Great days of blessing in Manila

21.11.2018

A fond farewell to District Apostle Urs Hebeisen

The new District Apostle, Edy Isnugroho

Concert on Saturday in the congregation of Makati

Welcome to the Apostle Meeting on Monday (all photos: NAC SEAsia)

Retirement after 43 years of ministerial activity: in the course of his trip to the Philippines, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider retired District Apostle Urs Hebeisen, who had served in ministry for many years. The Chief Apostle confirmed that the latter had been an adventurer for the Lord.

The international Church leader visited Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, from 16-20 November 2018. The days he spent there were abundantly filled with a series of meetings. Another 40 Apostles from the region of South East Asia, along with several guests from Australia, Europe, and North America, had also come to mark the occasion. In fact, the guests at this event had travelled there from some 20 different countries. The divine service on Sunday took place in the Palacio de Maynila, and the basis of the sermon was taken from James 1: 12: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

A festive discharge into retirement

At the end of the divine service, the Chief Apostle restructured the leadership of the gigantic District Apostle district. District Apostle Hebeisen was given a festive retirement. He had travelled as a minister of the Church for 43 years, 36 of them as an Apostle. For the last ten years he led the Church in South East Asia.

The curriculum vitae of the District Apostle reads like an adventure novel: born in 1952 in Basle, Switzerland, he immigrated to Japan in 1976, then made his way to Hong Kong, and finally made his home in Manila, Philippines in 1982. In Tokyo he was reinstated as a Deacon on 18 September 1977 and, over the ensuing years, served as a Priest, Evangelist, and District Evangelist. As of 12 December 1982 he began to work as an Apostle. On 7 May 1995, he was given an expanded mandate as a District Apostle Helper. On 18 January 2009, the then Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber ordained him a District Apostle.

Chief Apostle Schneider wrote as follows to the Apostles around the world: “We thank our District Apostle and friend, Urs Hebeisen, with all our hearts for the many years in which he dedicated himself to the service of the Lord and the congregations in his care, and we wish him and his dear wife a pleasant and richly blessed retirement.”

A new District Apostle

To succeed him, the Chief Apostle appointed Apostle Edy Isnugroho (55) from Yogyakarta, Indonesia—likewise a man with great experience and deep faith, who has served the Lord for many years—a District Apostle. He will now lead the New Apostolic Church of South East Asia, which incorporates the congregations in Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palau, the Philippines, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Bishop Samuel Tansahtikno (47) will also support him in the Philippines. The latter received the Apostle ministry and, as a district rector, will also bear responsibility for the District Church of the Philippines.

The District Church of India also received a new Apostle: the hitherto District Evangelist Prem Mohan Ray (48) from Bengaluru was ordained to the Apostle ministry.

Apostle Meeting

On Monday, Chief Apostle Schneider reconvened all the Apostles of the region for an Apostle Meeting. The core elements of his remarks served to deepen their understanding of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the changes to the concept of ministry which have recently been announced.