Zurich. A new District Apostle area of the New Apostolic Church has come into being in the southeast region of the globe, namely the New Apostolic Church Western Pacific. The previous District Apostle districts of Australia and South East Asia are being reconfigured, and their responsibilities redefined.
The New Apostolic District Churches in the previous District Apostle district of Australia (American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, the Cocos [Keeling] Islands, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, the Norfolk Islands, Papua-New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, the South Pacific Islands, including Cook Island, Tasmania, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Christmas Island) now belong to the new working area of the Western Pacific. The national Churches of Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, and Taiwan, which were previously part of the District Apostle district of South East Asia, will now be added to these. The Churches in the Western Pacific region will be led by District Apostle Peter Schulte, who was appointed a District Apostle yesterday, that is, Sunday, 30 September 2018, by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider.
An historic change
For District Apostle Urs Hebeisen, who has cared for the New Apostolic congregations in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, and Taiwan up until now, it was a farewell of a special kind. Ten years ago, he assumed responsibility for the newly established District Apostle district of South East Asia. Chief Apostle Schneider, who had travelled to Hong Kong especially to usher in this change, spoke of a “new chapter in the same book”. In the divine service on Wednesday, 26 September 2018, he relieved District Apostle Hebeisen of his responsibility for this part of the world, and transferred the leadership duties pertaining to the aforementioned countries to District Apostle Helper Peter Schulte from Australia.
Peter Schulte, who was cheerfully welcomed in the region, also briefly expressed his feelings about this new arrangement by stating that the Church does not make changes just for the sake of change. Instead, it is a beautiful and compelling aspect of the Church that it always seeks to fulfil the will of God. It is in this manner that growth can occur, he added.
Newly configured for the future
The new structure goes hand in hand with the leadership changes in the two District Apostle districts of Australia and South East Asia. After serving as District Apostle for over 17 years, Andrew Andersen has now retired. The Chief Apostle transferred the leadership of his previous working area of Australia/Oceania to his successor, Peter Schulte. And the retirement of District Apostle Urs Hebeisen is coming up in November 2018. He will be succeeded as District Apostle by Edy Isnugroho from Indonesia, who will lead the new District Apostle district of South East Asia. His area of responsibility will incorporate the District Churches of Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palau, the Philippines, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Western Pacific
The region known as the “Western Pacific” is a geographical term referring to a loose association of countries in the Western Pacific. In addition to Australia and New Zealand—along with the many islands in Oceania, Polynesia, and Micronesia—it also encompasses some countries on the Asian continent, for example, Japan, Korea, Macau, and Taiwan.