10 August 2023

The Swiss relief organisation NAK-Diakonia had to deal with two major events in 2022 which meant considerable expenditures. The recently published annual report shows that joy and sorrow are never far apart.

Two events characterised the year 2022, District Apostle Jürg Zbinden, the president of the foundation board, writes in the foreword: “The world was still recovering from the pandemic while, almost simultaneously, the war began in Ukraine. We were clearly shown just how close joy and fear can be. Brief moments of light-heartedness were abruptly ended by uncertainty and the question as to what lies ahead.”

New start after the pandemic

The end of the pandemic meant that more activities could take place again in the District Apostle Area, including those requiring financial support: for example, there were two children’s retreats in Moldova in the summer of 2022, where over one hundred children were able to spend time together again following the pandemic.

An important part of the foundation’s purpose is the education and training of ministers, musicians, and other volunteers in the Church. In 2022 the foundation was once again able to sponsor a number of projects such as a meeting of the teachers in charge of religious education in Spain. Participants had the opportunity to talk about the new Sunday School material and how to bring music into the classroom.

Emergency aid for war refugees

“The war in Ukraine has forced many people to leave their homes and seek refuge in another part of the country or in neigbhouring countries,” the annual report says. Already in the first days after the beginning of the war, NAK-Diakonia sponsored numerous emergency aid projects.

People fleeing the war were supported financially, received emergency aid packages and urgently needed medicines, and many brothers and sisters who had given Ukrainians a temporary home received financial support from the foundation. These were mostly brothers and sisters in Moldova who do not have much to live on at the best of times, but wanted to contribute what little they have to support the Ukrainians who had had to flee. But people in Austria and Romania also helped the refugees.

Big and small expenses

The purpose of the foundation is also to procure and maintain real estate owned by the Church, material resources, and Church infrastructure in the countries served outside of Switzerland. At around 700,000 Swiss francs, this expense accounted for the largest cost item in 2022. Some renovations and renewals especially in Austria were carried out in the reporting year.

The funding of major events, especially in Moldova and the Czech Republic, placed a heavy burden on the foundation’s account, but made for some happy moments for the brothers and sisters. Around 200,000 Swiss francs went towards training costs, and almost as much money went towards activities for children and young people. Funds also went towards the promotion of music, particularly in Romania and Switzerland.

None of this would be possible without the brothers and sisters

The money for all of this comes from the brothers and sisters. In accordance with an agreement, the New Apostolic Church Switzerland leaves part of the offerings to the charity. It received a particularly large number of donations in 2022 earmarked for specific campaigns, totalling 140,000 Swiss francs. In addition, the charity also received around 505,000 Swiss francs in unrestricted funds.

“Without your active support, dear donors, our foundation would not be able to fulfil any of these tasks,” District Apostle Zbinden writes in the annual report. “Once again, I would like to thank you very much for your support.”