“The preparations take time”
“The Chief Apostle has the last word,” Erich Senn, head of administration at the international offices in Zurich, says. But it takes time until everything is finalised for a District Apostle Meeting. “And we help him.”
The first thing is choosing a location. “A lot depend on that,” Senn says. Since the District Apostles and their assistants meet twice a year, every District Apostle Area gets a turn, he says with reference to Washington. “This time it happens to be the American capital.” The District Apostles are informed about the location of the conference a year in advance in order to obtain visas and make any other arrangements that need to be made. “During the District Apostle Meeting in Vienna last year the Chief Apostle determined that it would be Washington.”
Two international meetings a year
Every second meeting takes place at the head office of the Church in Zurich. “We have a well equipped conference centre there,” the administrative director says. After all, such conferences require good technology: microphones at every seat and at the lectern, two projectors for the two conference languages English and German, and various monitors. For the South American District Apostles, for example, all presentations are interpreted into Spanish, and the accompanying slides are projected on a monitor for them. “Good air-conditioning is also important,” Senn says. After all, the participants are immersed in documents and discussions for ten hours, with only a short break for lunch at noon.
Such arrangements can obviously also be made in practically any hotel across the world. “The location is therefore really secondary,” Erich Senn says. What is important for the Chief Apostle, however, is that all District Apostle Areas are considered one after the other. This is especially important in view of the divine service that is always held on the Sunday. In this way, the Chief Apostle can reach all brothers and sisters, and his visit in the respective country becomes a special occasion for all concerned.
From Vienna to Washington
Washington is the location this year. Not only will the District Apostle Meeting take place here, but also the Pentecost service. There will not be an international transmission this year, however. The service will only be transmitted across the USA and to Canada.
Instead of a concert on Saturday afternoon, which is often the case in the context of a District Apostle Meeting, District Apostle Leonard Kolb has come up with a special idea. Under the title “NAC Talks”, the Church in the USA has planned an exhibition, the first of its kind, to which all members from across the country are invited. Among the many activities on that day will be talks by visiting ministers. The District Apostles John Kriel from South Africa, Michael Deppner from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Raùl Montes de Oca from Brazil will each give a short talk. Evangelist Reinhard Kiefer, the theological consultant of NACI, will give a short lecture on the congregational life in the early church. All of this will take place at the Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge, Virginia, an event centre, and an ideal venue. The Pentecost service will also take place here. As the motto says, “And they continued …”