A friendly challenge over two continents

When two compete it can spell trouble … sometimes. But not so with Andrew Andersen and Mark Woll. The two District Apostles have entered a special kind of competition. But they are not the only participants.

A sporty outfit, grim faces, dramatic music. The District Apostles of Australia and Canada came up with good ideas for their video clip advertising the 2015 Move-A-Thon. This friendly competition is all about raising as much money as possible for charity by covering as many kilometres as possible—and preferably more kilometres than the competing District Church.

Canada sets the bar …

What is unusual about this friendly challenge is not only the field of participants—about 90 congregations in Canada, and 70 in Australia and New Zealand—but also the fact that the two friends will compete with a distance of 6000 sea miles between them and a 147 days apart.

It is going to be tough. The congregations between Halifax and Vancouver in Canada already showed in the year 2013 that they are a force to reckon with. At their first Move-A-Thon, a purely Canadian event then, they had set themselves a target of 150,000 dollars and 6000 kilometres. In the end, over 214,000 dollars were raised and a total of 10,000 kilometres covered either by walking, jogging, cycling, or paddling.

... and raises it another notch

For 2015, Canada set the fundraising target at 220,000 dollars and 12,000 kilometres. With the help of professional fundraising software, a website was created as a common platform. Everyone participating was able to register there and even easily create their own mini-page with some text, photos, and a fundraising thermometer. The address of the mini-website was communicated by email or through social networks. Anyone wishing to donate online and by credit card simply clicked the “Donate Now” button.

The proceeds from the 2015 Move-A-Thon will go to homeless people. Some 230,000 Canadians lose their homes and end up on the streets every year. The New Apostolic Church Canada also supports other causes such as soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and medical initiatives which help these people.

Australia has accepted the challenge

The New Apostolic Church Australia plans to use the proceeds from the Move-A-Thon to launch its own charity, something that does not exist in Australia yet. “Many brothers and sisters have expressed the desire to help people affected by natural disasters, and they would prefer to do this through the Church,” District Apostle Andersen says. The Move-A-Thon in Australia will start on 24 October, when spring starts and the temperatures warm up. Information can be found at www.newapostolic.org.au.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Canadians have already completed their Walk-A-Thon. On 6 June everyone—from Sunday School children to seniors—did up the laces of their running shoes or hiking boots or hopped on their bikes or into the canoe. How much money was raised and how many kilometres were covered will only be announced once Australia has finished its Move-A-Thon.

And the loser of the friendly challenge …

Three important goals have already been achieved by the country-wide event in Canada. For one, awareness has been raised that there are people in the middle of our society who desperately need help. Secondly, the fellowship in the individual congregations was strengthened as was the sense of togetherness of all Canadian brothers and sisters. And, finally, the New Apostolic Church Canada presented itself as a vibrant community, visibly illustrating its motto “Faith, family, friendship, forever”.

Go, go, go! Who the winner will be, whether the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, will only be seen in early November. What the defeated District Apostle will have to do, however, has already been decided. The “loser” will have to wear the winner’s T-shirt for a whole weekend. So before long, we may well see a kangaroo in Canada or a maple leaf in Australia.

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