For the first time in the history of the church’s activities in India, an online registration system was introduced for a Divine service which proved to be very efficient. This process not only made it easier for members to reserve their seats, it also provided the organizers with interesting and insightful facts about the attendees which can be seen below.
The minimum amount for registration was INR 500/- and there was also an option of contributing through donations. Thirty-eight generous donors contributed INR 2,38,000/- (almost 3,700 USD). Being the first time, we are overwhelmed and very thankful for this great start.
The limited seating capacity at the venue allowed for maximum 950 registrations, of which almost 500 seats were blocked for the members from Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The remaining seats were kept open for the rest of India. According to the registration data, the gender ratio of the congregation is estimated to be 45% women and 55% men. More than half of the attendees are below 35 years of age, and almost 100 children (below 14 years) have registered, too.
Our Diverse Congregation
The Divine Service was mainly targeted at the Hindi speaking members, and our data confirmed almost 450 registrations from Hindi speaking areas (Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra). This was followed by almost 300 registrations from Odisha (where Hindi is also a widely known language) and around 100 members from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The remaining registrations were mostly from South India (Andamans, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala) and our special guests from overseas (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Germany, France, Nepal).
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider was accompanied by District Apostle Mark Woll from Canada and his three Helpers: Apostles John Sobottka, Frank Dzur and David Devaraj. Other guest Apostles came from Bangladesh (Apostle Gilbert Halder) and Cambodia (Apostles Songseang Phat and Sophal Keo).
A Journey worth Making
There were a lot of sacrifices involved by members who wanted to personally attend the Divine Service conducted by the Chief Apostle. Time and distance did not stand in the way. Members coming from the Andaman Islands had to cover a distance of more than 1500 kilometres! Many members from the Southern and Northern corners of India undertook an arduous train journey of more than 24 hours, just to be able to attend the divine service conducted by the Chief Apostle!