Everybody loves celebrations. Whether they are birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries. The air is filled with excitement; there is good food, song, dance and happy speeches. Recently the members at Sathyamnagar church in Jalna, Maharashtra, had themselves a huge celebration. There were many programs planned but the main event was the retirement of eight ministers and the ordination of five brothers.
Since approximately 350 members were expected, the Sathyamnagar church opted to rent a largeish lawn in the outskirts of Jalna, the Steel and Seeds City of Maharashtra. Large tents were erected to keep the blazing sun at bay and to comfortably accommodate the large number of people expected. The agenda for the next two days was a brothers’ meeting with District Apostle Helper David Devaraj on day one, followed by a festive Divine Service on day two.
Breaking Bread with Brothers
Apostle David met with 38 brothers on Saturday morning for a time of spiritual exhortation and direction. The meeting also included the discussion of administrative reforms in which procedures for a more consolidated future were chartered out. In the evening, Apostle David met with the eight retirees for a special meal and a lighthearted evening on reminicing the bygone experiences of their lives as ministers in the New Apostolic Church.
Being Right with God
This was not at all like any other Sunday morning for the New Apostolic Church India: For the first time in Maharashtra, eight ministers were retiring and five new brothers were being ordained. Apostles Jagtap, Shastri and Pravin along with 350 church members gathered under the tents in Jalna to celebrate the Divine Service.
The Service started with praise and worship, creating a beautiful atmosphere for a great time of fellowship with God and His people. Apostle David conducted the Divine Service with a bible verse from Malachi 3:18, Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. A quiet and responsive congregation listened to what was reveiled to them by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle. “Very often those striving to live a righteous life, are crestfallen when they observe the wicked flourishing. On the day of judgment, a clear difference will be perceived. A true Christian will not fear the day of judgement which the Bible repeatedly talks about. Each person needs to be made righteous in order to see and be with God and this cannot be achieved by performing the works of law.” The congregation listened attentively to every word. Apostle David continued, “ The justification of a sinner is an act of God. Through faith in Jesus Christ, a sinner can participate in grace.”
The main sermon was concluded by sharing the characteristics of faith: trust in God the Father, obedience and confidence in His guidance, and willingness to forgive. Apostle David shared that in order to serve God in His Kingdom, each of them should profess their love and faith, model their lives to the Gospel, and help their neighbour.
Saluting the Old and Initiating the New
After Holy Communion was served to the congregations both seen and unseen, it was time for two more acts before the final blessing and closing payer. The eight ministers that were retiring and five brothers that were being ordained for the Diaconal ministry were called to the altar. The choir sang a special song for them. Four of the eight ministers had served in the New Apostolic Church for 45 years and the other four for 35 years. Apostle David gave a brief outline of their years in service and shared how they were pioneers of the ministry work in Jalna. They were commended for their fruitful and faithful service to the Lord. The retirees were moved to tears. They had never expected such honour and respect to be bestowed on them.
It was a day of joy and happiness and every person who was present felt blessed. They got to express their gratitude to the ministers who had served in Jalna for so many years and also pray for the new brothers that were ordained and ready to do great things for God.