Gratitude reflected in a richly decorated church
Our churches are seldom this colourful … With richly decorated altars, New Apostolic Christians the world over celebrated Thanksgiving over the last weekend. Follow us as we take you through the image galleries of the social networking sites.
Fruits, vegetables, ears of corn and grain, and in some churches even a big variety of canned food … This is how many congregations presented themselves over the last weekend—especially in South Africa, Canada, Europe, and South East Asia. It is a sumptuous way of expressing our gratitude to God in response to the petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
One occasion, different dates
The tradition of thanksgiving celebrations goes back to the time before Christ. Already the Greeks and the Romans gave thanks for a bountiful harvest. The Jewish religious calendar even celebrates two agricultural festivals: Shavuot (“Festival of the Weeks”), marking the beginning of the wheat harvest, and Sukkoth (“Feast of Tabernacles”), an autumn festival, celebrating the harvest’s end. These feasts go back to Exodus 23: 16, “… and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labours which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labours from the field.”
According to historians, Thanksgiving first came to be known in Christianity during the third century. There has never been a uniform date, not least of all because the harvest occurs at different times of the year—depending on the climate zone. In Germany, for example, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Sunday in October. That is also the day on which the New Apostolic Church celebrates Thanksgiving.
Impressions from around the world
In Canada, for example, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is celebrated on the second Monday in October. But the New Apostolic Christians in Canada celebrate their Church Thanksgiving, as they fondly call it, on the first Sunday in October. The traditions are similar as in Europe. In the United States the national day of thanksgiving, which is also a public holiday, is celebrated at the end of November—not only out of gratitude for a rich harvest, but also for all the other blessings the people have received over the past year. The Thanksgiving celebrations of the New Apostolic Church in the United States coincide with the national day of thanksgiving.
The social networks on the Internet testify how joyful the Thanksgiving celebrations are. Members have posted pictures by the dozen, showing the beautifully decorated altars in their congregations. You could fill entire books with the pictures from South Africa that have been posted on the 10,000- member strong Facebook site of NAC TV. Pictures galore are also found on the website of the German discussion group Neuapostolisch – Von Herzen (“New Apostolic with all my heart”), which has 1,500 members. And in South-East Asia it is the District Apostle himself, Urs Hebeisen, who has presented pictures from the congregations in his region.
The comments posted on the Thanksgiving photos are full of praise. Many will be happy to browse through the photo galleries and collect ideas for next year.