As the Apostolic Creed denotes, the Apostolic Church of Queensland’s original roots go back to our Lord Jesus Christ who as the Head of the Church laid the foundations of this spiritual building to be known as the Church. The Church was given life by the sending of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost and so began the first Apostolic Church. It, under its head, was to be structured according to His Commandments as recorded in Ephesians 2 v 19-22:
saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone in whom all the building
fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded
together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
The Apostles became the foundation of the Lord’s teachings and we can read in Scripture how additional Apostles were ordained in the original Church to keep the work ongoing from the original 12 chosen directly by our Lord. Some of those recorded are:Matthias (Acts 1: 22-26), Ananaias (Acts 9:17-18), Paul (1Cor. 15:9), Andronicus (Rom. 16:7), Junias (Rom. 16:7), Barnabas (Acts 13:2-4) , Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), Silvanus (1Thes. 1:1), James [brother of Jesus] (Gal. 1:19), Apollos (1Cor. 1:12)
History records that the Apostle Ministry was taken out of the Church by the will of man and many dark pages of history are now recorded as a result of that.
Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church again became the caretaker of the Apostle Ministry (Hebrews 3:1; ‘Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest or our profession, Christ Jesus’) to again re-establish it in his time and order. This period is known as the latter rain on earth, as recorded in Joel 2:23. This came about when God’s spirit aroused devout Christians and clergy from all around the world, about 1820, and in the UK this ministry was again re-established by the Lord. History records this as “Catholic Apostolic” revival and is the subject of study by many theologians throughout the Church since then. A brief summary of this period is extracted from the publication “Religious Bodies in Australia” 3rd Edition by Rowland Ward and Robert Humphreys 1995.
Many reference books were written on this re-establishment, one being “Gathered under Apostles” a study of the Catholic Apostolic Church by C G Flegg 1992.
This was a period in Christian History of much research of the Scriptures and guidance by the Holy Spirit to the re-established Apostle Ministry and volumes of works and findings were sent out to all Christian Churches who adopted much of those findings and as with the original Church, great advancements were made to more fully understand the mysteries of God. Large libraries still exist in England and are eagerly visited by deeper thinking theologians, even today. A list of only a few of those publications can be obtained by Emailing The Apostolic Church of Queensland.. Many MANIFESTOS were sent out at that time to all leaders of the world and churches warning of things to come and urging all to become “Catholic” and “Apostolic” in their faith and pray that these ministries would continue so that the Church could be prepared to be as a bride at the Lord’s return.
During 1860 a dispute arose regarding the continuance of men to be ordained into the Apostle Ministry. The remaining English Apostles felt it was not necessary, but by both devout ministers and through prophecy many saw the great need for the continuation of this blessing in the Church. As a result a small group of believers in Holland and Germany were set aside from the Church and they prayed for the continuance of this office. These prayers were blessed and by 1863 Apostles were functioning in the group which was known as “Apostolic Mission Church.” The Lord showed He was with this group which laboured under persecution, particularly in Hanover, where a State Church forbade any other views to be expressed. An extract from the Book “The Work of the Church from 1860” by P Kuhlen describes an event that had a big impact on the work in Queensland:
A daughter community of great significance for the spreading of God’s work in central Germany was Schladen am Harz. In the year 1865, Brother Vollbohm, who had been a member of the Apostolic communion in Hamburg, returned to his home (the Harz Mountains) and told his parents and brothers and sisters of the divine deeds he had heard of and experienced. He also brought to his friends and acquaintances the Apostolic witness. The first members to gather in Schladen were Mrs Sebastian’s parents, signal-man Fischer (the latter brought the Apostolic witness to railway inspector Krebs who was employed in Schladen), and the subsequent Apostles Ruff and Niemeyer. Apostle Preuss conducted the first service in Brother Vollbohm’s house. However, at that time it was not appropriate in Hanover (not even in private dwellings) to advocate what one acknowledged to be true and just. Utterances made by free-thinking men were held to be suspect, and such men had to be ready for all kinds of injury and danger. This fate befell Apostle Preuss. The next day he was arrested in connection with conducting the first evening service, taken to Wollingerode and imprisoned. After three days he was released. This incident caused an uproar in the whole village and was a significant contributory factor in the attention that the Apostolic teachings invited!
