We're moving on 8 April!
...same time, same gezelligheid, more room to sit...
Starting Easter Sunday, our Sunday services will move around the corner to begin meeting in de Rode Hoed, Keizersgracht 102.
Many of you have heard of de Rode Hoed, as it’s got a rather large public reputation as being a cultural debating center: a center for the arts, and politics, literature and dialogue. It’s a historic building, with a chic foyer and café’/bar. It’s very beautiful. We’re incredibly grateful to be able to meet there.
Kaisa, one of our Leadership Team members who oversees our Kids Ministry, share this with us when we asked our Leaders to respond prayerfully about moving to this new location:
I had a strong sense that God desires to place His people to the 'high places' right now, where they can be seen and heard by the society around, in order to expand His Kingdom… the Rode Hoed is very visible location and in a way a place of influence in the city. In my spirit I feel a strong sense of excitement about the move, and the new opportunities it may open up. It feels like a huge risk still and very scary but at the same time I am just pushed to pray 'God, clothe us in confidence so that we can step up to the place where You want us' ...
I love Kaisa’s thoughts: that it’s the Lord’s grace that will allow our gezellig, kelder (basement) community to move into a place of influence and beauty like de Rode Hoed. (Also, I love that we'll have enough seats, and that our kids will be able to spread out into classrooms instead of closets!)
But that’s just the external picture. The recent history. The deeper history of de Rode Hoed and ‘what’s behind the great façade’ is a hidden church. A ‘schuilkerk': churches which were only allowed by the government if they hid themselves away, and did nothing to attract attention. De Rode Hoed is the oldest and largest hidden church in Holland, home to the Remonstrates (Dutch Protestants who agreed with Arminius rather than Calvin on certain theological points). Their leader was executed in the early 1600s, other leaders were imprisoned, and they were banished into exile. In 1630 the government of the Netherlands allowed them to return, but they were not allowed to build churches officially for another hundred and sixty years. Until that time, they held their services in Schuilkerken, or house churches (otherwise known as hidden churches).
That’s what de Rode Hoed is. A house church. A hidden church. A place where Christians found refuge and worshipped God in the midst of a larger culture that largely disagreed with their beliefs and their form of faith.
In moving toward this transition into de Rode Hoed, it is good for us to be prayerful about both the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’ of what this transition might mean.
We want to be faithful to God as Matthew 5:14 tells us: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” We can pray that de Rode Hoed would be a ‘stand’ for our ability to share Christ in an intelligent, compelling way that is marked by the love and truth of Christ.
Also we can be praying that from our point of view, from the interior point of view of our church community, we would view de Rode Hoed not by it’s exterior, but by what it really is: a schuilkerk, a hidden church. A place of refuge for believers who wanted to worship God together. A place for people to go to find community, rest, and welcome. Let’s pray that we remain a schuilkerk in our hearts, even as we pray for Vineyard Amsterdam to become like a lamp on a stand in this city.
On Palm Sunday, 1 April, we will begin our Sunday service at Herengracht 88. After a few songs of worship and a Palm Sunday reflection, we'll take a very short walk around the corner from Herengracht 88 (point A on the map) to our new location: Keizersgracht 102 (point B on the map), and finish our service with extended worship as we celebrate God's goodness in anticapation of Easter.
Begining Easter Sunday (8 April), Meeting Point will begin gathering at Keizersgracht 102, Sundays, 11.00-12.30.
In this new location, we have the same vision and values as always. We'll be the same people, enjoying the same worship service, meeting at the same time, drinking the same coffee... we'll just have more room to spead out, and to welcome others into the gezelligheid. Let's continue to be a place where love is real, and God is not crazy.