29 September 2023

Whether it's bats or orchestra players: there's always a lot going on in the New Apostolic congregations. There have been some eventful meetings and activities across Europe, America, and Africa in recent days.

Two orchestras, one concert

“Together as one”— this was the motto that captioned a concert to which two partner symphony orchestras from Switzerland and Western Germany invited guests on 3 September. Around 1,000 listeners assembled in the concert hall directly on Lake Zurich and experienced a rich and varied concert. The two orchestras crafted a programme that featured a beautiful mix of sacred and popular pieces from films and musicals. They were supported by a project choir from Switzerland.

A flurry of activity at the anniversary divine service

The congregation of Los Polvorines, Argentina now proudly looks back on at least 50 years of history. To celebrate this occasion, 192 members and guests came together on 20 August in the church building located in a city quarter of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Apostle Pablo Basso led the celebratory divine service together with district rector Jorge Segarra. The Apostle based the service on a Bible verse from John 10: 9: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” He then went on to recount a little of the history of Los Polvorines to the large festive congregation: the first divine service took place in a residential building in 1959. As time went by, more and more members joined the congregation, such that in the year 1973, District Apostle Aureliano Marton dedicated the congregation’s present church building. Fifty years later, the congregation has grown and prospered, and was able to celebrate the special event together with many guests.

Youth on the move in South Africa

Young people from many congregations throughout South Africa came together for a special meeting on the first weekend in August. Many exciting activities took place under the motto “Dare2Care”. The youth from Mpumalanga, Kimberly, and KwaZulu-Natal assembled in Durban for a weekend of fun, charity, and learning about their faith. A special guest was District Apostle John Kriel: On the Sunday he celebrated a divine service with the young people in the Wentworth congregation. The basis of the service was 1 Timothy 4: 12: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” District Apostle Helper Mandla Patrick Mkhwanazi and District Elder Scott also contributed to the sermon. Here, as in many other places across South Africa, many new friendships were established and many new experiences gained.

Alpacas and bats

On a summer day in early July, the paths of a farm in Ohrdruf, Germany, turned green. It wasn't grass that had suddenly sprouted here, but rather 85 children and their companions, all of whom were sporting green “Kinder-Aktiv” T-shirts. They had come for an alpaca tour. Small groups of children were each introduced to an alpaca whose company they shared collectively as they led the animal around. After a lunch of sausages and chips, there was a milkshake party with cake to fortify the children for the events that were still ahead of them on this eventful day. Together they went to the Ilmenau Science Night exhibition, where exciting experiments, robot dogs, and 3-D computer games awaited the children.

Bats are super animals—the children from Germany’s Nagold district were certainly agreed on that after spending a day with the unusual mammals. On 27 July, over 30 interested children and their parents gathered in the church in Herrenberg, where they listened intently to bat expert Ilona Bausenwein. Among other things, she explained that bats have eight hearts, can fly up to 100 kilometres per hour and that they do not like sudden noises. She even brought some bats with her which she had nursed back to health after they had sustained injuries. Everyone was able to see a noctule by the name of Fidel right up close, and while the bat expert went from child to child, Fidel ate around 30 mealworms. The children also enjoyed a bite to eat afterwards but, fortunately for them, their dinner did not include mealworms.