A service of joy and celebration
It was always going to be a special service – our Trinity service and also our chance to celebrate (finally) the appointment of Bruce, thank everyone for their wonderful support over the last few years and bring our church community together (hooray, we are able, once again, to socialise!) The Festal Choral Evensong was a beautiful service – the canticles (Grayston Ives) were glorious and the anthem (As Truly as God is our Father, Matthias ) powerful and mysterious. After the final responses and prayers we moved on for celebratory drinks and presentations.
It was such a joy to hear the choir sing and the organ play in such a magnificent setting. On Pentecost, the first Vespers of the Bavo summer season was opened with our choir and the Anglican Singers singing in a traditional Evensong and it didn’t disappoint.
The chords and melodies soared through the beautiful Grote of St Bavo Kerk, canticles resonating and responses echoing in the high rafters.
The Choir and Bruce just before the service started.
The high rafters
Our choir is busy, busy, busy! Along with the Anglican Church Singers, rehearsals are in full swing for the two Evensongs taking place in June.
On Sunday 5th June the two choirs open the Vespers season at De Grote of St Bavokerk, Haarlem with a traditional Evensong. The service starts at 7pm, more information here.
On Sunday 12th June at 2.30pm we hold our own Festal Choral Evensong as part of our Celebration Service. This long awaited service celebrates the appointment of our Chaplain, Revd Bruce Rienstra (the original service was held in January but amid restrictions…) We hope to see you there and after the service join us for Celebratory drinks at a nearby location. Mail us if you would like to come! firstname.lastname@example.org
At 2.30pm this Sunday, our All Saints service will take the form of a Choral Evensong. Led by Rev. Dr. Mattijs Ploeger, this beautiful service offers worship through traditional text and music.
Our choir will once again be robed and will be singing the Magnificant and Nunc Dimittis as well as responses and a sung psalm. The Choir will also sing an anthem. Led by Music Director Martin van Bleek with Christina Edelen playing the organ. Please note, there is no Holy Communion.
Choral Evensong is a popular service as it offers passages of beautiful spoken liturgy, moments of contemplative silence as well as anthems, psalm(s) and Canticles (ie the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis).
On Sunday 14th June our doors are once again open and we can come together to worship!
Naturally it will be worship with social distancing but we will be together joyfully and we look forward to seeing you. To read the letter from the Wardens regarding the opening of church, please click here.
In order to attend church, you must first register. Please click here to complete the attendance form and also read about the new protocols in place which have made our Sunday worship possible.
If you are not able to attend church, don’t worry, we will continue to publish our online written services for you to enjoy from home.
Sunday 14th June is Music Sunday – a special day in the church calendar when we celebrate the use of music to help as we worship God. Unfortunately singing is currently not allowed but we will have music to listen to and Martin, our Director of Music, will be back at the organ, with beautiful music as we arrive and leave.
The service starts at 2.30pm.
Part four, the final instalment, of Rev Derek Akker’s Prayers from my Teens. Prayers for Life was Derek’s first prayer book – a book that offered adventure, a radical departure from the prayers he was used to hearing… read on for this final instalment.
In his own inimitable style Michel Quoist faces the hard reality of death and he is not shy about bringing his raw feelings or confronting the Lord in prayer. He begins his prayer entitled ‘My friend died last night, Lord’ with a simple statement that ‘It is God’s will that each of his children is born, lives and dies. But we should all die a ‘natural’ death at the end of our lives. Premature death from accidents or illness are not God’s doing, nor are they ‘the will of God’ any more that just a matter of luck,’ He sees these premature deaths as a consequence of how we exercise our freedom and how we exercise our responsibility of ourselves and others. Incurable illnesses are often down to how we treat our own bodies and the lack of cures is down to the need to divert monies, intelligence and energy from ‘inventing way of killing each other to finding ways ….to protect life and bring it to its full potential’. A point reinforced by Bill Gates in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Easter Day morning. Bill Gates warned 5 years ago that the world was not in a good position to face a pandemic and was critical at the funding of military resources and the lack of funding of research to protect the world from pandemics.
The prayer starts with the words:
‘My friend died last night, Lord’. In a short sentence Quoist refers to a life ebbing away from him and his friend’s fight against cancer and the care of his family and medical team.
