Zurich/Herzliya. The first print of the New Apostolic Catechism is in the hands of Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber: the international Church leader was only too happy to pick up a copy of the extensive work. This brings a year of intensive work to a close, as at least the German-language version of the Catechism is to be published by mid-December. The work is also scheduled for publication in a number of other languages in January of next year.
In addition to the Church leader, nineteen District Apostles and nine District Apostle Helpers are currently assembled in Herzliya, Israel in order to participate in the second District Apostle Meeting of this year. Also present for the first time in this circle is Apostle Rainer Storck from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He was just appointed a District Apostle Helper last Sunday.
Chief Apostle Leber informed the District Apostle Meeting that an information evening is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the publication date of the Catechism. This event is to be transmitted from the Church’s international headquarters in Zurich by satellite transmission to the New Apostolic congregations of Europe. A corresponding circular letter from the Chief Apostle was forwarded to the District Apostles with the request that it be read to the congregations at the earliest opportunity.
New pedagogical concepts for children’s instruction ratified
Explanations concerning children’s instruction in the New Apostolic Church also took up a significant part of the day’s agenda. District Apostle Mark Woll is spearheading this initiative. The group had already approved a comprehensive new concept (we reported) at the District Apostle Meeting in March of last year in Buenos Aires. The chairman of the Project Group known as Children’s Teaching Materials (CTM) demonstrated the first developments in web-based teaching methods. Wherever it is possible to connect to the internet, teachers of Junior Sunday School, Sunday School, Religious Instruction, and Confirmation Class will, in future, be able to download lesson plans and other teaching content. This will not only make it easier to prepare teaching units and to plan and execute interactive classes, but will also help keep costs under control.
Although this extremely comprehensive project is still in its infancy, it is well on its way, said the Canadian District Apostle. Many qualified assistants from around the world are helping him to meet the didactic, methodical, and content-related needs of the various age groups. It is his conviction that the New Apostolic Church is setting pedagogical benchmarks with this initiative. The earliest field tests of this material are only expected to be possible next year because the existing teaching manuals will first need to be replaced or revised once the new Catechism appears in print.
In addition to addressing a number of other issues, the District Apostles also took time to fine-tune various liturgical texts for sacramental acts and acts of blessing. After all, the words which the minister speaks in these liturgical acts must also correspond to the explanations provided in the Catechism. The group also discussed the liturgical sequence of special forms of divine service, including prayer meetings, funerals, and weddings. A Special Edition of the “Divine Service Guide” is to provide the ministers of the Church with further direction in these matters.
Fall session comes to a close
The two-day conference of all District Apostles of the New Apostolic Church will conclude today with a number of further bilateral meetings. An excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem is planned for tomorrow, and on Sunday the group will conclude the fall session of the District Apostle Meeting with a festive divine service with the Chief Apostle in the New Apostolic congregation of Nazareth.
An international District Apostle Meeting has already taken place once before in Israel. In 1993 the then incumbent Chief Apostle Richard Fehr likewise conducted the closing divine service in the congregation of Nazareth.