A hymn of thanks despite the pandemic

Just imagine, Pentecost is here, and no one is going! This year, the New Apostolic world will instead meet by satellite and internet in order to celebrate the birthday of the church of Christ. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will take to the airways from Switzerland for the festive divine service.

“Now thank we all our God!” This is the hymn with which the central divine service will begin. Finally, a song of thanks to defy these difficult times. The international Church leader would have gladly convened all the District Apostles and their Helpers from around the world in Zurich, because the annual spring conference of the global Church leadership took place on Thursday and Friday.

However, a hybrid event was once again the only viable possibility, due to the restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, in addition to the European District Apostles, two more District Apostles from outside of Europe were able to make the trip to Zurich. Most of the rest took part from home because many countries are still considered high risk areas, from which no entry into Switzerland is possible.

The originally planned conference location—Buenos Aires, Argentina—had already been cancelled at the end of last year. At least Zurich was still within reach to welcome the District Apostles and their Helpers from around the world in Switzerland. However, many were still unable to travel there. Perhaps it will work out for the District Apostle Meeting in autumn...

Important subjects are still important

The agenda of the District Apostle Meeting was reduced, since day-long meetings are hardly feasible by video conference. Important subjects for the Church were not to come short simply because of the pandemic, however—not least of all the ongoing deliberations on the subject of women in ministry. On this occasion the discussion centred on the ordination of the twelve Apostles by Jesus, the relevant statements in the Pastoral Letters in the New Testament, and their significance for the ordination of women to ecclesiastical office. These are two important aspects that will require a great deal of concentration and attention.

Matters of canon law were also up for discussion. An international project group, which has been working on updating the “Guide for Ministers of the New Apostolic Church” for some time, also submitted a number of chapters to the voting process.

Situation is still worrying

Already the previous international conference had taken place online. At the time, the Chief Apostle inquired as to how the congregations and members in the various countries around the world were coping with the rampant pandemic. People on all continents were directly affected already then, and far too little has changed in the situation to this day. In Argentina, where the May conference was originally supposed to have taken place, the situation is still very worrying.

Since then, we have reported exhaustively on the top subject discussed at the last international conference, namely “Man in the Image of God”. There the focus was on the equality of woman and man as an ideal condition of the creation.

A global divine service for Pentecost

The highlight of the Pentecost weekend is not the conference, however, but rather the Pentecost divine service—all are agreed on that. This time the international Church leader will conduct the service in the congregation of Zurich-Seebach, where he will again preach in English with translation into German at the altar. Translations into the respective national languages will be mixed in at the various receiving stations around the world.

The theme of the divine service will naturally focus on Pentecost and the power of the Holy Spirit. To allow Him to work, and to allow ourselves to be inspired by Him—as Apostle Paul describes in his letter to the Romans—is still a guide for the believing church even today. The Holy Spirit is the maker of the new creation! Under His direction, the Christian will be forward-looking and determined to create things that do not yet exist.

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Peter Johanning
District Apostle Meeting (DAMI)