Greetings from Callum, Thirza, Jolanda and Grant! We wanted to share some words for the December newsletter. Thank you for your warm welcome to the Netherlands and to Utrecht and Amersfoort. It probably seems a long time since the interviews happened in June – with all the sun and beautiful weather – and now we have arrived in typical Dutch autumn weather, cold windy and rainy! We wanted to thank you for your prayers over the past months for us as a family as we prepared to move to Amersfoort.
We have felt a sense of God’s call to come and help establish All Saints Anglican Church in Amersfoort. All Saints is such a great name for a new church. The name “All Saints” reminding us of our identity in Christ, of what has been achieved through the cross. But also that name reminds us how regardless if we would see ourselves as Reformed, Catholic Apostolic, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist or Presbyterian, we are all saints – we are united by the cross and by what God has achieved.
And on 20th December will be the launch of All Saints, at 9.30am at the Heilige Geestkerk in Amersfoort. That will be a special set of services as we launch at Christmas time with the Carols by Candlelight, our Midnight Communion and our Christmas Morning All Age Communion. Do please hold these services and those involved in your personal prayers.
But what can we say about ourselves that perhaps helps you to get to know us? Well Jolanda and I have been married 10 years, and were married in England at the church where I served my curacy, in Burton on Trent (at a church called All Saints!). We have two children, Callum Jelle Crowe and Thirza Kaitlin Crowe. We gave them names which reflect their British / Irish and Dutch heritages. Callum enjoys lego. Thirza loves making cards. They will be attending a Dutch school here in Amersfoort. As a family we enjoy biking, hill walking and exploring new places (our photo is from Mount Snowdon in Wales).
And what would be our thoughts about a new church. Two things we could share. Firstly, in our previous two churches in Telford, we enjoyed seeing people growing in their Christian faith and expressing their passions, using their talents (taught and natural) and spiritual gifts. We valued how people sacrificially gave themselves in serve of God and of his people. Secondly, I think my view of church ministry could be summed up as UP, IN, OUT.
UP – As we gather as Church on a Sunday or in smaller settings during the week, we want to worship our Lord God and bring him our praise and thanksgiving for all done for us in Christ, through the cross. We want to be fed so we are shaped further into the likeness of Christ and are equipped or encouraged further in a day to day Christian following. Yet in all our Sunday worship we want to embrace both the modern and the traditional and to enjoy the breadth of all that Anglican worship has to offer. And in our corporate worship, we face the challenge of how our worship can be open and accessible to visitors – whether committed Christians or perhaps people exploring Christianity.
IN is about the church – how we can become a community, strangers becoming friends, where no matter how the week has been, when someone comes to Sunday worship or a small group they know they come to friends, fellow brothers and sisters of Christ. Yet we are called to be disciples – as Matthew 28:18-20 reminds us – and so we want to followers of Christ who take his promises, his authority, his example and his commands seriously.
OUT – summed up in the word Mission. Years ago Mission was defined as being like a bird with two wings – Evangelism and Social Involvement. For us to be active in proclaiming our Christian faith by our words, as well as by our actions. But also for us to be seeking to serve others. All Saints will be seeking to serve the city of Amersfoort, to be a transforming influence as part of the Body of Christ in that city. What needs will we see and what will the Lord God be calling us to do?
Ha, that is a lot packed in. I’m a man of many words, and do think as I talk! But as a family we do feel and have felt God’s calling to serve in the Diocese of Europe since those sunny days of June. It was sad to leave Telford but we know it was the right time in God’s plans. And we look forward to getting to know you, as you get to know us! God bless.