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Last Updated on Friday, 17 May 2013 13:53
In October 1832, apostles were chosen again by God through prophecy. As in the first apostolic age they were to proclaim the doctrine of Jesus until his return, and to reconcile all nations with God. The apostles sent memoranda to secular and ecclesiastical authorities, explaining their calling and their task. In about 1860 more apostles were called, also outside of England. The continuance and spread of the apostolic doctrine in all continents was ensured. Ever since the New Apostolic Church has existed as an institution, its official name dating back to 1911.
Development in South Africa
In 1889, Apostle Niemeyer of Australia commissioned Evangelist Carl Georg Klibbe to travel to South Africa and start the New Apostolic Church here. After arriving in Cape Town he settled in a number of places bringing testimony of the re-established apostle ministry, without success. He then moved to East London where he found people willing to listen to his testimony. This became the first New Apostolic congregation in South Africa and was established in 1892.
From this congregation evangelists, priests and deacons were sent to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg. They worked hard to establish congregations and generally gathered in houses as places of worship. On June 4, 1906 - Pentecost - the first New Apostolic chapel in Palmyra Road, Claremont, could be dedicated by the then Apostle Klibbe.
In 1913 the leadership of the New Apostolic Church in South Africa was entrusted to Apostle W Schlaphoff. At the time of his death on 16 August 1928 there were 39 congregations that had been established.
The pioneers of the Church, through zealous work, took the faith far afield, even into the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.
The life and death of District Apostle Arno Abicht as recorded in our history books.
Arno Abicht was born in Kassel, Germany on Saturday 23 December 1901 and sealed by Chief Apostle Bischoff. In 1923 he immigrated to Argentina with his older brother Otto. In Buenos Aires he and his brother testified under hard circumstances until a budding New Apostolic congregation was established. His natural work transferred him to the province of Misiones in the north of Argentina. With this transfer he got a commission to open a new district church in the area. He had to travel under the most difficult conditions because the areas he cared for were joined by jungle tracks and it was impossible to travel by motor car. This, however, did not deter this servant of God as he traveled by horse back and testified in 6 areas of this new district church a month and would conduct 4 to 6 services on a Sunday. When Chief Apostle Helper Schlaphoff was given the task to work in South America, these two men met and District Apostle Abicht was commissioned to work in Australia in assisting the ailing Apostle Dietz. He was ordained as an apostle in 1947 and was later commissioned to come to South Africa in June 1954. This was received with excitement by the brethren of South Africa and Apostle Abicht conducted his first service in Riversdale, Western Cape, South Africa. His impact on the development of the New Apostolic Church in South Africa was short but decisive. His work lead to the important restructuring of the New Apostolic Church in Southern Africa into 3 district churches and District Apostles Fernandes and Kreunen were ordained to help with the other two district churches while Abicht, assisted by Apostle Gut, lead the Cape district. Back then this area had a little over 20 000 souls. On 31 March 1957, the late District Apostle Abicht held his last divine service in South Africa in the Old Vasco Church. After the news of the passing of District Apostle Abicht on Thursday 27 September 1957 was heard, memorial services were held on Tuesday 2 October 1957 in Buenos Aires and in South Africa. His mortal remains were finally laid to rest in Australia.