One faith, one church
Who or what is the New Apostolic Church? In any case, it is more than just one individual church. In fact, legally speaking, it is an association of independent churches. What makes it a global entity?
Congregations and districts are the basis of the ecclesial structure. The congregations and districts organise their activities locally in a largely independent manner. The district and congregational rectors, for example, make sure that the members receive pastoral care and that there are officiants to lead the services, that the young people have leaders who look after them, and that the children have teachers and teaching material.
The districts are combined into socalled Apostle Areas. Currently, 325 Apostles are active worldwide. Sometimes they work in several countries, sometimes in only a part of a country. Bishops assist them. It is their joint task to ensure the proclamation of the gospel and the dispensation of the sacraments. In regular meetings they also decide on fundamental questions concerning the administration of the respective District Church.
The legal aspects
What does District Church mean? These are the constituent parts of which the New Apostolic Church is legally composed. In most cases, a District Church encompasses the territory of an individual state, sometimes only part of a state. This depends on the number of members and the historical development.
Not every District Church has its own administration, whose task consists of organising and financing the building of churches, the procurement of communion wafers, and supplying teaching material. These tasks are centralized at the next higher level, the District Apostle Area.
Organisation and finances
The New Apostolic Church currently has a total of 15 of these entities worldwide. And some of these regions are very large. The working area of District Apostle Mark Woll, for example, does not only cover his home country of Canada, but numerous other countries in Africa and Asia as well. He is assisted by District Apostle Helpers John Sobottka, Frank Dzur, and David Devaraj.
The District Apostle Area (DAE) is the administrative level where the money that is deposited in the offering box in the congregations or is given via eoffering is pooled. The tasks of the DAE are, however, primarily of a spiritual nature: the uniformity of pastoral care must be ensured, the congregations must be provided with ministers, and the unity of the Apostles must be fostered.
Doctrine and apostolate
And how do these many New Apostolic Churches become an entity? This is the responsibility of NACI, the New Apostolic Church International. It is an umbrella organisation under Swiss law, which all active Apostles of this denomination are a member of. Its president and supreme spiritual authority is the Chief Apostle. The central decision making body of NACI is the District Apostle Meeting. Fundamental decisions are reached by this body, which then apply worldwide. This body is supported by various working groups composed of experts in a specific field or by committees that deal with finances or spiritual content.
This is how the liturgy came into being, which has made our divine services around the globe a uniformly shared experience since it was initiated during the 2010 Advent season. In the same way, our concept of ministry with the ministerial levels of Apostle, Priest, and Deacon was developed; it has been in effect since Pentecost 2019. And this is how the Catechism came about that was published in 2012. It acts like a bond that ties together our commonly held beliefs and unites all Church members. Congregation – district – Apostle district – District Church – District Apostle Area – NACI… These are the constituent parts of the New Apostolic Church; one faith, one Church.
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