New Start at the Nieuwe Erven!
All Saints congregation has moved! As you know, our final service at the Heilige Geest Kerk was to be on the 15th October. That final service was a special one as we said goodbye to a building which has been a great blessing to us, a wonderful place to begin as a new Anglican congregation. Our last service included space to reflect on the thanksgivings from the past almost two years (we held our first service at the Heilige Geest Kerk on 20th December 2015). People could light a candle a symbol of when the light of Christ shone, as shown by their memories.
Also in that service, a cousin of Lodewik Westerbeek van Eerten was visiting, who is from New Zealand and who works for Mission Aviation Fellowship. He brought us a brief word of encouragement as a congregation – an encouraging word about how God has been at work in an area of Australia but also a word of encouragement as we moved into our new building and a new part of Amersfoort, to the changes the Lord God may want to bring in us as well as the changes he may want to bring where we were moving to.
The sermon focused upon Isaiah 25 and especially v1, where God is praised for his faithfulness and for the outworking of his plans. The sermon raised the question of what plans, what good works, had the Lord put in place for this second chapter of our community’s life. If we believe the Lord has led us to Nieuwe Erven, then what good works has he planned for us to be involved in?
After that service there was a lot of activity as we held a special Big Brunch, and as people helped box and move items to the Nieuwe Erven. For one gentleman visiting, who has for years been part of the Heilige Geest Kerk Roman Catholic Community, it was touching for him to attend the last Communion in the building, and to hear one final time the organ played.
That evening, there was one final gathering. A service of evening prayer was held. And it was a beautiful time, touching, with a sense of heartfelt prayers as we gathered in the Lord’s presence. It was Anglican Evening Prayer but with an extended time of intercession, which focused upon: those who would come after us – namely the people and families who will live on the land where this church building will have been (the Heilige Geest Kerk will be demolished in the coming months); thanksgivings for our time in this church building; and prayers for our move, (our transition as well as practical issues). We finished by singing ‘Great is thy faithfulness’ … It felt a suitable closing act of prayer before we left…
And (last) Sunday 22nd October we began. In the midst of awful weather – rain worthy perhaps of the days of Noah – a large team gathered to help set up the building and especially the main room for our worship.
Setting up took longer than expected so we began our Holy Communion service a little late.
But it was a blessing to see so many people offer to serve in helping get things ready. It is a very different space as you can see from the photos. But already I can feel that beginning sense of ‘we are doing this together’ as many people help to prepare for our worship. In coming Sundays, we intend the team who have helped set up, our musicians, our techie, our communion server, with the service leader, to pray for the service ahead committing it all to God.
After our worship, the feedback from the TACA leadership team and from individuals they had spoken to, was that we had a good start, a blessed service and while there are tweaks to be made about preparations and how we do things in this new space, these are tweaks rather than a full reboot!
Our worship services will continue at 0930. Our first services are going to be All Age Worship with Holy Communion until the second building of the Nieuwe Erven has finished its renovations. This second building – an old brick barn – will offer great possibilities for our Sunday School work. We are going to offer as a congregation to help the Nieuwe Erven with finishing those renovations as the Nieuwe Erven relies upon volunteers for much of its activities.
We are thankful for the prayers said to God for us, by Utrecht and the other congregations of Groningen and Zwolle, including by those on the student away weekend, as we prepared for to worship in our new location. Thank you.
So our second chapter as a congregation has began! As we read in scripture, God’s people at different times are moved into new locations or new places. Sometimes they move through expansion, sometimes move through external pressures or things outside their control, and sometimes they moved directly at the Lord’s leading. But in all of it, we know the Lord God remains faithful and is a good loving and mighty Shepherd King who always goes with us, who guides, cares, and who invites us to serve within his kingdom’s purposes and mission.
Revd Grant Crowe.