Zurich/Cologne. After many years, the New Apostolic Church once again has a Chief Apostle Helper. In the Pentecost service on 27 May 2012 in Cologne Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber appointed the French District Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider with this new commission. He will in future provide support to the Chief Apostle and also take on some of his travels. “The transition is to proceed in as continuous a manner as possible,” said the Chief Apostle. He himself is already looking toward his own retirement, he explained, and is working early to address the matter of his succession.
The appointment of District Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider as Chief Apostle Helper, which had already been announced for some weeks ahead of time, took place following the sermon and the celebration of Holy Communion. “This is new even for me,” said the Chief Apostle with a smile as he asked the District Apostle to come to the altar.
A focus on Africa
In consideration of the increase in functions on an international level, the Chief Apostle mentioned that he could envision establishing certain points of emphasis in the work, for example, in the care of the New Apostolic Christians in Africa.
The schedule of divine services for this year will not change, however, said the Chief Apostle, as he does not wish to disappoint anyone who is looking forward to a visit from the District Apostle. Nevertheless, as of 2013 District Apostle Schneider will take on some of the Chief Apostle’s trips. “I am convinced that the New Apostolic Christians around the world will welcome you with open arms and hearts,” said the Chief Apostle.
Much strength and wisdom
Thereupon the Chief Apostle asked the District Apostle if he was prepared to take on this task, and then appointed him with the task of serving as a Chief Apostle Helper. “Into this handshake I lay the wish that you may serve with great strength and wisdom in the name of the triune God.”
For the time being, Chief Apostle Helper Jean-Luc Schneider will continue to be responsible for his working areas of France and parts of the Congo as District Apostle.
Not the first Chief Apostle Helper
The appointment of a Chief Apostle Helper is not entirely unknown in the New Apostolic Church. The last to occupy such a position was Richard Fehr, who served as a Helper under Chief Apostle Hans Urwyler for a year before taking office as Chief Apostle.
Jean-Luc Schneider is 52 years of age and lives in Strasbourg. He has belonged to the New Apostolic Church since childhood and his parents were already New Apostolic. He is married and the father of two children. He has been a District Apostle since 26 September 2004 and, in addition to the District Church of France, also leads numerous other District Churches such as Burundi, French Polynesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo-Southeast, and New Caledonia. The new Chief Apostle Helper Schneider will remain responsible for his current working area until further notice.