A different take on church buildings

A blood donor clinic with a view of organ pipes, birth registration in front of the altar, and meals under the emblem … Typically, church buildings are sacred places, but sometimes they also open their doors for a good cause to serve the broader community.

Not only for the barbecue

They all came to support a good cause. More than one hundred volunteers came to the New Apostolic church building in Metzingen, Germany, at the beginning of August to donate blood. Every year at the beginning of the summer holidays the church building opens its doors to support the blood donor clinic. The main hall is used for registration, blood is donated in the Sunday School room, and the sacristy is used as a recovery area where the donors can rest. And in the large car park there are always sausages, steaks, and potato salad to thank the donors. Many helpers are always there to organise the proceedings, to barbecue, and help with the setting up and dismantling. And of course half the church district comes to donate blood.

Doing the broader community a great service

Golden Gate church in South Africa was a hive of activity on Thursday, 6 July 2023, serving as a hub for the community to help people with birth registrations and apply for identity documents. Home Affairs, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Bishop Lavis, hosted a drive at the church to assist people with late birth registrations and appointments for ID documents. In total, one hundred late birth registrations were recorded and 132 ID appointments made. “For the first time in the history of Golden Gate, Home Affairs officials were assisting the people with late birth registrations,” said Pastor Wesley Moodley, who launched the drive. “Parents have been struggling for years. They have been sent up and down. Now they have a sense of direction to get their lives back on track.” The New Apostolic congregation did the broader community a great service by making its church building available.

In the centre of the congregation

During the week of 17 July 2023, Knysna congregation church premises in South Africa served as a Joint Operation Centre (JOC) for the Knysna municipality emergency services. Two individuals were reported missing in the Knysna area, and the authorities requested the use of the church premises as an operating centre as it was central to the area being investigated. The leaders gladly obliged, and the municipality management expressed their gratitude to the New Apostolic Church for assisting during the ongoing search. The church leadership was happy to support the project.

The word of God and our daily bread

At the beginning of February 2024, an era will end with the closing of a former church building. Over the course of about one hundred years the building in Bielefeld, Germany, was used mainly for church services. When the congregations moved to another church building in the 1980s, the former church premises served as a youth centre. Many youth services were held there often followed by seminars. So that the young people could get something to eat in between, the rooms of the old church building were redesigned and a large kitchen and plenty of space for eating were created with help from the young people. The converted church, which was soon nicknamed Cafeteria Bielefeld, offered space for youth meetings, congregational festivities, and many other events. Now the building has to be closed.

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