Divine Service

Picture source: C. Bruchhäuser

For New Apostolic Christians, divine services have a special significance. As a fixed component of Christian life, they offer the repeated opportunity of experiencing inward communion with the triune God: the heavenly Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Participants in a church service find rest from everyday pressures, hear the Word of God and sense his love, receive divine peace and grace and redemption from guilt and sin.

Attendance at the divine services of the New Apostolic Church is open to anyone who is interested. We invite you warmly to experience a ‘service of God’ today and find out what it has to offer you.

Liturgy

Patenen
Picture source: Verlag Friedrich Bischoff [Friedrich Bischoff Publishers] (UF 1999/14, p.3)
The liturgy of the services of the New Apostolic Church is characterised by the following elements: prayer, proclamation of the Word, forgiveness of sins, celebration of the Holy Lord’s Supper and blessing. At special divine services, sacramental rites like Holy Baptism by Water or Holy Sealing may be performed.

Form of the Service

The liturgy of divine service in the New Apostolic Church takes the following form:

  • The congregation sings together a hymn from the Neuapostolisches Gesangbuch [New Apostolic Hymnal].
  • The celebrant begins the service with the Trinitarian words, ‘In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.’
  • After this the church functionary celebrating the service speaks the introductory prayer. This contains the elements of worship, thanksgiving, prayer and intercession.
  • This is followed by the reading of the biblical text appointed for the service of the day.
  • Depending on what is available, there now follows a musical contribution, usually by a four-part choir.
  • The sermon of the celebrant is freely delivered; it is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  • There may now be another musical contribution and an additional sermon from another church functionary.
  • The congregation prepares itself for the Holy Lord’s Supper and the forgiveness of sins with a textual and musical contribution in keeping with the theme.
  • The congregation now speaks the Our Father together, as it is to be found in Matthew 6, 9-13.
  • The celebrant then proclaims the good news of the forgiveness of sins.
  • In the following prayer, praise is given to God for the sacrificial death of his Son.
  • In the name of the triune God, the hosts are now set aside.
  • With the words, ‘The body and blood of Jesus given for you,’ the celebrant takes a host.
  • Other functionaries now receive a host.
  • Then the members of the congregation are invited to partake of the Holy Lord’s Supper. Accompanied by a congregational hymn, the hosts are distributed to the faithful.
  • After the celebration of Holy Lord’s Supper, the service concludes with a prayer of thanksgiving and the final blessing, which is pronounced by the celebrant, in the words of 2 Corinthians 13,13 – ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.’
  • The congregation responds with the liturgical song of the threefold ‘Amen’.

Other liturgical elements may be incorporated in the service as required:

  • Holy Baptism by Water
  • Holy Sealing (outpouring of the Holy Spirit)
  • The blessing of a marriage, and subsequent wedding anniversaries
  • The blessing of Confirmation
  • Ordination and retirement of church functionaries

The Our Father

The Our Father is the only prayer in the New Apostolic Church that is spoken in a set form of words. Holy Scripture gives us two versions of it (Luke 11,2; Matthew 6, 9-13). We pray it in the version handed down to us by Matthew:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory, for ever.
Amen.

The congregation prays the Our Father during the service before the forgiveness of sins and the celebration of the Holy Lord’s Supper.