Service for the departed goes public

Making a guest service out of the service for the departed? Across Europe this will be a first and take place on 6 November 2016. But a congregation in Africa is going even further—and will number more participants in the end than all of Europe put together.

“Your heart will rejoice.” This statement, taken from John 16: 22, will be the focus of the service for the departed in the German-speaking areas of Europe on 6 November 2016. The service for the departed is celebrated three times a year, this time, however, with a difference.

Commemoration and prayer

An advertising campaign was launched and a series of posters, advertisements, postcards, and calling cards created to inform the members of the Church and anyone else who may be interested. “Let us remember the departed together and pray for them,” it says on the invitation. Experience has shown that many Christians in the northern hemisphere are more sensitive to the subject of death during the rather gloomy month of November with its silent holidays.

Depending on the congregation, this divine service for the departed will be accompanied by a series of activities, ranging from concerts to friendly get-togethers and devotionals, which are captioned by the heading: “Everything has its time”.

By radio and television

However many participants the service in the 2,800 congregations in Europe will reach, the same divine service celebrated in a single congregation in Africa will likely reach even more people. The location of said service is our church in Blantyre in the south of Malawi. This is where Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will celebrate the service for the departed on 6 November.

Not only did District Apostle Charles S. Ndandula issue an invitation to the general public for this occasion, and not only will the members in the 9,500 congregations in his working area follow the transmission, but the service will also be broadcast on national radio and television: ZNBC TV 1 and Radio 2 in Zambia, MCB TV in Malawi, and DSTV in Zimbabwe.

A great cause for joy

“Such a service for the departed is always extraordinary,” the District Apostle says in his announcement. It always awakens special feelings when you think about your relatives, friends, and other people. “Ultimately,” he says, “this subject is important for anyone who believes that a person’s soul lives on even after death.”

In his announcement, District Apostle Ndandula refers to the religious conviction of New Apostolic Christians, which is expressed in the services for the departed: God wants all people to be saved. And that is why the gospel of Jesus Christ is there for the living as well as the dead. “That is a great cause for joy.”

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