019 to form the new District Apostle Area of South America.
These amalgamations are no accident: “If the District Apostles are to be fully involved in the governance of the Church, their number must not be too large. That is why we began to reduce the number of District Apostles, starting with Europe for example,” as the Chief Apostle already explained in an interview back in 2018.
Assignments according to plan
Even the assignment of the three new District Apostle Helpers has followed a clear strategy: “The demands on the District Apostles are tremendous, especially in a world that is becoming more and more complicated,” explained the international Church leader explained at the most recent ministerial act. That is why we cannot simply throw the new leaders into the deep end of the pool to see if they can swim.
Rather, it is important that these future District Apostles have an opportunity to familiarise themselves, to get to know their working area and its people, and to gain some initial experience of how to work together in the District Apostle Meeting. Against this backdrop, the three most recent assignments are to be understood as an element of succession planning:
- District Apostle Leonard R. Kolb (USA) will retire in the coming year. The name of his designated successor is John Schnabel, who was assigned as a District Apostle Helper on 7 August 2022. The former investment manager is 58 years of age and was ordained an Apostle in January 2022.
- In Southern Africa Peter Lambert will begin the new year by supporting the current District Apostle John L. Kriel. He is then expected to succeed him in this function in December 2023. The new District Apostle Helper, who is likewise 58 years of age, was in charge of the Regional Church’s famous musical work up until 2017. He was ordained an Apostle in 2015 and assigned as a District Apostle Helper on 4 December 2022.
- just over a week later, on 12 December 2022, Stefan Pöschel was assigned for the Regional Church of Western Germany, which is currently led by District Apostle Rainer Storck. His designated successor was born in 1968, works as a managing director in the waste disposal industry, and was ordained an Apostle in June 2019.
“It appears to be a huge task,” said Chief Apostle Schneider at the most recent assignment. “It is indeed big. It is great, and it is sacred,” But: “Don’t worry, with God we will manage it.”