At home worldwide: Sharing joy and sorrow
Life is varied. Misery and elation alternate, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is making it difficult not to feel overwhelmed. But there are always hopeful little stories that encourage and point to a better future. Here is a small glimpse.
Western Pacific: virtual Christmas concert
There is probably no place on earth where people will be able to celebrate their typical Christmas this year. One highlight this year, however, will be an online Christmas concert in the District Apostle Area Western Pacific, which is all the more astonishing because the district covers a huge area with many different countries, cultures, and time zones. Yet there is a deep sense of togetherness among the congregations across national borders. All members are invited to participate. Anyone wishing to do so is asked to select a Christmas themed song and submit a recording: either instrumental or vocal, solo or in a group. Any music chosen needs to be free of any copyright restrictions. The District Church has issued a list of songs approved for use. All submissions must be received by 30 November 2020.
We wish this project every success and hope that we can all delight in it.
Austria: in-person services suspended until further notice
All state-recognised Churches in Austria have agreed to suspend public church services for the time being. Although the Churches in the country are autonomous, with their own canon law, they want to support the government’s measures to contain the pandemic through this voluntary agreement. Austria has enforced a strict lockdown until 6 December 2020 because of rising Covid-19 infection rates. The New Apostolic Church has also consented to this agreement and will suspend in-person services until further notice. Online services continue to be broadcast, however. Funerals or pastoral care for people in need, the seriously ill, or the dying are still permitted.
Several New Apostolic District Churches are unfortunately affected by the suspension of divine services. We think and pray for all people who are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saxony: associate status in the ACK
The New Apostolic Church in the German federal state of Saxony was awarded associate status in the Council of Christian Churches in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland, ACK) on 17 October 2020. In January 2019, the Apostles Jens Korbien and Ralph Wittich signed the “Application of the New Apostolic Church Northern and Eastern Germany for admission as an associate member with an advisory vote to ACK Saxony”.
The New Apostolic Church is thus represented in the regional councils of the ACK in almost all German states.
Moldova: A new Bishop
For the first time in its history, the District Church Moldova has its own Bishop. The assignment should have taken place several months ago already, but had to be postponed because of Covid-19 restrictions. At the beginning of November now, District Apostle Jürg Zbinden from Switzerland was able to visit Moldova and assign District Evangelist Stefan Gavriliuc as Bishop. He will be responsible for the pastoral care of the brothers and sisters in Moldova and in the districts of Braila-Galati and Suceava in Romania. Congratulations, Bishop!