Congregation: everyone belongs

The international head office of the New Apostolic Church is flying the NACI flag to make its guests feel welcome. The European District Apostle Meeting has convened its fall session.

The European District Apostles meet in Zurich (Switzerland) twice a year. Participating in the conference are District Apostles Rüdiger Krause from Hamburg, Wolfgang Nadolny from Berlin, Rainer Storck from Dortmund, Bernd Koberstein from Frankfurt, Michael Ehrich from Stuttgart (all Germany), and Markus Fehlbaum from Zurich (Switzerland). District Apostle Helper Jürg Zbinden, Markus Fehlbaum’s assistant, is also here, although he is not allowed to vote. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider convened the conference.

A full agenda

The agenda for the two-day meeting in Zurich is crammed with discussions on teaching material for children, new church buildings, IT, as well as a position paper on inclusivity.

How can people, in this case with disabilities, get more involved in their congregation? Accessibility of church buildings is only one of many aspects. The aspiration is clear: everyone in a congregation belongs—without any restrictions. Ultimately, all are to be able to participate in congregational activities—always. Everyone—with our without special needs—is to feel that they belong. It has to be completely natural for them to participate in everything.

This declared goal, the Church leaders say, corresponds to the example set by Jesus Christ. In accordance with the Vision of the New Apostolic Church, the Church leaders therefore call upon the members to accept everyone in the congregation with their differences and to foster heartfelt fellowship with them.

Building together is easier

The construction of new churches is something that does not occur all too often these days. Now and then there is even a need for a new church in Germany, particularly in regions where the infrastructure poses a challenge. For years already the European District Apostles have been wanting to replace church buildings that are in a state of severe disrepair. A joint funding programme for churches was ratified in 2015. Twenty-five million euros have been made available to support construction measures in the church districts Berlin-Brandenburg and Central Germany. The programme’s aim is to ensure that people can attend divine services in church buildings that are needs-based and reduce maintenance and operating costs in future.

The funds for this come from the District Churches Northern and Eastern Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland, Southern Germany, and Switzerland, even though they themselves have high facility costs in their own districts for the upkeep of church buildings. In 2015, the District Churches started with the payment of six annual installments in support of this programme. This will continue until 2020. A group of experts monitor the programme. This underlines the close cooperation between the European District Churches and their mutual solidarity.

Keyword: District Apostle Meeting

The District Apostle Meeting International is the highest leadership board of the New Apostolic Church. Its responsibilities include advising and deciding on relevant Church matters and determining regulations and ordinances for the global Church. In addition to this international body, it has become established practice that conferences take place on a continental level. The District Apostle Meeting Europe—which meets for a spring and a fall session—for example, is one such body.

Photo: Oliver Rütten

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Peter Johanning
District Apostle Meeting (DAME)