Changes in the circle of the Apostles (1/2017)
Currently, 353 Apostles are active around the world. Following is an overview of seven retirements, fifteen ordinations, and two appointments that took place in the first half of 2017.
As per 30 June 2017, there were 353 Apostles, including 17 District Apostles, ten District Apostle Helpers, and the Chief Apostle. They are supported by 260,000 additional ministers in some 60,000 congregations.
Ordinations and appointments
In the New Year’s Day service on 1 January 2017 which Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider celebrated in Berne (Switzerland), he appointed Apostle Jürg Zbinden (born 1958) a District Apostle Helper for Switzerland to support District Apostle Markus Fehlbaum.
Chief Apostle Schneider ordained four Apostles on Sunday, 15 January 2017: the hitherto Bishops Sédjro Kodjo Amevoh (born 1959) and Kossivi Edo Kloutse (born 1967) for Togo, and District Evangelist Benjamin Ohehe-Saffo (born 1967) and District Elder Amos Osei-Du (born 1962) for Ghana. The ordinations took place during a divine service in Lomé (Togo).
On Sunday, 22 January 2017, Chief Apostle Schneider ordained two Apostles in a divine service in N’Djamena in Chad: Jean Koiyoumtan Blague (born 1962) and Nao Ndangalngar (born 1972). Following the retirement of Apostle Nodjibaye three years before, the country had been orphaned. Now local Apostles are active again.
On Saturday, 18 February 2017, the Chief Apostle ordained Bishop Bengui Massamuna (born 1961) as an Apostle for Guinea-Bissau.
A day later, on Sunday, 19 February 2017, the Chief Apostle celebrated a divine service in Sédhiou in Senegal. Here he performed the ordination of three Apostles: Diamano René Lompo (born 1977) for Burkina Faso, Fimba Djattaga Lompo (born 1979) for Niger, and Tounkang Mane (born 1974) for Senegal.
During a divine service in Durban (South Africa) on Sunday, 26 February 2017, he ordained Bishop Patrick Simataa Liwakala (born 1972) as an Apostle for Botswana und Namibia.
In a divine service on Sunday, 2 April 2017, Chief Apostle Schneider ordained Bishop Claudio Rubén González (born 1959) as an Apostle for Argentina and Chile.
In a divine service in Tilling-Central in the Philippines on 14 May 2017, Chief Apostle Schneider ordained District Elder Joe An Beli-Ot (born 1970) as an Apostle for the Philippines.
On Thursday, 18 May 2017, the Chief Apostle ordained District Elder Rumantiyo (born 1970) as an Apostle for Indonesia. He performed the ordination in a divine service in Lampung (Indonesia).
During a divine service in Depok in Indonesia on 21 May 2017, the Chief Apostle appointed Apostle Edy Isnugroho (born 1963) as a District Apostle Helper to support District Apostle Urs Hebeisen in South-East Asia.
Chief Apostle Schneider ordained an Apostle for Venezuela on Sunday, 11 June 2017 during a divine service in Chicago (USA). The new Apostle is César Benito Berrera Baez (born 1970). Until then, the New Apostolic congregations in Venezuela had been cared for by Apostle Díaz. He, however, also cares for the members in Peru and Ecuador. With the ordination of Apostle Baez, Venezuela now has its own Apostle.
In a divine service in Lomé (Togo) on Sunday, 15 January 2017, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider placed three Apostles into retirement: Afutu Kotei (born 1950) and Benjamin Nketiah (born 1950) both from Ghana, and Apostle Kodjo Simon Anika (born 1954) from Togo.
On Saturday, 18 February 2017, in a divine service in Bissau (Guinea-Bissau), the Chief Apostle retired Apostle Evaristo Chivanja Tomás (born 1952) early for health reasons.
On Thursday, 30 March 2017, District Apostle Michael Ehrich placed Apostle Kenneth Ibekwe (born 1951) into retirement in a divine service in Owerri-Central (Nigeria).
In a divine service on Sunday, 2 April 2017, in Buenos Aires (Argentina), the Chief Apostle placed Apostle Norberto Pablo Bianchi (born 1951) into retirement.
The most senior Apostle in the Philippines, Domingo Diagbel, was placed into retirement in a divine service in Tilling (Philippines) on Sunday, 14 May 2017. Chief Apostle Schneider thanked the Apostle for his dedication.
District Apostle Areas
The 17 District Apostle Areas are run by the following District Apostles.
- Andrew H. Andersen (Australia)
- Michael David Deppner (Democratic Republic of the Congo-West)
- Michael Ehrich (Southern Germany)
- Joseph Ekhuya (East Africa)
- Markus Fehlbaum (Switzerland)
- Urs Hebeisen (South-East Asia)
- Bernd Koberstein (Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland)
- Leonard R. Kolb (USA)
- Rüdiger Krause (Northern and Eastern Germany)
- John L. Kriel (Southern Africa)
- Enrique Eduardo Minio (Argentina)
- Raúl Eduardo Montes de Oca (Brazil)
- Wolfgang Nadolny (Berlin-Brandenburg/Germany)
- Charles S. Ndandula (Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe)
- Rainer Storck (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Tshitshi Tshisekedi (Democratic Republic of the Congo South-East)
- Mark Woll (Canada)
Some of the District Apostles are supported by District Apostle Helpers, who usually work in specific countries:
- David Devaraj (India)
- Frank Stephan Dzur (Canada)
- John William Fendt (USA)
- Edy Isnugroho (South-East Asia)
- Arnold N. Mhango (Malawi)
- Mandla Patrick Mkhwanazi (Southern Africa)
- João Uanuque Misselo (Angola)
- Robert Nsamba (Zambia)
- John Sobottka (Canada)
- Jürg Zbinden (Switzerland)
Currently there are eighteen retired District Apostles, six retired District Apostle Helpers, a retired Chief Apostle, and 162 retired Apostles.