Quoist then prays:
I’m not saying, Lord:
since that is what you wanted,
may your will be done;
and still less am I saying:
may your holy will be done.
But I’m telling you,
very quietly, very quietly,
because so many people will never understand.
I’m telling you, Lord, that my friend died . . .
And you could do nothing about it;
you couldn’t do what I so desperately longed for,
you couldn’t do what I foolishly hoped for.
Then Michel Quoist has a conversation with the Lord in which he recognises the influences for friends and his own faith journey;
that the Lord:
wants life not death
and that because you love more
You suffer more than any of us
when you see so many of children dying before their time.
. . .
I understood that because of your respect and love for us
you never wanted to take our place
in the battle against illness,
but always offered to suffer with us
and to struggle with us.
Michel Quoist describes his friend’s approach to his terminal cancer. He desired that his medical team strive for a cure. He asked for the courage to suffer, to accept treatments ‘so that others after him might suffer less and even be cured some day.’ ‘He asked for everyone … the joy of living.’
Lord, my friend didn’t offer up his suffering
Because he used to say that suffering is evil
and God does not like suffering.
He offered his long and painful battle
My friend, Lord
didn’t give in to his suffering,
but like you,
Oh my Saviour Jesus,
he gave his life
that we might live.
My friend died last night, Lord,
and I am weeping
but my heart is at peace
because my friend died last night,
but with you,
he gave me life.
(Keeping Hope’ – Kindle edition )
As we deal with the questions of death and life caused by COVID 19 may we see suffering for what it is, let us NEVER forget that Jesus, the Risen Lord, is there in the suffering.
May we do whatever we can to encourage research for a cure and vaccination for Coronavirus / COVID 19
In moments of stillness let us prayerfully remember
All the key workers who work and care for our neighbourhood
Those in hospital with Coronavirus / COVID 19
Those recovering from Coronavirus / COVID 19
Those in social isolation who live alone.
Those with mental health issues
For our church family
For family and friends
You may choose to close this time with the Lord’s Prayer and
May the God who raised our Saviour Christ to life
Give us strength to face to days ahead,
knowing that we are loved and precious in the eyes of our Lord.
And the blessing of our Lord Jesus Chris
and Lord of God
and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
As Easter People let us keep hope
Good morning. This is the 3rd Sunday of Easter, this week with contributions from Rev Jake Dejonge and another excellent choice of music from Martin.
To the Pharisees minding their business,
and the fishermen mending their nets:
To the money-handlers, the lawyers,
the intellectuals, the power-brokers:
To the carers and the cleaners, the married, the single,
the young and the old, country-folk and city-dwellers:
Then and now, together and apart, willing or doubting, ready or not,
Isaiah, the prophet says, in the one sentence first reading: ”Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
This reassurance is quite necessary, I believe, with all the horrible things we experience or see on the TV; the newscasts full of corona-related or the consequences there of for hospitals, doctors and staff, the impact on our economies etc. etc. . Not all is bad, of course, we also see some positive reactions from many sides. And to add on a lighter note: Our king has a birthday tomorrow, turning 53!
But seriously, do you also wonder at times, How would Jesus react to all that’s happening. ….. It is probably the impact of old age that I wonder at times: cannot we do things differently; is there any hope left in a divided world, plagued with conflict, poverty, and now on top of it all this pandemic health crisis. How must we carry on.
It is interesting that in the gospel stories of Easter we find a similar sort of concerned wondering; there too we read of bewilderment, of being ill at ease, worried, with anxiety about what next, how can we cope. In the gospel stories of the resurrection we also meet a whole range of emotions: there is fear of the unknown and of what was thought to be impossible; there is awe for the divine radiance and there is happiness, the joy of unexpected meeting with someone you love and the fearful question, what next, how to carry on.
It is indeed almost impossible to cope with all that happened to the first followers of Jesus; it was impossible; it was so beautiful; it was totally incomprehensible; to meet up with the one you knew had been properly buried; to meet him in the garden at first rays of dawn; or on the way home as the sun was setting; or suddenly in your midst as you were hiding behind firmly locked doors
All of a sudden He is there; not always recognized; then He mentions your name; He blesses and breaks the bread; He speaks SHALOM and shows his hands and his side. And each time there is the recognition ”it is the Lord”.
