Melbourne/Zurich. Last Sunday the vast District Apostle district of Australia received a new District Apostle Helper: after his ordination to the Apostle ministry, Apostle Peter Schulte (53) was assigned as a District Apostle Helper. This is a first for the Australian national church.
Sunday, 24 September 2017—an historic date for the New Apostolic Church in the “land down under”: in a divine service which he conducted in Melbourne, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider began by ordaining the hitherto District Elder Peter Schulte to the Apostle ministry, and then went on to assign him as a District Apostle Helper for the gigantic working area. District Apostle Andrew Andersen had already announced this event in a circular letter sent out to the congregations in August. The Church leader explained the reasoning behind this change by stating that—in order to really master the upcoming change of leadership—it was important to begin with the preparations well in advance. “It is a great joy for me to share with you that our Chief Apostle intends to ordain the 53-year-old District Elder Peter Schulte an Apostle and at the same time assign Him as a District Apostle Helper. This is to take place on 24 September 2017 in Melbourne,” the letter went on to say.
District Apostle Andrew Andersen is 65 years of age, and intends to retire in September of next year.
An important step
“This is now an important step that we will take together!” It was with these words that Chief Apostle Schneider addressed District Elder Peter Schulte as he stood before him. He explained that he knew exactly what the District Elder was feeling at that moment. Fourteen years ago, he had likewise been called to the altar as a District Elder, first to receive the ministry of an Apostle, and then to be assigned the task of supporting his District Apostle as his Helper. “But I can also comfort you with the words: do not fear. God is with you!” The Church leader assured him that he would feel the power of God, along with the prayers of the many members in the vast country.
First love, then lead
It is a special task to serve as an Apostle, expressed the Chief Apostle. “What does that mean specifically? It means that Jesus is asking you to pass His message along!” This message is a message of love. The Son of God repeatedly invited people to come to Him: “Come here—whoever you are—I am waiting for you!”
As an Apostle and District Apostle Helper, his first task would be to become acquainted with his brothers and sisters, and then carry them in love. “And you are to learn how to lead the Church and walk ahead of the congregations in this part of the world.” The Chief Apostle went on to add that this would be easy because he had a District Apostle in whom he could confide and follow in zeal, after all.
A man of faith
Peter Schulte lives in Sarina, Queensland. As District Apostle Helper he will be following the current District Apostle directly. “I am very grateful to have always experienced the guidance of God in all the experiences I have made in my life,” says the incumbent District Apostle Andersen. “And this is also the case here—this change had been long requested in prayer, and it clearly stands under the blessing of the Lord. Peter Schulte is a man of faith and great strength,” says the District Apostle, as he describes his successor. “He will lead a large district and he will do so in his customary calm and sober manner.” The current District Apostle’s personal wish is that the transition will be seamless.
A journey to the Land Down Under
Chief Apostle Schneider is currently visiting the congregations in Australia and Papua-New Guinea (we reported). “The members have been looking forward to this visit with great expectations,” wrote District Apostle Andersen in advance of the big event. After all, it had been seven years since a Chief Apostle had last visited Melbourne, the second-largest city in Australia.
Off to PNG
From Melbourne, the Chief Apostle will carry on to Papua-New Guinea. There he will celebrate the first divine service of this part of the trip on 27 September 2017 in the vicinity of Wewak. The Thanksgiving service on 1 October will take place in Port Moresby, the capital of the country. This will bring the Church leader’s trip to the South Pacific to a close.