How did the Pentecost service get to the various congregations? In very different ways. And some, like the Democratic Republic of Congo, made a celebration of their own out of it.
Behind the scenes there was even a première over Pentecost: the central broadcast of the divine service took place entirely via the internet. The years before up to 25 satellites had been needed to transmit the events to all five continents.
From the sky into the web
The background: Bischoff Publishers, which are owned by the Church, have switched from satellites to the internet. It is more flexible and saves on personnel and fixed costs. This was a decision taken by the European District Apostle Meeting.
A dedicated streaming service has now replaced satellite dish reception in the European congregations. This has been named after the transmission technology used: IPTV. Once registered, members can also log in from home—a concept that Canada and the USA have been using for quite a while.
From one TV station to another
Entirely via internet? Well, not quite. “The internet is not a good solution for us,” District Apostle Tshitshi Tshisekedi from the DR Congo South-East reports. “Most of our congregations are in the villages, but even in the main towns the internet connection is poor.”
“The solution to connect people in our region remains the local TV stations,” the District Apostle explains. And this is how it worked work last Sunday:
- The New Apostolic Church Southern Africa also broadcast the Pentecost service on its television channel NAC TV.
- The New Apostolic Church in the DR Congo secured slots with the national broadcaster NYOTA TV CANALSAT 356, which picked up the live signal via decoder and distributed it nationwide.
- The signal received with the English sound was supplemented by a French interpretation at the station’s headquarters.
- The signal received with a French translation was interpreted into the local languages Tshiluba, Swahili, and Otetela at the regional television studios.
Thousands just kept on celebrating
The Pentecost service reached around half a million members in the congregations of the south-eastern part of the DR Congo alone. And that represents just one of two Regional Churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The largest gathering that took place over Pentecost was probably in Lubumbashi, the headquarters of the Regional Church DR Congo South-East. “7,634 young people were together in our central church of Kawama,” District Apostle Tshisekedi reported. “They spent the whole day in the church to celebrate the event.” Right after the service they continued making music themselves.