But the joy does not last; it is overcome by fear, by feeling unsafe, or becoming angry. You may know those reactions as well, perhaps; also in the current situation.
And then you long for the known security and sense of wellbeing of the past, as it once was. That is what happened to Jesus’ disciples, to Peter and the others we meet in today’s gospel reading. They want to go back to what they know, back to where they feel security in the old jobs they are good at. Back to Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee, the smell of fish and nets, the familiar Northern accent. Back to what they used to know; for belief in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus is still a bridge too far. He does show up at odd and unexpected moments; different to what they were used to; but can you rely on that; how can you build your life on experiences like that.
No, they must carry on with their lives, provide income and food. They dare not trust as they used to; and they dare not trust themselves that they can cope. The enthusiasm they used to have when they left everything behind to follow Jesus, that enthusiasm is gone; now there is more the feeling of having been abandoned by Jesus; they are frustrated; it does not work out any more. And that may sound familiar to some of us as well.
Peter, the ever spontaneous leader, then says ”I am going fishing”; and the others join him. Now they’ll start to feel better again;… but no, it does not work. Experienced fishermen that they are, they know how to go to work; but not this time; the whole night they catch nothing. Could it be that next to all that they have lost, that now also their old skills are gone. Enough to become desperate….
And then something new happens; with the dawning of a new day. In the light of the new day a man calls from the beach ”… you have no fish, have you?” No, they do not have any fish. ”Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”
Peter and the others decide to follow this advice, not yet realising that the man on the beach was raised in a carpenter’s family and not by a fisherman. The outcome is nevertheless totally amazing.
153 fish were caught, so the story specifies; a special number; do add all numbers from 1 to 17, 1 + 2, +3, + 4 and so on, and you’ll come to 153. And 17 consists of 10, symbol of perfection, by old tradition and modern use (what about a 10 on your report card); and 7, symbol of fullness, as in the 7th day of the week. Thus 153 is a symbolic number that points to the perfection and fullness of life to be found in Jesus.
Experiencing this amazing catch of fish made John, ’the disciple whom Jesus loved’, realize and say to Peter: ”It is the Lord”. When landed with their amazing catch the disciples find that Jesus has already prepared the breakfast: fish and bread. But Jesus does ask the disciples to add some of the fish they have caught to the meal. And that is very important: your own contribution to the story of the risen Lord is very important. Do not ever forget that!
Jesus then says: ”Come and have breakfast.” Come and start the new day, come and start the new life of the resurrection in the knowledge that I have provided it for you. I am there for you in the fullness of life that truly satisfies and fulfils. For I am ’the bread from heaven’; I am he who descends from heaven to give life to the world, who can satisfy human hunger for ever.
Jesus is also the fish. The Greek word for fish, Ichthus, consists of five letters which are the beginning of five words: Jesus, Christ, Gods, Zoon, Saviour, the phrase which through the ages has given hope, trust and freedom; especially freedom, to receive and freedom to give to others.
Believing in the resurrection invites us to a new life; away from what disappoints and invites us to new things, the unusual, in church and world in challenging times, in politics, in economics, in health and wellbeing. Invites us to bring the fishes of our own knowledge and expertise, of our humanity, to bring all those contributions to bring the new life of Jesus to fruition.
Dare to trust the Risen One and to go with Him who gives us bread and fish, also in confusing times, in difficult situations.
And the Eternal God speaks to us through Isaiah the prophet: . ”Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Every blessing, Rev Jake Dejonge
Acts 2: 14a, 36-41
1 Peter 1: 17-23
Luke 24: 13-35
May we who are inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at risk.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and paying their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who don’t have the option.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are using our reserves of money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no reserves at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
Affirmation of faith
We believe and trust in God who has created and is creating who has come in Jesus –
the Word made flesh –
to reconcile and make new,
and who works in us and others by the power of the Spirit.
We are called to be the church: to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect for creation, to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and hope.
In life and death,
in life beyond death, God is with us.
We are not alone. Thanks be to God. Amen.
