For many places in the New Apostolic Church India, the year 2018 has started with a new Sunday School programme. One of these places is the Podili district in Andhra Pradesh, where the Sunday School teachers gathered for a one day seminar on Saturday. One day later, District Apostle Helper David Devaraj visited the congregation in Mallampeta in the neighbouring district of Podili, where Bishop Prasad Somala received his retirement blessing.
Excitement for Podili’s Sunday School Teachers
On Saturday, 20 January 2018, a seminar was held in Ramayanakandrika for 31 Sunday School Teachers of Podili district. The facilitators started their work by sharing what they had previously learned in a seminar at Hyderabad, just a few weeks back: The four categories of Sunday School for children of different ages, the objectives of Sunday School, the different learning styles of children, all of which was supported by workshops and presentations. Books such as teachers manuals and student workbooks (in the Telugu language) were introduced, and the teachers were instructed how to prepare lesson plans.
It had been an exciting and action packed day, and the Sunday School teachers were eager to start working with the new materials. The next day was their first chance to apply the newly learnt knowledge, and many of them were very excited to go and teach the children in their respective congregations. Below are impressions from Gosukunda Agraharam where the children were divided into three age groups and the new teaching material was implemented immediately.
Faithful and Forgiving – Divine Service in Mallampeta
On his arrival at the congregation, Apostle David was welcomed by a group of Sunday School children. They had prepared a song in which they expressed their thankfulness for his spiritual guidance on the way to our Heavenly home.
The Divine Service which followed was based on Luke 7:47-48, Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Apostle David explained this year’s motto “Faithful to Christ” and connected it to the theme of the Divine Service: Forgiveness and our love for Jesus. We love Jesus Christ and we are faithful to Him because He grants us forgiveness. In order to obtain forgiveness we must believe in Jesus Christ, show remorse, and be prepared to forgive.
Retirement of Bishop Prasad
After the forgiveness of sins and the celebration of Holy Communion, the time had come for the retirement of Bishop Somala Babu Venkata Ram Prasad, lovingly known as Bishop Prasad. Born on 18th May 1961 in Vinukonda (Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh), he had served for almost 36 years as a minister in the New Apostolic church, 20 of which in the Bishop ministry.
After being ordained as Bishop, he was working in the areas of Vinukonda and Nalagonda which is in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. For the past three years, Bishop Prasad had been jointly involved in the property management for the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Our thanks for his services go not only to him but also to his wife Lavanya who has supported him through all these years of ministry, and we wish them both many more years of joy and faithfulness – to each other and to Jesus.