The Church making history

A New Apostolic Church influenced by the Gothic Revival? And inside the edifice, on one of its walls, there is the headdress of a Native American Indian chief. Intrigued?

Tobias Teuber lives near Hanover in Germany. As an IT consultant he travels a great deal and recently just spent several months in the USA. He is interested in anything to do with Church history and chronicles and was pleasantly surprised when he came upon a museum of the New Apostolic Church in Chicago, Illinois.

Architecture and history

Already the architecture of the Chicago North Troy Street church—in which the museum is housed—struck Teuber. The edifice was erected in 1917 in the neo-Gothic style (also Gothic Revival), which draws on architectural features from the original Gothic style. The movement emerged in nineteenth century England. Buildings of the Catholic Apostolic Church, for example—the Church which the New Apostolic Church emerged— were constructed in this architectural style.

But a real museum not only needs a building, but also people who put their heart into collecting and caring for historic treasures. Tobias Teuber met such a person in Chicago: Priest (ret.) Glenn Porter, who gave the visitor from Germany a tour of the museum.

International and regional aspects

There are quite a few artefacts in the museum that can be seen elsewhere too: such as communion cups or other liturgical vessels from different time periods. Periodicals and books that go back to the Albury Circle, as well as various displays and a timeline on the history of the congregations are also on exhibit. But there are also several unique objects: a communion wafer press from the time of World War II (just in case the war would have affected the delivery of wafers from Germany); a piece of the red carpet which used to be installed in the congregations in North America; and jewellery and stickers for Sunday School, which a jeweller and former rector of the North-Side congregation had made.

Historical awareness around the globe

The initiative for the museum in Chicago came from District Apostle Leonard Kolb in 2010. Volunteer historians from various districts gathered narratives and video clips from their respective congregations for the project, and members were asked to donate any objects that they might be willing to part with. The exhibit was opened in rooms of the North Troy Street church in Chicago in January 2014.

This museum is by no means the only one of its kind. Only last year, the New Apostolic Church in Argentina opened its own museum: the Museum of our Pioneers. And in 2012, the central archives of the New Apostolic Church North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) were opened. This is where the full report by Tobias Teuber can be found.

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