A new church for the city of Amsterdam

We made it

After years of planning, dreaming and praying Amsterdam is now our home. The next chapter starts now.

Looking back over the last few weeks we can reflect on a great send off from so many in Brighton. We’ll miss Church of Christ the King hugely. We’re leaving behind so many great friends from there who’ve been incredibly supportive, particularly over the last few months and weeks. Thanks to you all for your generosity; for the countless encouragements and all the practical help offered and delivered. What a church.

We’ll also miss the kids School back in Portslade. There were many tears, and so many warm words at the kid’s farewell assembly. 

Our new home

We arrived on Saturday to a baking hot Amsterdam summer’s day. Unloading boxes in 36c is an experience I don’t want to soon repeat. Within about 30 minutes our house was full of kids from our new street who all wanted to say ‘hallo’ and have an explore, and within a few days we’d all enjoyed some American brownies and the best BBQ I’ve ever had courtesy of our new neighbours.

Navigating life in a new culture has its challenges. Everything seems twice as complicated, not withstanding the obvious language barriers, even our first successful food shop felt like a small victory. Thankfully our existing Dutch friends have been super helpful, and our new Amsterdam neighbours have patiently been helping us along the way too.

Looking forward

We can’t wait till the rest of our fledgling team arrive in the city over the next few month. We’re excited about the many new faces that will join us too.

Also, I’m speaking at Redeemer church in The Hague this Sunday, come and say hi if you’re in the area.

Boxes, boxes, boxes.

Any visitor to our home this afternoon will be met by a wall of cardboard boxes. Partly because we’re packing but also because I’ve built a HUGE cardboard fort from which to attack our daughters when they arrive home from school. Armed with an array of Nerf guns I’m reasonably convinced that I WILL WIN.

Of course the ultimate purpose of the cardboard boxes is to box up our possessions prior to our impending move - in just under 4 weeks time we move to Amsterdam.

After over a year of planning, preparing and praying it’s all happening. Deep breath… 

We’ve found a wonderful apartment in Watergraafsmeer to rent and we’ve sent in the kids school application forms, hopefully that should all be straightforward. 

We can’t wait to get there, though we’re presently in the process of saying lots of goodbyes. We’ve been buzzing round the various sites of CCK here in Brighton, paid a short visit to Kings Church Eastbourne and we’re looking forward to visiting Reading Family Church in a few weeks.

About two weeks after we arrive a second family from England will arrive in the city and other members of our team will then trickle in over the coming months, arriving from the UK and elsewhere in the Netherlands.

We’re so excited about what God has ahead for us and for this new church in Amsterdam.


The view from the library

Last Tuesday I spent the day in Amsterdam filming for an upcoming video for use at CCK in a few weeks time. I also took the opportunity to view a potential house for our family and meet some new friends.

Amsterdam was packed with people, it seems many were still in the city following Koningsdag. After a morning of drizzle the sun came out in the afternoon and we got some great shots of the city at its best.

Josh, a friend of ours from The Hague, was on hand to show us around, and his local knowledge (having grown up in Amsterdam) was invaluable.

The first place he took us was to the top of Amsterdam’s main library, just a short walk from the station. From the 6th floor cafe balcony you get a stunning (and free) view across the city. From there, via Metro and Tram, we explored various other spots including the Nieuwmarkt, Rembrandtplein, the beautiful and peaceful Begijnhof courtyard and the 9 streets. We concluded our filming with a quick trip across the IJ and back.

On our way home our flight was somewhat delayed due to a loose panel on the wing of the aircraft that the pilot informed us they were reattaching with ‘speed tape’. I’m pretty sure that’s a jumped up term for gaffa tape…

However the delay allowed me plenty of time to dig into a wonderful narrative history of Amsterdam written by Russell Shorto.

Russell is an American who lived in Amsterdam for just shy of a decade. His passion for the city and his telling of its history and role in shaping global history is vivid and inspiring. A must read for any student of the city.

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Begijnhof. Beautiful & peaceful court right in the centre of #Amsterdam #latergram

Begijnhof. Beautiful & peaceful court right in the centre of #Amsterdam #latergram

Amsterdam Day Recordings

Back on the 15th March we hosted a day all about Amsterdam, catchily titled - ‘Amsterdam Day’.

40+ people gathered at Church of Christ the King in Brighton to hear our story so far and some plans for the future.

One of the most exciting aspects of the day was meeting and talking with many people over coffee and stroopwafels. It was great to hear everyone else’s stories - some ready to go, others trying to discern what God is saying, some just wanting to support us.

As well as much talking, coffee and food aplenty we took some time out to worship, pray and also hear from a few people about the story behind this fledgling church plant.

You can find the talks to listen to below:

Joel Virgo

Matt & Jo Simmonds

Neville Jones

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Our first small group

So we’ve launched our first small group.

A bit premature you might say, particularly considering that between us we live in 5 different locations spread over hundred of miles and none of us actually live in Amsterdam yet… Nonetheless, away we go, the 10 of us who are so far ‘in’ and ready to get started on this Amsterdam adventure.

So, you might enquire - ‘How exactly are you running a small group if you live in 5 different places?’ Good question, but due to the wonders of modern technology it’s actually very simple. 

We’ve begun to gather a small team of keen pioneers ready to join us in Amsterdam (as well as bigger crowd of interested people). So it seemed sensible to start building a sense of community amongst us and start to gear up for the this adventure, some pre-game preparation if you will.

So here’s how it goes. Twice a month we all log into a Google Hangout and, like, ‘hangout’. Once a month we’re inviting in other church planters to tell their story and answer questions so we can learn from some people that have done this before. Then, on the other evening in the month we catch up, share prayer requests, dream about the future and digest the latest news and plans.

It’s definitely not a replacement to actually being together (obviously) but, for the time being, it’s working great.

If you’re interested in getting involved in this adventure then join us for an Amsterdam Day on March 15th.

Prinsengracht looking toward Westerkerk #Amsterdam #Jordaan

Prinsengracht looking toward Westerkerk #Amsterdam #Jordaan

Houseboats #Amsterdam

Houseboats #Amsterdam

Beautiful time-lapse video from Amsterdam Light Festival