‌Singing, praying, cooking – doing things together

A cookbook, a wheelchair, and a compliant congregation. Together people can achieve so much more. This is what members in South Africa and Nigeria, the Philippines, and France and Germany experienced over the past few weeks.

Many hands make light work. The rector and maintenance team of Cleary Park congregation in South Africa recently met to discuss the health and safety of the congregation and started the process of getting the congregation compliant. In March, the congregation traditionally gears up for maintenance work. The maintenance team started by upgrading the first-aid box as well as the firefighting equipment. A family also donated a wheelchair to the congregation to make it easier for members with walking difficulties to take part in the divine services. Two phases remain to be completed in this project, and the congregation is excited to get started in March.

Seniors publish cookbook

Gut und köstlich (“Good and delicious”) is the title of a cookbook published by the seniors of the congregations of Güdingen and Fechingen in Germany. All the seniors joined in and paged through their cookbooks for their favourite recipes or old recipes that are almost unknown today. On 7 January 2024, the seniors then held the printed and illustrated cookbook in their hands. Next on the to-do list is a joint baking book.

Learning and playing

Everyone and anyone was invited: children, ministers, young people, adults. Various activities had been lined up and there was something for everyone. From Thursday, 14 December to Sunday, 17 December 2023, Apostle Godday Otonuya Odili invited the members and ministers of the Apostle district South Nigeria to a convention. There were lots of opportunities to join in and be part of it all: there was praise and worship, choir singing, board games, and table tennis. And anyone who wished was able to gain a deeper understanding of our faith and the New Apostolic Church in seminars. Apostle Geoffrey Nwogu also invited some ministers, choir members, and others to join him on a visit to a nearby orphanage.

The highlight was the divine service on Sunday. Apostle Nwogu used the Bible text from 2 Peter 3: 14: “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” Among other things, he explained to the nearly six hundred participants that one can only enter the kingdom of God by the grace of God. Two Deacons were ordained and a couple received a blessing on their marriage. It was hard for the brothers and sisters to part at the end of the event, but they were assured of another conference in 2024, which would coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the New Apostolic Church in Nigeria.

Blessing and sweets

The children of the congregation Metz in France were invited to a special divine service on Sunday, 18 February. The rector conducted a divine service especially for them and their parents. At the beginning of the service, the children put on a play about how Jesus blessed the children. One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Jesus, but He told them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18: 16). The rector went on to explain to the children what this means. After the divine service, there was a quiz where correct answers were rewarded with sweets.

Pastoral care and preaching

It was a historic moment: District Apostle Edy Isnugroho was the first District Apostle to visit several congregations in the region of Northern Mindanao in the Philippines at the end of February. He was accompanied by Apostles Samuel Tansahtikno and Leonilo Desoloc and conducted divine services in Ban-ban, Hinatigan, Libasud, Tidman, and San Isidro. The District Apostle and the Apostles also attended the annual meeting of the NACSEARelief aid agency in Butuan, as well as a concert in preparation for the divine service for the departed.

Young and old

The various generations in the Bingen-Bingerbrück congregation in Germany came together for a family service on 7 January 2024. The congregational event began with a sing-along before the divine service began. The focus of the divine service was our annual motto “Prayer works”. The children had already put some thought and work into this before the service and distributed cards with the question: “What are you praying for?” The completed cards were attached to a prayer board at the end of the divine service, symbolising collective and individual hopes and wishes. The day by no means ended with the divine service. Everyone stayed and celebrated the birthdays of some of the members over tea, coffee, and cake.