Praying that the situation will soon improve
COVID-19 is keeping people around the world on tenterhooks. The New Apostolic Church too is doing its utmost to counteract the spreading of the virus. Despite all the alarming news, there are still events that give rise to joy.
Precautionary measures. On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. The WHO’s director general said that “pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over”. Meanwhile there are nearly 125,000 cases in 118 countries and territories, according to the WHO.
In view of the increased risk of infection and the fact that medication is not yet available, the District Apostles of the various District Churches have now taken measures to be followed within the Church. Their directives are based on the corresponding guidelines of the health authorities:
- Ministers and members should refrain from handshakes and hugs when greeting each other.
- At Holy Communion, one should keep sufficient distance to the next person. In addition, we need to practice extraordinary hand hygiene and watch our cough and sneeze etiquette.
- All members who have signs of a cold or have a weakened immune system are asked to refrain from attending divine services and other Church events. The same applies to brothers and sisters who come from a risk area or have recently spent time in a risk area.
All important information on the Church’s internal prevention measures can be found on the websites of the various District Churches. The District Apostles thank the Church members for their understanding and following the precautionary measures, and intercede that the situation will soon improve.
A special celebration. The retired District Apostle Karlheinz Schumacher and his wife, Birgit, received a blessing on their golden wedding on 8 March 2020 from Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in the congregation of Bremen-Arsten in Germany. He based the divine service on 1 Corinthians 2: 12: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” The Chief Apostle said, “The Spirit of God shows us God as He is. God is love. Trust Him, even if you do not understand Him.”
The Chief Apostle gave Birgit and Karlheinz Schumacher a special word for their golden wedding from 1 Chronicles 28: 20: “And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.’” He wished the couple that God continues to give them strength to be able to do “all the work for the service of the Lord”. The Chief Apostle said that in fifty years of marriage, the District Apostle and his wife had experienced that God kept His promise to carry and help them. That is why He will also be at their side in the future.
A fun and a serious note on International Women’s Day. In Conakry in Guinea many sisters, and also some brothers, celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March. Numerous guests joined them for a varied programme. After a welcome and a prayer a mixed-voice choir and of course a female choir sang some songs. A group of women performed a sketch called “The Housewife”, which was so amusing that the audience laughed to the point of tears. There was also a serious presentation on “Violence Against Women”.