3 August 2023

You do not necessarily need a church building for a divine service. This was demonstrated by a congregation in South Africa, where ministers come to the homes of brothers and sisters for midweek services. Meanwhile, others are building churches with a difference.

When divine services come home

If the members cannot go to church, then the church will come to the members. This initiative was taken by the Edenpark congregation in South Africa, which now offers regular weekday services in the homes of members.

Since April, the congregational rector of Edenpark, Neil Johnson, and his team have been conducting midweek services in members’ homes. Sometimes more than two or three gather in the name of Jesus. In fact, on 24 May the congregation recorded a record attendance of 83 members from just two home service points.

This initiative was started following a request by District Apostle John Kriel at a rectors’ conference earlier in the year. The idea is to encourage more members to attend the midweek services by helping them to overcome the challenges that make it difficult for them to attend services during the week. In South Africa, this includes above all the high crime rate in certain areas, which makes it dangerous to leave one’s house in the evening.

A new church for people and creatures

The congregation of Pfaffenhofen in Germany has a new home. District Apostle Michael Ehrich dedicated the newly built church on 25 June. The county commissioner, the mayor, delegates from the Catholic and Protestant churches, and members of the press were also present.

The District Apostle based the dedication service on Hebrews 3: 4: “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” A very special thank-you was expressed to the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, which allowed the New Apostolic congregation to use its premises during the construction phase.

The new church not only provides a home for the congregation, but also for bats, for which boxes have been installed. Insects will find food on the green flat roof above the auxiliary rooms, which has been planted with vegetation. And the bird, which looked in during the dedication service, also received a friendly welcome from the District Apostle: “After all, it is also one of God’s creatures.”

Built on solid ground

The congregation of Samé Foulèle in Senegal greeted many visitors at the dedication of its first own church building on 29 April 2023. Apostle Francisco Diong Gomis officiated at the service and ceremony. He was accompanied by Apostle Tounkang Mané as well as a number of district leaders. The members from the neighbouring congregations had also been invited to the celebration. Apostle Gomis based the dedication service on Psalm 11: 4: “The Lord is in His holy temple.”

The congregation of Samé Foulèle was established some twenty years ago. The new church now has been solidly built with durable construction materials. The new church is located on a one-hectare site next to the main road. The building will seat more than a hundred people. It also has a multi-purpose hall, which serves both as sacristy and a Sunday School room, and modern toilets.

Climate-friendly and socially responsible construction

Every year, the City of Vienna, Austria, awards the “gebaut” (“built”) prize to hidden, undiscovered but high-quality architectural projects that were completed the year before. This year it was awarded to the New Apostolic church in Vienna-Donaustadt for the energy-efficient renovation of its church. The reason for this honour was the new insulation of the floors, walls, and roof, and shading devices, which are to prevent the building from overheating in summer. The award, in the form of a house made from fabric, honours exemplary solutions that take climate change into account architecturally and also contribute to social sustainability.