For the love of life and the joy of faith
It is a year of united Youth Days. There was a double premiere this past weekend in Germany. The start, however, was made in South Africa at the beginning of the year. Join us as we look at three events celebrating the love of life and the joy of faith.
A performance composed of music and light
Nearly 3,000 young people descended on Leipzig to participate in the first collective Day of the Youth of the District Church Northern and Eastern Germany. The weekend kicked off with a party on Friday evening that included a band and a disc jockey. The day ended on an emotional note, namely with a spontaneous prayer circle.
On Saturday, there were workshops on topics such as the creed, the question of theodicy, and the responsibility for creation. In the evening, more than 8,000 people attended the performance of the pop oratorio “I AM”. More than 1,200 singers, musicians, actors, and technicians put on a unique show of music and light.
The divine service on Sunday morning with Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider drew 9,000 people. His message to the youth: egoism, selfishness, and individualism are not compatible with the gospel. Being a committed follower of Christ is what determines our relationship to others and what contributes to our being a fulfilled personality in Christ.
When District Apostle Wilfried Klingler retired in 2016, his working area (Central Germany) was merged with that of Rüdiger Krause’s (then Northern Germany). The entity was renamed New Apostolic Church Northern and Eastern Germany.
Six thousand New Apostolic young people gathered this past Sunday for the first Youth Day of the New Apostolic Church Western Germany. Referring to the day’s motto, “You are a somebody”, District Apostle Rainer Storck said: “God knows you. He is aware of your circumstances. He tells you: I love you, I am holding on to you and will not let you go again.”
As part of the preliminary programme there were pieces by the choir and orchestra as well as a video clip. The District Apostle also brought a building block with the words “Jesus” to the front and placed it in front of the altar. It had been part of the altar decorations at the 2017 Day of the Youth in Frankfurt. At the beginning of his sermon he referred to it as well as the recent merger of the two District Churches, “We will now continue to build together.”
The evening before, the youth symphony orchestra and the youth concert choir gave their traditional benefit concert. On the programme was a popular mix of classical and modern music. The young musicians asked the audience for donations to their initiative “Jugend bewegt” (“Young people make a difference”). The youth have been collecting money for this initiative since 2002 in support of various aid projects.
Announced in 2016, advanced in 2017, and finalised in 2018: this was the road map for the merger that led to the founding of the New Apostolic Church Western Germany. District Apostle Rainer Storck (North Rhine-Westphalia) took over the leadership of the working area of District Apostle Bernd Koberstein (Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland), who retired February 2018.
Bubbling over with excitement
The Young People’s Convention in Cape Town in mid February managed to bring together even more young people. More than 36,000 participants between the ages of 14 and 35 came to the Cape Town Stadium. It was the first major event since the merger of the District Churches South East Africa and Cape Town to form the entity NAC Southern Africa.
About 10,000 young people from other parts of the country descended on Cape Town already on the Friday evening and were accommodated by members. Welcome evenings had been organised so that the youth could get to know each other. On Saturday there was a five-hour variety concert. For months, video auditions for groups and soloists had been taking place in every Apostle area.
The service on Sunday was solemn. “Trust Jesus. Hear His call,” the Chief Apostle urged. “Answer this call and follow the example of Jesus. Even if it seems impossible, you can do it. If your motivation is love for Jesus Christ, Jesus will give you the strength you need.”