On Sunday 18 December 2016, Silvertown was dressed at its festive best, marking an event which will certainly be recorded in the history of the New Apostolic Church.
The church filled early, while the choir, orchestra and organ provided encouragement for the soul with a music programme that had a distinct Christmas feel. A video insert that was broadcast also provided interesting details on the development of the Church in Southern Africa.
The altar address placed the gravity of this divine service into perspective reminding those present and those connected that Chief Apostle Fehr on 15 December 1996 had retired District Apostle E. Graf and ordained District Apostle NE Barnes as his successor. Now, 20 years later almost to the day, we had come full circle and Chief Apostle J-L Schneider would retire District Apostle Barnes and ordain his successor, District Apostle Helper J. Kriel.
Simultaneously there would be the historic event of the amalgamation of the two district churches NAC-Cape and NAC-SEA.
The Chief Apostle took to the altar to the chords of: To Christ the Lord be faithful. After an intense opening prayer with intercession for those in difficult circumstances, the Chief Apostle read the Bible word that served as the basis for the sermon. It was from Mark 1:2 & 3.
The core of the message was that we are all important to God and He wants to save us, but we need to pave the way for this to happen. God has created man with a free choice and man needs to choose to be saved. The Lord wants to serve us and come into our midst, but we need to prepare the way for this. We need to sanctify ourselves and adjust our conduct in keeping with the gospel.
District Apostles NE Barnes and T. Tshisekedi, as well as District Apostle Helper J. Kriel were called to assist in serving. This paved the way for the celebration of Holy Communion. After this celebration there were emotional moments when the serving of the departed took place. This was made all the more poignant by the rendition of "Glory for Me" played by bassoon and piano.
And then it was time for District Apostle Barnes to be called to join the Chief Apostle behind the altar. The Chief Apostle took some time in thanking the District Apostle for his sacrifices and support. He especially mentioned how he appreciated the District Apostle’s creativity and enthusiasm. The Chief Apostle then placed him into well-deserved retirement. He then took some time to explain the amalgamation of the two district churches before calling District Apostle P. Mkhwanazi and District Apostle Helper J. Kriel to the altar so that the necessary ordination and appointment could take place.
The choir ended proceedings with A Happy Bride, which was a fitting tribute to the retired District Apostle as he in his first divine service in the District Apostle ministry uttered the words: I want to lead a happy bride home!