The first ministers of the Apostolic community in Schladen were Krebs and Vollbohm who were appointed by Apostle Preuss as sub-deacons and had to contend with an extremely difficult state of affairs. Schladen is situated on the Prussian-Hanoverian border. Since there was no religious freedom in Hanover then, Apostle Preuss was not able to assemble the members of the Apostolic community in closed quarters. All meeting rooms were out of bounds to him, and the police did their best to uphold ecclesiastical discipline on behalf of the Hanoverian State Church.
When the Apostle returned to Schladen after some time and attempted to hold services, there was no dwelling available for an assembly. So he and his friends and guests went out into the fields and the first sealing took place one night in the open air. During this pastoral service, prayers were said particularly for a meeting place for the children of God. In the course of Apostle Preuss’s persistent supplications, the words of prophecy emerged: “A kingdom shall fall into ruin and my people shall be free.”
No one knew what these words were to spell. A few months later, 1866, war with Austria erupted. The days of the Hanoverian kingdom were soon numbered, and the prophetic words were fulfilled. As a result of the annexation of Hanover, Schladen became Prussian and henceforth nothing stood in the way of services being held. Consequently, due to the zealous activities of members, the Apostolic work spread to Winneburg, Wedela and Osterode. Additional branch communities were set up in Braunschweig and Wolfenbuttel.
The young man HF Niemeyer witnessed these events and was converted and had the desire to go to the new land of Queensland and set in place the foundations of this Church that would with God’s blessings grow. During 1883 he was ordained to be an Evangelist, but because the Church was only young in Prussia all they could contribute was prayers. In 1886 he was ordained to be an Apostle for Australia having pioneered difficult work in a virgin land.
All ministers in the Apostolic Mission Church which was now spreading around the world abandoned the cleric robes and wore ordinary clothes and were not paid by the Church and had to follow secular occupations. This is still the case today in the Apostolic Church of Queensland and those other churches throughout the world associated under the World Wide Unity of Apostles. All ministers must become brothers amongst brethren.
After the demise of the last English Apostle the Apostle Mission Church in Europe experienced rapid growth as the previous members from the Catholic Apostolic Church sought their spiritual guidance from the continuing body. Along with it also came some nonscriptural changes such as abolishing the prophet office and introducing a stamm (later) chief Apostle whose words were to be considered to have precedence over the Bible. This caused concern around the world and in Europe some Apostles were expelled for opposing these ideas. They formed the “Reformed Apostolic Community.” In Africa the Apostle was expelled and the court ruled he was to be known as “The Old Apostolic Church”, and those that continued with the chief, “The New Apostolic Church.”
By 1912 the Australian Apostle also withdrew from “The New Apostolic Church” and so began the birth of the name “The Apostolic Church of Queensland.” Both groups continued separately from that time.
World wide since then there have been many expelled from the New Apostolic Church for opposition to doctrines and teachings introduced. These groups usually reform and have become affiliated under the World Wide Unity of Apostles who meet regularly to ensure that the Church is being led strictly in accordance with Scripture and the guiding power of the Holy Spirit. All churches bear the inscription on their altars “ALL HONOUR TO GOD” as a constant reminder to all members.
Much is written in Queensland history of the hardships endured by our pioneers in settling this land. Following is a report of such work in the pioneering of the Apostolic Church of Queensland written many years ago.
Apostle H.F Niemeyer
The Life of the Apostle H F Niemeyer
On June 28th, 1883, the Evangelist, H. F. Niemeyer, with his wife and three children, arrived in Queensland. He was sent from Germany to seek souls for the Apostolic Church. When he landed in Brisbane the whole of his money left to him was a halfpenny, but he found employment with his brother-in-law, Mr. Lose, who was then in Brisbane in business. He worked for him for five months to learn a little of the English language, and after that he went on the land in Grandchester. But in the school of suffering he had to learn the will of God, for one of his children became very ill, so that all hope for its life was given up. Mr. Lose advised the Evangelist to call a doctor, for, he said, should the child die he would come in conflict with the law of the land. The Evangelist Niemeyer had no intention of doing such, for, he said, if God wishes to take the child, no doctor can help it.
