Equally created in the image of God, and equal in commission too

Both in terms of organisation and content, the most recent District Apostle Meeting was dominated by the coronavirus crisis. Yet not even the pandemic was able to stop the work that needed to be done on the future-oriented topics on the agenda of this conference.

Why even have an international District Apostle Meeting (DAMI) at times such as this? There are at least two reasons. One of them is of a legal nature: the Statutes of the New Apostolic Church International prescribe two District Apostle Meetings each year. The other reason has to do with content. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider wants to continue pursuing the agenda at hand. On this occasion, the conversation revolved around the subject of “man and woman in the image of God”.

Against the background of the pandemic, the District Apostles did not meet in Zurich for several days as usual. Instead, they assembled virtually for an abridged meeting by way of video conference. Since this conference encompassed several time zones, ranging from Australia to America, there was a dress rehearsal prior to this premier event.

How the Church gets through the crisis

The Chief Apostle opened up the meeting with a heartfelt prayer for God’s protection and aid. In so doing he focused on the special intercession: “Lord, help us human beings, whom You have created!”

Following this, the participants reported on the effects of the crisis in their respective countries: many congregations are still closed—or have been closed once again. In many places divine services cannot take place. Travel is limited, and Internet transmissions are not possible everywhere.

There are many who are deeply thankful that online offers are available to replace the cancelled divine services. However, there is no topping the in-person offers that incorporate the celebration of Holy Communion—all the Church leaders were agreed on that point.

Capturing the mood in the different countries

“We in the South-East Asian countries are pretty well set up in terms of technology, however, this only applies to the larger cities. In the rural areas, things look quite different,” explained District Apostle Edy Isnugroho from Indonesia.

“We have some rough months behind us in New York,” said District Apostle Helper John Fendt. And things are still challenging. However, he also went on to draw attention to the much greater urgencies in the Central American countries: on top of the existing problems, the people in Nicaragua and Honduras have also been struck by two severe cyclones within a short period of time. Hundreds of people have lost their lives.

The situation in Argentina is also worrying. At least the first congregations are slowly beginning to open up again, remarked District Apostle Enrique Minio with some reassurance. Whether the International District Apostle Meeting will still be able to take place in Buenos Aires on Pentecost 2021 is still unclear, related the Chief Apostle.

Human beings in the image of God

The main item on the agenda was the issue of equality between women and men as the image of God. The New Apostolic Catechism has the following to say concerning the matter: “Man and woman are both created in the image of God and therefore of the same nature. They were not only created with one another but also for one another, and have the same commission to have ‘dominion’ over the earth, in other words, to shape and protect it. This authority granted to mankind does not entitle them to deal with creation in a reckless way, however. Rather, because they have been created in the image of God, it is their duty to treat creation in a manner befitting divine nature: with wisdom, kindness, and love” (CNAC 3.3.2).

The fundamentals and conclusions resulting from the exhaustive discussions on this topic are to be summarised and published in a treatise on the subject. The treatise will first be circulated among the Apostles of the world, and will then also be published in a Special Edition of the Divine Service Guide.

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Andreas Rother, Peter Johanning
2.12.2020
District Apostle Meeting (DAMI)