Happy Christmas

We celebrated Christmas with a Eucharist and a traditional service of 9 Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve. We return on Sunday 7th January for our Choral Eucharist at 2.30pm. In the meantime we wish you all a very Happy Christmas and look forward to welcoming you back in the New Year.

A church jam packed… people from far and wide… certainly Martin, Organist and Director of Music, knew that something was up when he spotted colleagues from Arnhem, clergy and friends from the UK, other friends and family seated in the pews. It was Harvest, a service which attracts a wide range of congregation, but this many? Of course, there was an excellent reason for it – we had all come to celebrate an amazing achievement – Martin van Bleek, Organist at the Anglican Church Haarlem for fifty years!

It was some feat to keep the special service a secret and perhaps there were some small clues but essentially Martin was surprised and delighted when, half way through the Harvest Service, he discovered this service was also a celebration of his musical contribution to the church.

When asked to speak, he reminisced about being a teenager in need of ‘engagement’ and, as he had a keen interest in the piano and organ, his mother suggested he sit by the Organist and learn a little. The rest is history – he has played ever since! Luckily for us!

It was a wonderful moment when a fellow Organist stepped forward and the choir sung the anthem, Christ whose Glory fills the Skies by Harold Darke. Martin conducted and it was a fitting moment as the glorious notes and harmonies filled the church.

Glasses of bubbly were handed out after the service for speeches and presentations. It was a wonderful afternoon – a very happy Harvest and a magnificent celebration of a man whose musical contribution has amounted to so much.

Cheers to you, Martin!



We celebrated our Harvest Festival in a joint service with our host church, the Old Catholic Congregation.


It was a joy to have Revd Robert Frede join Revd. Bruce to help lead the service.



It was an important moment to reflect on our world, on the gifts we receive and on the significant role we play as custodians. The various harvests we enjoy were blessed (the corn, the seeds, the fruit, the flowers etc).  The seven crates of donations were also blessed in preparation for their journey to Stem in de Stad where we hope they will make a difference to someone in need. Our traditional Tea took place afterwards with a great sense of fellowship and community.

We are really excited to be welcoming Revd. Mpho Tutu this Sunday 4th June as our Guest Preacher. She will give the sermon in our Eucharist service which starts at 14.30. This is a Choral Service so our choir will also be there, leading a sung service with hymns, a sung psalm and an anthem sung by the choir.


We really hope to see you there!


More information here…

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! anglican.church.haarlem@gmail.com



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.

Keep Hope

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
against suffering.

My friend, Lord
didn’t give in to his suffering,
but like you,
with 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
For ourselves.

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

Fr Derek