Activity of the Spirit and love of neighbour

“Congregation of the Future” is the name of a European project group. One question is so fundamental that it has now been raised by the International District Apostle Meeting.

Since April last year, the project group has been working on various aspects of the topic “congregation”. One of these is: What is the task of a congregation? What resources and infrastructure are needed for this? And what are the criteria for founding, maintaining, or closing a congregation?

The whole subject starts with the question: what is a congregation in the first place—in a spiritual sense? Neither the Catechism nor other textbooks of the New Apostolic Church provide a definition. And because this subject deals with spiritual aspects and not cultural or organisational ones, it is not a regional issue, but an international one.

Assembly in a double sense

“The nature and duty of the Christian congregation in the spiritual”. This is the title of the paper that was on the agenda today, Thursday, at the conference of Church leaders in Zurich (Switzerland).

First, it looks at biblical designations and examples: the New Testament term ekklesia, for example, covers both the church as a whole and the individual congregation. This includes the assembly of Christians in the local congregation, as well as the community of all Christians in all places and at all times. And from the New Apostolic perspective, this incorporates believers from this world and the beyond.

Irrespective of person

The paper also talks about the congregation being a community of divine service in which the reality of God is experienced through sacrament, prayer, and preaching. The congregation is also a spiritual space in which faith is to be developed, experienced, lived in practice, and cultivated under the activity of the Holy Spirit.

The paper emphasises that the congregation is not defined by external factors such as its building, the number of its members, musical activities that take place, or other congregational celebrations. Rather: “The strength and credibility of a congregation is measured by the activity of the Spirit that believers can experience there and the brotherly love that characterises the coexistence of its members, irrespective of person.” provides an overview of other topics discussed by the District Apostle Meeting.

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