District Apostle Wilfried Klingler will go into retirement in June 2016. He is responsible for the New Apostolic Church in four German states: Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, and Thuringia. Legally, the Church in this part of Germany is registered under the name Neuapostolische Kirche Mitteldeutschland (New Apostolic Church Central Germany). Beginning with the District Apostle’s retirement, this region will merge with the District Apostle Area of Northern Germany.
The merger that will take place with the retirement of District Apostle Klingler on 19 June 2016 requires careful planning. It will, after all, create the largest New Apostolic Church district in Germany in terms of area—measured by the area of the eight individual states it will be comprised of.
A good question
What name will this new entity carry? A good question. But not only that. There are also legal aspects that have to be considered, because every District Church has a constitution, is a legal entity, has rights and obligations. In Germany, for example, the District Churches have the rights of a public corporation. District Apostle Rüdiger Krause will be commissioned to lead this new District Apostle Area. He has been District Apostle of the New Apostolic Church Northern Germany for five years, a district which also includes countries in northern Europe.
He came up with the idea to do a survey and ask people for input on what the new area could be called. In addition to a quite a number of German states─such as Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia—the new district will also include a number of European countries. The aim was to find a name that would bring all these areas together? Quite a task.
“Northern and Eastern Germany”, a good compromise
The designation is a compromise. “Northern and Eastern Germany” will be the name of the new district. In the aforementioned survey, this geographic combination was among the five most frequently mentioned, indicating a high degree of acceptance among the members. Twenty-four cent of all survey respondents were in favour of a geographical designation. The District Apostle says, “The new name is indeed a compromise because not all the regions receive equal coverage. But for me it is the best compromise because, by and large, both District Apostle Areas are reflected in the new name.”
“Northern Europe”, incidentally, was the most frequent proposal. The District Apostle Area of Northern Germany currently includes the New Apostolic congregations in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The New Apostolic congregations in Poland and Belarus are currently cared for by the District Apostle Area of Central Germany. Northern Europe, so the unanimous opinion, would have polarized. The name was neither factually correct nor appropriate in terms of the ratio of the number of members.