Zurich. "The highest ministry that can be assigned in the New Apostolic Church is the chief apostle ministry." So begins the first press release of the New Apostolic Church International regarding the upcoming Pentecost service on 15 May 2005. Incumbent Chief Apostle Richard Fehr will retire in a divine service in Stuttgart on Pentecost Sunday. He has been the highest representative of this Church since 1988, and will turn 66 in July.
The press release, which has been sent to newspapers and agencies throughout Western Europe, goes on to say:
Richard Fehr has personally stated that he will be happy to retire. From Zurich he has led the New Apostolic Church - some 11 million souls strong - for 17 years, and has introduced many reforms within the Church during this time. Thus he will be remembered as the founder of some 20 different Project Groups. He looks back over a long and blessed time of office, and he does so without any resentment whatsoever. When asked about the accomplishments of his work to date, he replies with a reference from Luke 17: 10: "We have done what was our duty to do."
The New Apostolic Church has grown and developed magnificently over the 17 years of his tenure. Membership has more than doubled to some 11 million New Apostolic Christians, especially in Africa, Asia, and South America, while numbers in Europe have begun to stagnate.
Richard Fehr will wait until the divine service on Pentecost Sunday to announce his successor.
The festive divine service will be transmitted from Southern Germany to thousands of New Apostolic congregations throughout the world with the help of some cleverly thought-out satellite technology.
21 April 2005