He believed in God alone as his helper, so he and his wife went into a room by themselves and earnestly prayed to God to help them, and oh, wonder of wonders, next morning when his brother-in-law saw the Evangelist’s wife feeding the child, he just stood and looked and said nothing, and quietly walked away and left them to themselves. In these five months of the Evangelist’s employment he had saved a small sum of money, for which he bought the necessary tools for the farm in Grandchester. On being sent from Germany to evangelise, be had to fulfil his calling. He left his wife and family with his brother-in-law and went on the farm, but the very next day the tempter came to him and offered him a good place in Brisbane, the wages should be two pounds per week, a free house, and free rations. He was strongly advised by his brother-in-law to accept this and let the farm alone, but the Evangelist Niemeyer said: “I have said I am going on the land, and on the land I am going, and with the help of God I will find what I am seeking.”
So he went on the farm to build a hut and prepare the place for his wife and children, but this was easier said than done, and this he found to his bitter experience. He came to the place on the farm which should be his home; there he found a patch of scrub to the extent of about half an acre cut down, he also found a little material for the hut prepared and some roofing iron. The owner of this place, Mr. Janke, had brought him as far as the farm and then left him. The Evangelist asked the owner where he could find water, and he pointed in a certain direction and said, “There you will find water.” The first thing the Evangelist did on the farm was to prepare a bed for the night; he placed a few sheets of the iron together and gathered together some leaves and made his bed, and then in the evening he went to get some water. He took with him a bucket and an axe, but he found no water in the direction pointed out to him, for in the thick scrub even by making marks on the trees he became lost, and as in the case when being lost, went in the wrong direction.
About five o’clock the next evening he came to a farmer and asked for a drink of water, which he received; this farmer told him to go to Grandchester, where he would find water. He went in the direction of Grandchester and found some there, but it was very muddy, and also a dead calf was lying in it, but necessity knows no law, and he filled his bucket with the little water there was there and returned to his hut until such time as he should find better water. He arrived fatigued on his farm, and there had to boil the scum off the water, and when it had settled down there was about one- quarter water, the rest was scum. He had no knowledge of the Queensland scrubs, and he laid himself to rest with weary, aching limbs, and very much depressed in mind. At daybreak he was awakened by a kookaburra whose laughter frightened him. He jumped up expecting this laughter to come from Australian natives, until he noticed the bird himself, so his fear was allayed. He prepared his breakfast, and then commenced to build a hut, and by nightfall, after the day’s labour, he had prepared it to some little extent for his own comfort.
When this hut was completed his wife and family came to Grandchester from Brisbane, and he went to meet them at Grandchester on the appointed day, but much worried in his own mind that he should take his wife and family to such a place, but his wife’s brave heart was filled with faith, hope, and love, and she pacified him after he bad explained the place he was taking her to. This time Mr. Janke loaded them in a dray with all their belongings and took them as far as the road permitted; from there they had to carry all their provisions and other things uphill themselves. The rations consisted of half a bag of flour, half a bag of potatoes, tea, sugar, corned beef, etc. This was the start on the farm, so both the Evangelist and his wife pacified one another and lived in hope of better days.
Evangelist Niemeyer had no idea that this was a schooling from God, for He showed unto him that he had sent him and had to be first schooled in the work of God through many wonders. He commenced to cut down the scrub and his wife bravely helped him; this was no light work, for his wife was in a blessed condition, but they toiled bravely on. Unfortunately, their rations gave way and they had no money to buy any, so the little flour that they had left was mixed with salt and water, and from this bread was baked. You can well imagine what this was like, but hunger forced them to eat it. Under these conditions it was impossible for the Evangelist and his family to last, and he broke down. That was the teaching in God’s school, that he should learn to know God, so he and his wife knelt down and prayed earnestly to God to give them relief, and they had pleasure in the knowledge that the Lord God had heard their prayer. On the same day, after a long spell of dry weather, the Lord blessed them with a bountiful rain, so he was released from continually getting water from Grandchester, which was a distance of four miles.