The cross …
we shall take it.
The bread …
we shall break it.
The pain …
we shall bear it.
The joy …
we shall share it.
The gospel …
we shall live it.
The love …
we shall give it.
The light …
we shall cherish it.
The darkness …
God shall perish it.
In these times it is wonderful to discover other services and resources for worship. Here are some links to other services:
Parish of Kirkless Valley service Link kindly provided by Rev Derek Akker.
Part three of Rev Derek Akker’s Prayers from my Teens. Prayers for Life was Derek’s first prayer book – a book that offered adventure, a radical departure from the prayers he was used to hearing… read on for this third instalment.
While the ‘Prayers of Life’ by Michel Quoist provided me with a radical and refreshing view on prayer, it did not mean I abandoned what I was learning about the way Methodists saw prayer and worship. I learnt that the Methodist Hymn book was much more than a song book. Hymns became prayers, there seemed to be a hymn for every occasion and therefore a prayer for every occasion.
My copy of ‘Prayers of Life’ is looking rather dog-eared and neglected. It is now having a breath of fresh air breathed into it as I entered a long period of isolation and shielding. I have valued returning to this book of my teens and I hope you also find value in the reflections it inspires.
Those of us of a certain age will remember the conventional classroom with a long bank of black-boards. Today the black has been largely replaced by white-boards and chalk replaced by felt pens. In between the movement from black-boards to white-boards there was the green-board.
This change and the role of the scientist caught the imagination of Michel Quoist and inspired him to pen ‘Green Blackboards’.
However, before we start how about making yourself a coffee (other drinks are equally suitable.) Sit and relax, taking a few deep breaths, enjoying your refreshing drink and prepare for an adventure in prayer; be prepared for the unexpected for sometimes it is in the unexpected that we find our Lord.
The school is up-to-date.
Proudly, the principal tells of all the improvements.
The finest discovery, Lord, are the green blackboards.
The scientists have studied long, they have made experiments;
We know now that green is the ideal colour, that it doesn’t tire
the eyes, that it is quieting and relaxing.
It has occurred to me, Lord, that you didn’t wait so long to paint the
trees and meadows green.
Your research laboratories were efficient, and in order not to tire us,
you perfected a number of shades of green for your modern meadows.
And so the “finds” of people consist of discovering what you have
known from time immemorial.
Thank you, Lord, for being the good Father who gives his children
the joy of discovering by themselves the treasures of his intelligence and love.
But keep us from believing that – by ourselves – we have invented anything at all.
(Michel Quoist – Prayers of Life – Gill and Macmillan 1963 pp 16)
Look out of your window or take a stroll around your garden and look for the shades of green and savour the freshness of early summer. Observe how the greens, so often, provide the background to the flowers as they develop and burst into bloom.
In these dark moments allow your senses to be awakened to the vibrancy of the greens and the blooms and give thanks for these signs of new life.
Further while we marvel at inventiveness and the imagination of the human spirit and pray that they will work to lessen the effects of Coronavirus / COVID-19. In the longer term that they may work to develop a vaccine. As we reflect on these things let us honour the hand of the divine in all these labours.
You may choose to close this time with the Lord’s Prayer and
Sustaining God, we receive the fruits of the earth from you. We give you thanks for the smell of the earth after rain, we ask that the rain come as often as it is needed and the warmth of the sun so that plants may flourish.
Lord you are present with us now,
Keep our hearts, soul, mind and body;
And protect us from all that would harm us,
And may we have Christ’s healing and Christ’s peace.
Good morning. This is our fourth written Sunday service, this week with contributions from Rev Derek Akker and a choice of music from Martin. Before the service officially starts, here is a note from Martin and a special viewing recommendation:
O Lord, open our lips
All and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
In your resurrection, O Christ,
All let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.
Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you led your people through the waters
from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land, now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your beloved Son. Rising from death, he has destroyed death
and opened to us the gate of everlasting life.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this day you have made
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.
You don’t need me to tell you we live in uncertain times, where things are unprecedented, challenging unsettling and downright difficult. With everything else that is going on we are bombarded with endless stream of adjectives describing our current situation. We are aware of the pain and anguish families are experiencing, we are grateful for all the efforts of front line workers and acknowledge that some are putting their lives on the line for us. It is hardly surprising that that we can find it a challenge to pray, where do we start?
