Divine services in the South Pacific

17.09.2019

The daily newspaper known as the “Samoa Observer” reports on the divine service with Chief Apostle Schneider (Photo: NAC Western Pacific)

Zurich. The journey by airplane from Zurich to Samoa takes two whole days. The islands in the archipelago in the middle of the Pacific are a good 16,000 kilometres away from Zurich. Over the past weekend, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider’s Pacific journey began there with two divine services. For the members in this part of the world, it was a tremendous experience.

Over 100 people attended the divine service in the T.A.T.T.E. Conference Hall in Sogi. Sogi lies to the north of the capital of Apia on the main island of West Samoa. Prominent guests in the divine service included the head of state, Tuimaleali‘ifano Va‘aletoa Sualauvi II—who bears the title of “Chieftain”—and his wife. In addition to his chieftain’s title, “Tuimaleali’ifano”, the law and theology graduate Sualauvi also bears the honorary title of a lay preacher in the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa. As of 2017 he has represented his country to the outside world.

Round trip through Polynesia and Oceania

The international leader of the New Apostolic Church, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider, preached about the love for one’s neighbour that is to grow in each and every one who calls himself/herself a Christian. “Love,” he remarked, “and not fear, is to be the hallmark of every Christian. And Jesus, who has forgiven human beings their sins many times over, is the great example.” His nature is love—and this love is the model from which every Christian should take direction. He went on to add that “the more we learn to understand Jesus’ love for us, the more we will also love our neighbour.”

Onward to Fiji

Samoa, American Samoa, Fiji, and New Zealand: these were the stops of Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider’s thirteenth extra-European pastoral journey of the year. It consisted of one divine service on each of the two Samoan islands, namely Samoa (in Apia) and American Samoa (in Pago Pago), a divine service in Suva (Fiji), and a final divine service in Christchurch, New Zealand on Sunday 22 September 2019. The great distances make this a gigantic working area, which is served by Australian District Apostle Peter Schulte. In addition to divine services, the annual plan also incorporates youth gatherings and musical events.

Crossing the International Date Line

As already reported, there was another interesting special feature about this trip. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc celebrated two divine services in two different places on the very same day: on Sunday, 15 September 2019 at 10:00 AM in Apia, Samoa, and another on Sunday, 15 September 2019 at 10:00 AM in Pago Pago, American Samoa. In between, he will undertake a 30-minute flight that begins on 15 September and ends on 14 September. The blame for these temporal distortions lies with the International Date Line. It is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that the time zones collide, resulting in a time difference of 24 hours—in other words, a full calendar day!

The Samoa Observer reported on the divine service in Apia in its online edition.