(31.07.2014) The lecture area in the Ice Rink Training Hall with a capacity of 800 persons is well filled as Mathias Eberle, first chairman of the Apostolic History Network, steps onto the stage. It is one o'clock on Friday afternoon, and the events of the multi-faceted Church Convention program have just begun. With a temperature of almost 30 degrees Celsius, the most important accessory among the audience – in addition to a bottle of water – is an “old” German New Apostolic hymnal of 1925, the hymnal which was used for congregational singing in the divine services from 1925 to 2004. Alternatively, one can sing from the English hymnal which was used between 1986 and 2008. And one can observe when looking at some of the books that they literally accompanied their owners through the ups and downs of life.
The first hymn Mathias Eberle has chosen in advance for singing together could not have been more appropriate: “Come to the life-giving fountain, thirsty and burdened with grief …”. This frequently sung melody was performed vigorously at the beginning of this sing-along by several hundred throats. In between the various hymns which Eberle accompanies on the piano and which are enthusiastically sung by the audience, interesting information on the hymnal is provided. Whether the historical development, absence of number continuity, the hymnal prize of 1925, an “instructive word on the hymnal” or curious points such as the “hymn for the ordination of a priest or higher” (No. 640) – the pauses between singing are not only informative but also extremely amusing.
That the selection of hymns was well received by the singers is not only noticed during the sing-along. On this Friday afternoon, the familiar tunes can still be heard all over the Olympic Park –hummed, whistled or warbled.
Further information on the Apostolic History Network can be found at: www.apostolische-geschichte.de