Church merger running smoothly

The merger of two neighbouring District Churches in Germany is approaching fast. The name of the new entity has been selected, its statutes have received initial approval, and the administrative offices are being restructured—and there is even a new date for the actual merger.

The New Apostolic Church North Rhine-Westphalia and the New Apostolic Church Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland are to merge already with the beginning of the new year 2018. Originally, the merger had been scheduled for 25 February 2018, when District Apostle Bernd Koberstein retires. The new date was chosen for practical reasons only: in this way, the new District Church can start with a full fiscal year, which will simplify the preparation of the annual financial statements.

A side effect of this early merger will be that for a little more than a month there will be two District Apostles presiding over one District Church. But this is nothing new. There was a similar situation in the years 1954 to 1965 in the southern part of Germany, when the Apostles Georg Schall and Gotthilf Volz worked together in the district of Württemberg. The president of the new District Church will be District Apostle Rainer Storck, who will also serve as its director following the retirement of his colleague, Bernd Koberstein..

Four other NAC corporations in Germany

In addition to France and the Netherlands, the new District Apostle Area will include an additional forty countries primarily in western and south-eastern Europe, in the Near East and in North and West Africa. But the centre of the merged entity is located in the western part of Germany. Hence its new name: “New Apostolic Church Western Germany”.

With respect to terminology, there are similarities to the already existing District Church Southern Germany and the recently merged District Church Northern and Eastern Germany. Together with the still independent district of Berlin-Brandenburg, there will then be four District Churches in Germany.

Working hand in hand

The statutes of the future public corporation have already been drafted. They were developed from the two existing sets of statutes and with reference to the corresponding statutes of the New Apostolic Church Northern and Eastern Germany. Since the end of June, the document has been passing through the various Church channels as well as official channels. The statutes will go into effect at the end of January 2018.

The administrative offices are already working together. At the beginning of June they were combined into a single organisational unit. Now the various departments are being gradually restructured. Not only the locations in Dortmund and Frankfurt are affected, but also the administrative Church offices in France and the Netherlands, who are legally independent.

The merger has gone so well that it was officially praised: “I love to see how these two District Apostles work together,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said in a divine service in Évreux in France. “They work hand in hand, each remaining in his role. I am proud of my Church and proud of my brothers.”

Chart: NAK Nordrhein-Westfalen

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