Buenos Aires. One of the focuses of the International District Apostle Meeting, which began today in Buenos Aires, was the revision of teaching materials for children’s instruction in the New Apostolic Church. New Apostolic children are instructed over a period of eleven years, from Junior Sunday School to Confirmation Class. To start off the spring meeting, Chief Apostle Wilhelm welcomed the District Apostles and District Apostle Helpers with a spiritual message.
“I welcome you warmly to the first District Apostle Meeting of the year 2011.” It was with these words that Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber opened up the spring conference of all District Apostles and District Apostle Helpers of the New Apostolic Church around the world. He greeted District Apostle Rüdiger Krause (Northern Germany) and District Apostle Helper Patrick Mkhwanazi (South East Africa) by name, since this was their first time in attendance at such a meeting.
Supporting the weak
A passage recorded in Acts 20: 35 comprised the basis of the Chief Apostle’s spiritual message at the start of the meeting: “I have shown you in every way, by labouring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” This passage is taken from the Apostle Paul’s farewell discourse to the elders in Ephesus. The Chief Apostle appealed to his closest helpers to provide love and care to those who are weak in faith, those who are discouraged and hopeless, those who are indifferent and even those who are headstrong. His advice to the District Apostles and Helpers: “Let us take special care never to exclude those who cause us difficulty or even those who reject us. It is a special sign of the love of Jesus to accept them and give them special care.”
New teaching materials for children
District Apostle Mark Woll led off with the first main topic of the District Apostle Meeting, namely instruction for children in the New Apostolic Church. In the ideal case, New Apostolic children are instructed from Junior Sunday School age all the way up to Confirmation Class. A thorough analysis of the current teaching materials revealed that these materials are definitely in need of revision. Over the next few years, the Project Group CTM (Children’s Teaching Materials) will undertake this project in a series of predetermined steps. The existing Confirmation instruction manual is to be adapted to the new Catechism by June 2012. After that, several new lessons will be written for the Sunday School book and be ready by the start of 2013. Parallel to this, the Religious Instruction manual will also be revised, and the Junior Sunday School book is to be completely redesigned by spring 2015. Last but not least, the plan also calls for training books for the many volunteer teachers—specifically targeted to teachers of Junior Sunday School, Sunday School, and Religious Instruction, as well as to teachers of children with special learning needs—to be introduced by 2017.
In order to keep costs to a reasonable level over the years ahead, these teaching materials will be available for download in electronic format on the websites of the various District Churches.