Old wooden Bundaberg Church 1950
No one knows how serious it is unless they have been through it; only those of the early pioneers that braved the wilderness know what a shortage of water means. There was no eight-hour day then; it was from early morn until late in the evening, and then too often lump the unburnt logs together and burn them at night. After they had cut down some number of acres of scrub, cleared and planted it, the Evangelist commenced to build a better hut for himself and his family, for up till then they lived in the hut he had first built. One evening, when he was clearing the chips away, throwing them together, there was a death adder in one of the armfuls, which suddenly stung him in the right thumb. The sting was unbearable. He dropped the chips and grasped his thumb tightly; he hurried to his wife and asked her to bring some string, which she did. She tied one ligature on the wrist, but he noticed it was still going further, so she tied another above the elbow, and he even noticed that the poison was beyond this, and so another was tied below the shoulder.
Her husband could not stand the pain and felt himself gradually sinking, and prepared himself for death. He cut the arm fairly deep, but this only brought a few drops of dark blood, and his arm swelled to an enormous size. His wife noticed that the poison was in the body and gave way to wailing, but she thought of the miracle that happened to the Apostle Paul and said this to her husband. He prayed to the Almighty God for help, and then commanded the poison to stand still. Instantaneously God heard his prayer. He then fell into deep sleep like one unconscious. His wife, in the fear of his dying in his sleep, continually tried to keep him awake, which she did until two o’clock in the morning; then, in spite of all her endeavours, he fell fast asleep and could not be awakened until five in the morning. The poison of the adder had disappeared, only the thumb had a blue-black colour and the arm was a little lame. This night was one never to be forgotten by Mrs. Niemeyer, for in addition to the sting of the adder on her husband, the previous fire lit by her husband commenced to burn around the hut – even some of the trees took fire and fell very near to the hut – she tried very hard to put out this fire, but it was beyond her. But the God over life and death had sent His guardian angels to protect them and keep them from all danger.
Eight days later Mrs. Niemeyer was baking some bread out in the open and the wind drove the flames and they caught her clothes, and in an instant she was in flames. She called loudly to her husband, who was near at hand; he rushed to her and with his naked hands tore the burning clothes off her. Thanks to the Almighty God she was not burnt much, but the Evangelist had burnt his hands so severely that he did not know what to do for the pain. His wife called to him and advised him to put his hands in the cold earth. By following her advice he was to a great extent relieved of the pain. For a fortnight he could not do any further work.
In these hard and troublesome times that the Evangelist and his family passed through, no one knows, what trials and tribulations endured. His wife, who was in blessed circumstances, carried the clothes four miles to Grandchester to wash them, for the work in the field was too much for the Evangelist to do such, but he went to meet her in the evening to bring the clothes home. One evening, going to meet his wife with the clothes, he could not find her. He called at Mrs. Janke’s, who lived in Grandchester; she noticed the fear in the Evangelist’s face and said: “Your wife is surely lost in the scrub.” He hurried back, cooeeing and calling her name without getting an answer. Night came on and the Evangelist knelt down and prayed to the Almighty God to protect his wife and lead him to find her. After the prayer he got up, and as the thought struck him, he followed the path to another hill, still calling. Suddenly he heard a faint voice, to which direction he hurried, and there he found his wife, so they both thanked God and went towards their hut, where they found their three little children crying.
Verily it was a very severe schooling the Evangelist had to go through before he was found worthy in the sight of God to commence the work to which God had called him, but bravely he and his wife carried on in the childlike faith, living in the hope that there were better days in store for them. During this serious period of the Evangelist, three times the tempter came to him to lead him from his calling, but he said, like Moses, “I will sooner suffer with the children of God than gain any earthly honour.” It was shortly after this that Mr. Janke came to him and asked him what he was living on, “for surely,” he said, “your rations must have come to an end.” “Yes,” said the Evangelist, “some four weeks ago.” Mr. Janke then said, “I will supply you your rations until the first crop,” which he did. The Evangelist and his wife thanked God for this visible help, for they firmly believed that God had heard their prayer and sent relief through the storekeeper, Mr. Janke. For this blessing they were very thankful, to be relieved of their anxiety for their existence. The Evangelist kept his calling in mind, for which he was sent to Australia, but under the hard work of the natural, it was impossible to fulfil it. This worried him to some extent, that he could not do his duty as he would like to. A few months after he had settled on the farm, on a Sunday, a man had lost himself in the bush and came to him; this man was one of his countrymen. They learned to know one another, and the pleasure was great at their meeting. This man told him that at no great distance there were two more German families living. The Evangelist immediately went with him and found them, one of whom was a Mr. Wolther, and this was his nearest neighbour.
