To service with the Richard F

Every Sunday, about twenty brothers and sisters are picked up at home by the Richard F and are taken to the Delta congregation.

The eight-metre motorboat that is used in the Tigre Delta region of Argentina is named after the former Chief Apostle Richard Fehr (1939–2013). The small white boat with a powerful outboard motor has been in service since 17 August 2002. Sunday for Sunday it serves as a water taxi for up to eighteen brothers and sisters who live in the Delta region—about 30 kilometres from metropolitan Buenos Aires (Argentina).

A second boat, with a capacity of up to 55 passengers, carries the name Maranatha, which means “Our Lord comes”. The motto of Chief Apostle Fehr has been painted on the boat in large black letters, port and starboard. The helmsmen, who are members of the congregation, have been trained. One of them is the rector of the congregation, Priest Miguel D'Addario.

On the water to divine service

“For the members of the congregation the trip begins at 7.30 every Sunday morning,” Viviana Aloy, correspondent in South America, says. “The families come down to the river’s bank early in the morning and wait for the boat to take them to church.” The trip takes them across the Tigre, the Lujàn, and the Abra Vieja—three of the 350 rivers and streams in the Delta region.

The twenty children of the congregation love their Sunday boat trip: “They have their breakfast on board,” Sister Aloy reports. That makes things at home a little more relaxed for the families on a Sunday morning.

A few steps from dock to church

The church building of the Delta congregation is typical for the region, and is made from bricks and wood. On account of it being very close to the bank of the river, the church is built on hardwood piles, for which quebracho and curupay wood is used. The church’s location directly on the banks of the Abra Vieja is a great advantage on the one hand, but it can also prove to be a challenge when the water levels rise or fall too much. When the water level is low, only the small boat can navigate the canals and side arms of the rivers, making it necessary for the Richard F to make several trips.

The Delta congregation is one of the few New Apostolic churches that has its own dock, making it fairly comfortable for the brothers and sisters to reach the church, which is just a few steps up.

Splashes and waves

“Anyone who strives for lofty goals must learn to remain calm at the helm,” Chief Apostle Fehr cited when he took office on 22 May 1988 in Fellbach in Germany. At the time, he most certainly did not have the small boat in mind that has now been taking members to church for so many years in South America and that carries his name. And sitting calmly at the helm is the captain-cum-Priest.

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