The making-of: how the New Year’s message is created

It is late November. Christmas still seems so far away, let alone the new year. But Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider wants to record his New Year’s message today. All good things come in threes.

Normally, the Chief Apostle’s office in Zurich is a beehive of activity when he is in. Correspondence is discussed, incoming calls are forwarded, and there are meetings. But on this November morning there is a bit of a tense silence. Now and then you hear the Chief Apostle speak—in different languages..

The camera takes over

For about two hours, the Communications Services team takes over. They will be recording the New Year’s message for 2017—as in the past two years—which will be published on the Internet as a video at the beginning of the year. The Chief Apostle’s staff is informed. He will not be available for a while: telephone calls will not be patched through to his office, the doors to his office are closed.

A camera has been set up and a teleprompter is being fed with text from a computer. There is concentrated silence. The Chief Apostle speaks three languages fluently: French, German, and English. He will read his 2017 New Year’s message in each of these languages into a microphone.

It’s a wrap!

Twice, in each language, the Chief Apostle reads his message into the microphone. In between he takes a few short breaks. Reading from a prompter requires a lot of concentration. By eleven o’clock everything is in the box. A meeting of the European District Apostles has been convened for the afternoon, which requires the Chief Apostle’s undivided attention. The doors to his office are open again.

Keyword annual motto

The idea of the Chief Apostle addressing the congregations around the world directly is nothing new. In fact, it is a long-standing tradition. Starting with Chief Apostle Richard Fehr, Pentecost came to be the classic Church feast for such a message—considering that the divine service was broadcast internationally. The Pentecost messages issued by the New Apostolic Church between 1988 and 2013 can be read on the website of the New Apostolic Church International.

Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider always issues a motto for a new year, has it translated into the required languages, and then shares it with the congregations at the beginning of the year. The congregations can take inspiration from it for their yearly activities. The message for 2014 was “Labour in love!” For 2015 it was “Joy in Christ”. And this year, 2016, it is “Victory with Christ!”

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