At this time there was a drought, and Mr. Wolther said to the Evangelist that he should get water from his place, which was a lot nearer than Grandchester, for, said Mr. Wolther, “I believe that when you pray before my water gets all dried up, the Almighty God will bless us with rain.” And so it happened, for when the water at Mr. Wolther’s place was near an end the good God sent the blessed rain to again fill the dam. In the meantime the work on the farm was not neglected, for every minute of the day was made use of. The scrub was cut, lumped and burned, and the land planted with corn, and one had the pleasure to see that God blessed his hands’ labour, but, as the old pioneers know, the wallabies are very fond of corn, and they came in thousands to demolish it; this they devoured, and so the crop was ruined, but the stout heart of the Evangelist prevented this for the future by fencing in his selection.
By this time the festive season had arrived, and the thoughts of the Niemeyer family went back to the Old Country, remembering the glorious time of the festive season, but in their want they bore up nobly, for it was useless to wail over things they could not gain. In all their privations they kept faith in the Almighty under all these trials and tribulations. The time came when Mrs. Niemeyer gave birth to a son, which was very serious, for in the wilderness no human help was nigh, and the neighbours were few and far between. In their steadfast faith to the Almighty God and the helper in all need, she gave birth to a son without any human aid. Shortly after this event, another man by the name of Carl Hahn and his wife and child came and selected a piece of ground opposite the Evangelist’s place. These people were also in poor circumstances, so the Evangelist and this family comforted one another in their weal and woe, and they became lifelong friends.
It was from now that the Evangelist commenced to testify, and through his zeal he soon convinced his new found friend and others to the true faith. So the commencement and the foundation of the Apostolic faith was laid in Queensland, Australia. Shortly after this, Mr. Janke asked him to come to Grandchester, which voice he followed. He there told him that at Mt. Beppo, near Esk, there were something like 14 families who had no minister. This pleased the Evangelist, and he made arrangements to meet them. He wrote to them, and they asked him to call on them, which he did, so the day was appointed when he should meet them. He loaned a horse from a brother in the faith, Wolther, and on November 12th, 1884, at three in the morning he commenced his journey, having no idea of the distance, or the right course to take.
Apostolic Church Mt. Beppo 1983
In those days there were no trains or roads as we find it today, but just like a wilderness to go through, but brave heart that he was, after many inquiries, he arrived at his destination on Sunday evening at five o’clock much exhausted. In the meantime these families had assembled within, and as he explained his delay, they decided to make the following day for service. Next day he held service; he testified to them the love of God and the grace brought again by the Lord, and they could not withstand the truth. After the service communion was held, also three children were baptised, and as the country was stricken by a severe drought, the people asked the Evangelist if he would pray for rain. He asked them if they could believe the good God would show that He would hear: he then prayed, and in the same evening there came a good soaking rain. When the people asked him what they owned him for his great trouble and sacrifice, they were shocked when he told them nothing – “All that I expect of you is faith, and obedience to the faith.”
The pleasure was great in this community having found a minister whose prayer was answered by God. He said unto them: “I seek not your worldly goods, I seek your souls, and receive my reward from God.” For those who had the pleasure to partake in this service and are alive this day still remember it. He then promised to return again in four weeks. On another occasion his friend Wolther accompanied him. This time they were advised to take a new and shorter route, but, unfortunately for them, they got bushed, and his friend was very sorry that he ever undertook such a journey on horseback. Their provisions ran out; neither had they any water. So under these trials the Evangelist had much to do to comfort and pacify his friend Wolther. In their exhausted state night came on, and they did not know where they were; both they and, their horses were exhausted, so to save their horses they got off and waited for daybreak. They again commenced their journey towards Mt. Beppo, still being bushed.
