Children: faith under construction ↑
Children are gifts of God. It follows from the mandate of Jesus Christ that we should take them into the very heart of the congregation: “Let the little children come to Me” (Mark 10: 14). As they grow into the congregation, they lay the foundations for their later activity in accordance with the values of the gospel.
In the New Apostolic Church Children have a place right from the start: the Church’s offers of instruction and pastoral care support and complement the education in faith which they receive from their parents at home:
- In Pre-Sunday School children as young as three years of age discover the joy in faith and a feeling of security and belonging.
- Sunday School aims to impart knowledge about God’s activity in the past and present to school-age children as well as faith in divine promises.
- Religious Instruction is intended to deepen biblical knowledge and impart a basic understanding of the history of Christendom and the New Apostolic Church.
- Confirmation Instruction teaches the creed in a comprehensive manner. In this way, the young Christians can prepare themselves to assume responsibility for their own life of faith.
These offers are differently defined and delivered depending on the realities of the respective country.
Youth: faith with a question mark ↑
Young people are in a transition phase from a dependent childhood to a self-determined adulthood: they must seek and find their own way. They need the space to call the status quo into question and arrive at new responses.
Church-sponsored youth leaders accompany the young people as personal counsellors in a pastoral capacity. Monthly divine services are tailored to this age group in terms of both register and content. In addition, moderated youth meetings provide young people with an opportunity to approach the issues they face in dialogue with one another.
Being together in a more casual environment is also important. Such gatherings can range from group activities at the local or regional level to international events such as the European Youth Day 2009 and the International Youth Convention 2019.
These Church offers aim to encourage young people to recognise their faith as a meaningful force in their lives and to practise it on their own. In the process, they are called upon to involve themselves in their congregations and help shape the Church of the future already today.
Seniors: mature in faith ↑
Our seniors may experience this stage of their lives as a time of great contrasts. While some enjoy their newfound freedoms in retirement, others struggle with physical challenges and loneliness. Seniors have matured in life and have come to understand the importance of faith.
Specially tailored divine services address their changing questions of faith and life. Gatherings and excursions at the local and regional levels allow our seniors to cultivate fellowship with one another.
The very elderly and the sick receive special care and attention. Technical aids often allow them to continue participating in the divine services. Regular visits from Priests ensure that they can participate regularly in the celebration of Holy Communion.
> Such pastoral care is not only provided by ministers, but also by other seniors and younger members of the congregation. Together they impart a sense of belonging in the heart of the congregation even during this phase of life.