Zurich/Hyderabad. This past week, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider made his first visit to the Indian subcontinent, and conducted divine services in Hyderabad and Udaipur. This visit marked the end of twenty years of activity for the New Apostolic Church North Rhine-Westphalia in Rajasthan and another ten provinces. The future care of these areas has been assigned to the District Church of Canada, and is now under the leadership of District Apostle Mark Woll and District Apostle Helper David Devaraj.
In a divine service on Thursday afternoon, the international Church leader retired four Apostles from India and one Bishop from Pakistan, as they had reached the age limit for active ministry. All of these clergymen had been active in their ministerial commission for between 26 and 31 years. Thus they are among those servants of God who were ordained many years ago and have had a defining impact on the development of the New Apostolic Church in India. These are Apostles Jayawanth Amathi, Herald Kirti Kumar Jacob, Morris Lal, Vinod Kumar Sahae, and Bishop Sunil Kumar Minzee. Chief Apostle Schneider thanked them with all his heart for the many long years in which they served the cause of the Lord and the members in their care in love, loyalty, and humbleness. He went on to wish them a richly blessed retirement.
Youth service in the camp
On Friday morning the international Church leader began the day by strengthening the Apostles and Bishops, along with their wives. He thanked them in particular for their tireless dedication. The afternoon began with a youth service in which the Chief Apostle called upon the young brothers and sisters to trust the Lord in all situations and engage their gifts and talents in the congregations. In this divine service, Pravin Gajbhiv (38) was ordained an Apostle for India, along with another four Bishops for India, one Bishop for Bangladesh, and one Bishop for Nepal. All of them will in future work under the leadership of District Apostle Mark Woll (Canada).
Off to Udaipur
The following Saturday was a day on the move: the travellers flew from Hyderabad to Udaipur via Mumbai. The New Apostolic congregations in this province had previously been led by District Apostle Armin Brinkmann from Germany. On Sunday there was a divine service in Udaipur in which the Chief Apostle ordained the hitherto Bishop Lazarus Patel (59) to the Apostle ministry. Thereafter, the Church leader officially completed the organisational change that had been announced: from now on, the provinces previously in the care of the New Apostolic Church North Rhine-Westphalia will be served by the District Church of Canada. Thus District Apostle Mark Woll and District Apostle Helper David Devaraj will also assume responsibility for this part of the country.
Concerning this, District Apostle Armin Brinkmann writes as follows: “We are thankful to have a large number of stable congregations and faithful ministers. With great joy we have worked in these regions, and are very grateful for God’s blessing, help, and guidance. It is our wish that the bride of Jesus Christ can be prepared here, just as everywhere else, for His return. Twenty years ago our work began with a reference to the Bible text: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 62). In the future, the District Church of Canada will take over this work. We will continue to support them in all their endeavours through our prayers.”
Impressions and observations
District Apostle Brinkmann also describes some impressions from the country as follows: “On the way from Hyderabad to Udaipur we stayed for a number of hours in Mumbai, one of India’s metropolises of millions. Many people live in the streets, under bridges or the so-called “overflights”. Children sleep in hammocks even in the heaviest traffic. People have built makeshift shelters on the sidewalks. If you then look at the photos of the terrible devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, you get an idea of the prevailing social conditions and of how helpless human beings are against the powers of nature. Not all of these things can be resolved merely with money and donations. For this reason the greatest need is for our prayers.”