I want to suggest a way of being creative, of being artistic in your times of prayer. It is about giving you something that is unique to you, your own personal aid for prayer. I can almost hear the cries I can’t be creative or artistic, my reply to that is ‘poppycock’. Forget the Rijksmuseum, Tyler or Rembrandt Museums and the collections of Dutch masters, its not about following in their footsteps.
Over the last few weeks the UK Breakfast TV has had one story after another where people have faced challenges and been creative and done things which under normal circumstances they would not consider doing and would have probably said I can’t do that.
So, what is this way of being creative. It is simple create a collage. Collect pictures, photographs of your family, the church family, your friends and neighbours, from your local community also places that evoke concern or thankfulness, a photo of St Anna’s and St. Mary and church activity. Do you get the gist? Stick these onto a large piece of paper, a piece of newspaper will suffice.
This simple creative activity has a value in itself, especially at a time when many of our usual activities are not available to us due the restriction placed on us by Coronavirus. We can turn this activity into an aid to creative prayer. It can be done as an individual, with other members of your household or as a family activity.
Once you have started your collage, you can use it for prayer. Put the collage in front of you and sit and reflect on each picture/photo and allow your memory to come to the surface and as you recall your memories offer them as a prayer. There is no need for words, your focus becomes your prayer. Spend time, relax in the memories, bring your concerns and your thanks
As time passes you can add fresh pictures, just be creative.
Hold on the your collage and perhaps when we meet again, you can bring your collages and create a collective collage that can become a larger piece of prayerful art
Every blessing, Fr Derek
Acts 2: 14a, 36-41
Luke 20: 19-end
Christ died to sin once for all, and now he lives to God. Let us renew our resolve to have done with all that is evil and confess our sins in penitence and faith. Like Mary at the empty tomb,
we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Like the disciples behind locked doors, we are afraid to be seen as your followers. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Like Thomas in the upper room, we are slow to believe.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Anthem: Blessed be the God and Father – S.S. Wesley
Hymn: NEH 119 – The Strife is o’er
We pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity.
Jesus, light of the world,
bring the light and peace of your gospel in the midst of turmoil.
We give thanks for dedicated medical teams working around the world
to nurse the sick and dying with care and compassion.
We give thanks for researchers in the quest for testing and vaccination for Covid-19 and for the manufacturers of medicines and medical supplies.
Remind us that your light shines in the darkness
and darkness has never overcome it.
Jesus, bread of life,
give food to the hungry.
We call to mind the forgotten humanitarian crisis
unfolding in poorer countries around the world,
where people threatened by Coronavirus are also threatened by starvation.
We remember refugees and asylum seekers, fleeing from war,
now stranded in ill-equipped border camps far from home.
Release resources to the aid agencies that there might be enough food for everyone and nourish us all with your life-giving word.
Jesus, our way, our truth, our life,
be with us and all who seek to do what is right in times of adversity.
We pray for all in government with the heavy responsibility for the lives of others, under tremendous strain from daily crisis meetings and press conferences.
We pray that all nations will lay aside their differences and self-interest
in order to work together in unity to defeat a common enemy.
Grant them godly wisdom and discernment in their decision making
for the common good of all humanity across the globe.
Jesus, Good Shepherd,
who seeks for the lost and binds up the injured.
We ask for a strengthening of community life,
which will endure long after the current crisis is past.
We pray for the isolated, lonely and vulnerable within our communities, that they might be encouraged and supported by good neighbours.
Lead them to green pastures to restore the soul
and comfort them even though they walk through dark valleys.
Jesus, the resurrection and the life,
we give thanks for all who have lived and believed in you.
We pray for all those who are close to death,
that they may recognise your presence with them and encounter your saving power. We pray for the bereaved,
aware that they may not have been with loved ones in their final moments.
Pour out your grace in times of loss and grief
and give courage to face the future, trusting in your promise of life everlasting.
Jesus, Lord of life,
in your mercy, hear us,
accept our prayers, and be with us always.
May the risen Christ grant us the joy of eternal life.
Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
All Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.