5 February 2024

The objectives have been achieved: the New Apostolic Church has reorganised its ecumenical responsibilities. Instead of a national or international working group, there is now a central contact for regional advisors.

“The long-standing Working Group Contacts with Denominations and Religions has fulfilled its mandate,” the New Apostolic Church International (NACI) announced on its website. “A department for ecumenical relations has been established in order to be able to give appropriate attention to this subject.”

Contact and counsel

This international coordination unit is to serve as a contact point for other denominations and religions. Other tasks include advising the international leadership of the Church and supporting the regional contacts.

Until further notice, Bishop Peter Johanning and his deputy, Apostle Arne Herrmann, will take on this position. Both already represent the New Apostolic Church in the Council of Christian Churches in Germany.

Active since 1999

Since 2001, there has been regular dialogue between the New Apostolic Church and the Council of Christian Churches in Germany at the local and regional level, and since 2008 at the national level. Chief Apostle Richard Fehr set the ball rolling when he founded the Project Group Ecumenism in 1999.

This committee, which was later renamed, was active on behalf of the Church leadership for around 25 years. Its task was to clarify fundamental questions. What strategy is the international Church pursuing in ecumenical relations? Is it possible to become a member of the various Councils of Christian Churches (WCC)? Where are the opportunities, where are the limits?

Together for the gospel

These questions have long since been answered. Today, the New Apostolic Church is one of the churches involved in the ecumenical movement, especially in Europe but also in other countries around the world. In the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, there are WWC memberships at all levels.

Today, the various Regional Churches see to ecumenical relations themselves. In the meantime, all European Regional Churches have their own ecumenical advisors, who work towards a coordinated approach at the local and regional level.

“We are aware that we are all Christians,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider made clear in an interview in 2013, explaining what is important to him when it comes to the ecumenical movement. “We must join in our fight for the gospel so that it is heard in today’s society. And that is why we are working together.”