Joy and contemplation in our congregations

‌The period preceding a service for the departed or the season of Lent, which we are currently in, are a good time for contemplation and prayer. ‌‌Many took the time to do so, creating joy for themselves and for others. Here is news from across the globe.

For some children, the divine service for the departed is maybe a sad day on which they remember the loss of a loved one, for others it may be abstract because they have not yet lost someone they love. The religious instruction students and confirmands from the congregations of the southern district in Spain decided to prepare for this day so that they would understand its significance. On Wednesday 28 February, they met up and first let off steam outdoors. Then they had lunch together, also outside. They then visited stone trenches in Granada, which hail from the time of the Spanish Civil War that took place between 1936 and 1939. They also visited the site of a mass grave, where people had been buried who were killed during the war. Together, they remembered the victims in prayer and took time to reflect. The children comforted each other with a group hug.

A divine service for the living and the dead

A total of 444 participants gathered for the divine service for the departed in the congregation of Ndosho in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Only God can say how much larger the congregation was in the beyond. There was joy all around in Ndosho and the brothers and sisters happily greeted the ministers. Bishop Abasi Kalume used the Bible text from Psalm 139: 8–10: “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Everywhere, in this world as well as in the beyond, those who believe in God can rely on God’s presence and help. That was the main message of the service. The Bishop spoke about the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God and said that it was good for everyone that God’s wants to save all of humankind, including those who have already died.

Space to reflect during a Lent concert

The chamber choir of the New Apostolic Church in Stuttgart, Germany, introduced the season of Lent with music. On 25 February, In the Protestant church in Ehningen, the choir filled the space with musical reflection. There were thoughts of repentance, the realisation of one’s own weakness, but also the comforting confidence that God is kind and supports us. The choir performed works from the Renaissance to the Romantic period, à capella or accompanied by strings, oboe, and organ. Readings from Psalms 51 and 143 rounded off the programme. Donations were collected and benefited the Protestant church building in which the choir was allowed to perform.

Colour beach walk

‌Every year, the Sunday School teachers and co-ordinators from Apostle Gerome Mintoor’s Apostle Area in South Africa meet for a walk on the beach. Teachers from various districts gather and walk along the beachfront to foster fellowship and build team spirit. This year, they met on 24 February in Happy Valley and came colour co-ordinated. Apostle Mintoor opened with a prayer, welcomed all the teachers, and rendered a few words of encouragement. When everyone returned from the walk it was time to showcase what each district was made of. There were war cries, dancing, singing, and so on. There was laughter and joy, and everyone enjoyed each other’s company.