The New Apostolic map is being redrawn
The New Apostolic Church is changing at the global level, not only from a doctrinal point of view, but also from a structural point of view: succession plans have been developed and District Churches are merging. Here is a brief look back at the year 2017 and an outlook on the immediate future.
Three times in the past year, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider appointed District Apostle Helpers. And each time it was part of a succession plan for an outgoing District Apostle.
- It all started with Apostle Jürg Zbinden at the beginning of the year, right on New Year’s Day. The 59-year-old will succeed District Apostle Markus Fehlbaum, who will be retiring in the middle of 2018.
- In May 2017, Apostle Edy Isnugroho from Indonesia followed. He will succeed District Apostle Urs Hebeisen in South-East Asia, who will also retire in the coming year.
- The third man was Peter Schulte, a District Elder until then. In September he was first of all ordained as an Apostle and then assigned as a District Apostle Helper directly after this. He will succeed District Apostle Andrew Andersen, whose retirement is planned for later in the year 2018.
In addition to the change in leadership in South-East Asia and Australia, the districts will also be restructured there: the congregations in Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, South Korea, and Taiwan will be looked after by the Church in Australia.
Hand in hand: mergers and leadership changes
The New Apostolic map in South America will also be redrawn. The impending retirement of District Apostle Raúl Montes de Oca—who will be 65 at the end of 2018 and is planning to retire in mid 2019—is making this necessary. His working area, which includes Brazil and Bolivia, will be taken over by District Apostle Enrique Minio. This in addition to the countries he is currently in charge of: Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
This is not the only retirement of a District Apostle that involves the merger of two District Churches.
- When District Apostle Wilfried Klingler retired in 2016, his working area was merged with that of Rüdiger Krause (then Northern Germany) and renamed “New Apostolic Church Northern and Eastern Germany”.
- District Apostle Noel Barnes also went into retirement in the past year. The Cape was merged with its neighbouring district South East Africa and renamed “New Apostolic Church Southern Africa”. The new leader is District Apostle John L. Kriel.
- Announced in 2016, advanced in 2017, and finalised in 2018: this is the road map for the merger that will lead to the new “New Apostolic Church Western Germany”. District Apostle Rainer Storck (North Rhine-Westphalia) will take over the leadership of the working area of District Apostle Bernd Koberstein (Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland), who will retire in February 2018.
This merger has gone so well to date that it was officially and publicly praised: “I love to see how these two District Apostles work together,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said in a divine service in France. “They work hand in hand, each in his role. I am proud of my Church and proud of my brothers.”