The Forum: Backgrounder

  1. What is the FORUM?
  2. It is a platform for concerned and aggrieved members of the Old Apostolic Church who feel that they have nowhere to turn to plead their case. It is a direct channel to Head Office, a facility that is not provided for by the statutes of the Church. The FORUM is a watchdog over the interests of the powerless masses of the Church. There is no intention to break away or disregard the statutes and teachings of the Church. Members are required to remain loyal to the Church and supportive of its activities. Head Office has been duly informed about the establishment and aims of the FORUM.

  3. Why the need for the FORUM?
  4. There is no democracy in the Church. Monthly congregational meetings have no teeth and members are made to believe that they have no rights. Everything is controlled from Head office. And this while the constitution of the country, inter alia, guarantees them freedom of speech and recourse to the courts of law if their rights are being trampled upon. Members should be in charge of their own parish. Change will only come about when the constitution of the Church has been overhauled. The FORUM is there to remind members and to assist them in taking back the administration of their congregations. The FORUM will continue to exist until a fully democratic order has been established in the Church.

  5. How did the FORUM originate?
  6. The FORUM was born out of the frustration of many members who are concerned about current developments in the Church that impact negatively on its image. The ongoing court battles between Apostles and members, as well as the embarrassing reports in Die Son newspaper, were the catalysts for the actions by a group of concerned members to establish a body that can, without fear of favour, confront the leadership of the Church directly in an attempt to salvage the dented image of the Church. Since 1972, congregations have been systematically stripped of whatever autonomy they previously had and have now become mere spectators, who are required to provide the money (tithes) but have no control over their own affairs.

  7. Composition of the FORUM
  8. The FORUM is made up of ordinary members who are not scared to speak up and are prepared to work to change conditions in the Church for the better. Membership is free and open to all Old Apostolics who are concerned about the future of the Church and are prepared to actively support the movement to transform the Church into a body that is accessible to all who are sealed and purvey the gospel of hope and soul salvation. One of the aims of the FORUM is to have branches all over the country.

  9. How does the FORUM operate?
  10. Since the members are currently without an effective voice in the Church and local church officers seem to be acting mainly in the interest of Head Office, the FORUM will engage Head Office directly with regard to any action of importance to members and congregations. Experience has shown that it is futile to leave matters in the hands of officers who themselves are scared of their superiors or to take a stand on behalf of their congregants. Therefore, members who feel that they have been unfairly treated by officers are invited to approach the FORUM with their complaints, which would then be pursued with Head Office or the relevant church authority.

  11. Substitute
  12. The FORUM acts as a substitute for what senior officers such as the Elders and Fourfold Officers are supposed to do. Also, it fills the gap left by the absence of the necessary structures that should constitutionally be in place to serve members. It is not intended to become an alternative power structure in the Church and will be disbanded the day when the administration of the Church has been truly transformed and members feel that they have effective control over matters. Members should continue to try the existing structures first. And if they have no success there, the FORUM will be more than willing to intercede on their behalf.

  13. Constructive Engagement
  14. The FORUM was founded in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation and will at all times strive to maintain cordial relations with officers of the Church. Members of the FORUM are compelled to uphold the highest standards of decency and integrity and to accord anointed officers the required measure of reverence. Meetings are opened and closed with prayer and breaking of the bread is key among the activities of members of the FORUM. There is no place for ambitions to foment revolution or disturbance of the peace. Membership of the FORUM does not absolve members from their responsibilities, as dictated by the ordinance of the Church.