Neighbouring districts to merge 2018

“Not only in Africa are there plans to merge neighbouring church districts, but also in Germany.” This is how, the official website of the New Apostolic Church, announces a pending third merger.

The focus of the merger is on western Germany: the District Church Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland will come under the same roof administratively and pastorally as the District Church North Rhine-Westphalia. This also affects numerous countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America who are looked after by these two District Churches.

Apostles support decision

The reason for the merger is that District Apostle Bernd Koberstein of Hesse will turn 65 in the coming year and plans to retire in February 2018. With a view to the development of the Church in Europe, Chief Apostle Schneider decided to amalgamate the latter’s working area with that of District Apostle Rainer Storck’s, North Rhine-Westphalia.

“District Apostle Koberstein and His Apostles will be happy to prepare this merger and support District Apostle Rainer Storck actively,” the Chief Apostle informed the District Apostles and District Apostle Helpers at the end of November. “I am very grateful to them for this.”

Forging ahead confidently

This morning, the two District Apostles informed the congregations in their working areas. During a video transmission of a divine service in his working area, District Apostle Bernd Koberstein described this merger as a decision driven by reason. “We have been considering this for a long time,” he said. “It is the deep conviction of my Apostles and myself that this will have a beneficial effect.”

In a letter that was read to the congregations in his district this morning, District Apostle Rainer Storck said that he will take these new responsibilities on with a great deal of respect and humility. “Together with the Chief Apostle I am confident that our heavenly Father will lay His blessing on this decision.”

Neighbours move closer

In addition to the western part of Germany, the new working area will be comprised of 42 countries mainly in West and South-East Europe, in the Near East, and in North and West Africa. Thirty-five Apostles, assisted by 21,000 additional ministers, will look after more than 5,100 congregations with approximately 570,000 members.

That means there will be three mergers over the space of three years. In June 2016, the District Churches Northern Germany and Central Germany merged under the name “New Apostolic Church Northern and Eastern Germany”. And at the end of the year, the two districts in South Africa—Cape and South-East Africa—will merge under a single District Apostle. The name of the new district will be “New Apostolic Church Southern Africa”.

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Andreas Rother