It is to note that after seeing these families the Evangelist said to his companion that he found only three souls that were fit for the Kingdom of God, two men and one woman. His companion could never forget these words uttered by the Evangelist. It was only Brs. Mayer, Greinke, and Sister Marschke who were re-born as Apostolic Christians; all the others who were there became unfaithful. These three souls became the foundation of a very large community which we find today. They were very pleased to find in him a man sent from God. From thence he visited this community every three weeks. This community grew with leaps and bounds, and after serving them for eighteen months, he told them that everyone had to decide whether he wished to become a member of the Apostolic faith before his next coming. As they came forth with a holy oath only those three of the first mentioned were there, but many were there in the meantime, and a good many souls were there to join the faith.
This is proof that God, through His servants, is the Master Builder, and prepares the stones to fit them in their grooves in the temple. The seed sown by the Evangelist did not fall upon rock, but on good land. The proof is that the seed sown sprouted. They stood in childlike faith, as one heart and soul united with their Apostle throughout until this day. Souls were also gathered in the Grandchester Mountains and these also became true followers of the faith. From there on it has also spread to Hatton Vale, and many members there also joined the Church. It now became necessary to leave the farm at Grandchester and buy another at Hatton Vale, the farm on which the Church and residence under the present Apostle stands.
The Church and members at Hatton Vale after 50 years in Australia
At Hatton Vale he met a man with the name of Klibbe, who had heard of the Evangelist, and who wanted to hear him. He offered his companionship on the next trip to Mt. Beppo, which was accepted. On the road religion was discussed and Klibbe decided to become a follower of the Evangelist Niemeyer for Klibbe was satisfied of the truth of the word spoken by the Evangelist. Br. Klibbe became a zealous worker and a great help to the Evangelist, and he opened the way to further progress in Tarampa. His brother’s (F. Klibbe) wife, who was suffering with sickness, knew nothing of this, but on a Sunday morning before they arrived at her place, she saw a vision; she saw two men coming, one she knew as her brother-in-law, C. Klibbe, and the other she knew not, and as they entered the house she rose into a sitting position in her bed and said: “They are the men I saw in the vision.”
The Evangelist commenced to testify of the Kingdom of God, that God had again re-established his altar in all parts of the world, etc. They took knowledge of the truth which he substantiated with the Holy Writ. They humbled themselves and asked the Evangelist to intercede by the throne of mercy for Mrs. Klibbe, which he did, and in a short time she was completely restored to health. This was soon made known to the people of Tarampa, and there were many to see and learn to know the Evangelist Niemeyer, and the word of God was spread and members were gathered into the fold. From now on the distress with regard to the natural was somewhat allayed, for on the farm that he had bought at Hatton Vale there were six horses, eighteen cows, pigs, and also fowls, but his debt had risen to the extent of $1,800, but after a time the opportunity came when he could sell the farm at Grandchester, and the burden was made considerably lighter, and be could put all his work in the farm at Hatton Vale.
In all his enterprises, in both natural and spiritual, he was not helped with one penny from Germany, for he never wrote to them of the trials and tribulations that he passed through and the miserable start that he had made, but bore the burden with his wife and family. We are proud to say that not one shilling has been collected in any foreign land for the work of God in Australia, for God blessed the work of His servant Niemeyer at all times. It was now that the Evangelist wrote to the Apostles in Germany, explaining to them that there were about a hundred souls here that wished to be sealed as members of the Bride of Christ, so they came together in Germany, and he in Australia, and lifted up their hearts unitedly in prayer to Jesus Christ to give Australia an Apostle. In this prayer meeting the Evangelist Niemeyer was called to the Apostle Office, and he was advised by the then Apostles to come to Germany for ordination. So he and another Brother by the name of A. Dargusch, followed this call to Germany.
Opening dedication of Church at Ropeley, 1914
It was on July 25th that the Evangelist was ordained and sent out to Australia as an Apostle by the Apostles Krebs and Menkoff and a large gathering of the brethren of the Apostolic faith. Returning again to Australia, he found not only those that he had left, but others, who had also joined the Faith. From now on the work spread rapidly throughout the whole of Queensland. The Apostle Niemeyer was also instrumental in getting many hundreds of families as immigrants to Queensland, who were settled in various communities such as Baffle Creek, Binjour Plateau, Malmoe, Goomeri, and other places. Fully 80 per cent are successful farmers, and true followers of the Apostolic Church, knowing that they could never gain the freedom in Germany which they had received here.
Dedication of new church building Mackay 1973