1988

May 22, 1988: Fellbach (Germany)

Setting: It was the first divine service conducted by Chief Apostle Richard Fehr. A few days prior to the service, Chief Apostle Hans Urwyler had ordained his successor as Chief Apostle.

All District Apostles, several District Apostle Helpers and Apostles from overseas, as well as all Apostles from Europe - a total of 58 Apostles - were present for the occasion. The divine service was transmitted into 921 congregations by postal cable. At the end of the divine service District Elder Burdu Komba Gborie from Sierra Leone was ordained an Apostle. Apostle Peter Dessimoz from Switzerland was ordained a District Apostle.

After the opening prayer, District Apostle Arno Steinweg read out a letter announcing to the congregations officially that the hitherto Chief Apostle Hans Urwyler had gone into retirement and that his last official act was the ordination of the hitherto Chief Apostle Helper Richard Fehr as the new Chief Apostle.

Pentecost greeting: "Maran atha – Our Lord is coming!" (cf. 1 Corinthians 16: 22)

Core thoughts: “Whenever there is a change and a new man is entrusted with the mission of carrying forward a particular effort, people expect him to make a clear statement on his future activity. […] Let me announce my “agenda” to you:  Maran atha = Our Lord is coming!”

The new Chief Apostle then went on to cite a proverb by Emmanuel Geibel which loosely translates as follows: “Who strives to reach the highest goal / Must calmly stand and man the wheel, / Indifferent to all praise and scold / That often sprays against the keel.”