Grace Changes Everything

Welcome to the The American Protestant Church of  The Hague.  We are an English-speaking church that brings together an international community of Christians from over 40 nations and almost as many denominations. Whether English is your mother tongue or not, you will be welcomed in our English speaking community. The congregation is Reformed in its historic roots, theologically diverse in its current membership, and committed to the core doctrines of the Christian faith.

  You are welcome to join us in any of our worship services and connect with us. If you are looking for a new spiritual home, APCH is the place to be.  

"In the essentials unity, in the non essentials freedom and in all things charity." "

Come, worship and grow in Christ with us! 

Service Times

Sunday Morning Service



Two worship services  9:45 a.m. (with Praise Band) and   11:15 a.m. (with organ and Choir)


PLEASE NOTE: NO WORSHIP SERVICES UNTIL JUNE 1, 2020  DUE TO THE   COVID-19 CRISIS

News

IMPORTANT UPDATES ON THE COVID-19 CRISIS
Dear APCH Family,
 
I don’t know about you but it’s hard for me to imagine that April 2020 has come and gone. It will likely be a story we tell for years to come and linger in our minds for many years. It’s the month that marked the beginning of significant change as we embraced social distancing and the living separate from one another.
 
It’s likely that many of you have already been thinking about the reentry process and what you will do as situations continue to change. There is so much to think about and contemplate during this time of uncertainty.
 
As we reflect and look ahead, we are reminded that social distancing protocols will likely remain in place for some time to come and yet our hope is that the overall number of people that can gather will start to increase with time.
 
For various ministries at APCH, it will be important for us to reflect upon a new norm, new experiences along with new opportunities that these changes are presenting for all of us during this unprecedented time in our history. For example, while Covid-19 has disrupted our “normal,” it has provided us with new opportunities. Our online worship opportunities show an increase in numbers that we have not typically seen in regular Church attendance. There are people who have engaged worship through the internet who haven’t ever shown up on our doorsteps. In some ways, they may feel like they know us, but we don’t know them.
 
As we anticipate a reunification at some point, let us think about a couple of these points:

  • How can we connect with these people in meaningful ways if they do attend our church? Our natural inclination will likely be to reconnect with our friends. How can we intentionally look for and respond to the new faces?
  • How can we maintain a connection with those who don’t attend our church? Is it possible to maintain an online presence and perhaps even expand that in some dynamic way?
  • What is the possibility and value of promoting smaller group gatherings outside of our typical Sunday morning worship? One of the lessons we have experienced recently is that smaller groups are more likely to be able to meet in a time of crisis than larger ones.
  • How will we prepare for another similar experience in the future? It is well within the realm of possibility, according to the current beliefs of several experts, that there may be another wave of this virus that could continue changing our lives. If this would be true, how will we prepare and be ready to continue with God’s Kingdom work?
  • What lasting spiritual blessings can we hold onto and highlight as we walk into tomorrow?
There are so many questions and considerations to think about. With all of this, what have we learned about trusting God? What have we learned about the efficacy of God’s Word, especially when we can’t meet together? How can we be a blessing to the community around us in an ongoing way as they prepare for the future, too?
 
My experience has been that it’s often the challenge of suffering, doubt and stress that opens people’s hearts to the message of God’s love. God’s deepest desire is that people would know of His love for them and cling to it – in good times and in hard times.
 
As I recall an earlier sermon from the Gospel of John, I am reminded that during Nicodemus’ visit to Jesus under the cover of darkness, that our Lord speaks the words we teach to our children and that many people know so well:

For God loved the world in this way, He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”

Let this be the message that we cling to, not only for today but for the journey ahead. May we use our current situation in such a way where God allows us to enter into His classroom again and gain a different perspective on His call for you and me. May He lead us into a new future where we will not be afraid but rather confident in His goodness, love and mercy. Let us have a renewed sense of belonging that propels us forward in His work.
 
Wishing you God’s continued blessings and joy.
 
Tim Messick, Council Chair
May 5, 2020
 APCH Financial Situation during COVID-19

Dear members of APCH, brothers and sisters in Christ,

During this crisis, which is affecting all of us, we are experiencing higher levels of worry and concern. Some of us have lost income or have family members who are in trouble, including health and financial worries. Still others are able to use resources during this time to help others and reflect Christ’s love and generosity.

What to do if you are in Financial Need
As a Church and Council, we are aware that some will unexpectedly find themselves in acute financial need. It is for such circumstances that APCH has set aside Benevolence Fund resources, to play some part in helping families and individuals in times of need. So as a reminder, if you require assistance, you can contact us at [email protected] Incidentally, if you would like to donate to the Benevolence Fund, please see details at the end of this letter.

How APCH is Stewarding Funds
The work of APCH has not ceased: our pastors are working, expenses such as mortgages and insurances continue, and our missionaries in the field still rely on our support. Nevertheless, as responsible stewards of church’s funds, the Finance committee has reviewed on-going expenses and identified areas of spending that will be dramatically reduced or completely stopped during this period of quarantine.

More specifically, APCH’s minimum monthly operating expenses are about €23.000. Our monthly giving averages around €26.000, including €5.000 of “plate giving.” As plate giving is not possible, we are requesting those who normally give in this way to remain faithful and switch to bank transfer or on-line giving. Not doing so will create an immediate operating expense gap of €2.000 per month, all other things being equal.

How we can Give and be Generous
It is in times like this, that God’s church has the opportunity to demonstrate Christ’s love toward each other and neighbor, but also be a witness to our belief in a God of provision and abundance. Christ does not call his Church to be a people who “hamster,” hoard, resent, or act selfishly. Rather, in the midst of this crisis, may our prayer, faith and ministry be one that is empowered by the Spirit to trust in his faithfulness and generosity.

As the people of APCH have done for decades, may we continue to support APCH generously as we live out his mission in the community and the world. We will send the congregation periodic updates of where we stand from an operating perspective. Please, if you have any comments, concerns or advice write to Arjan at [email protected]

In Christ,

Mark Vermaire Senior Pastor
Tim Messick, Council Chair
Arjan Overwater. Finance Chair
April 10, 2020

How to Give Financially to APCH:

On-line: go to apch.nl/donate or use your banking mobile app (use bank transfer details below).
US Dollar donations: apch.nl/donate and go to USD Donations tab.
Bank transfer: account# NL72INGB0002637900, Account Name: American Protestant Church of The Hague.
Benevolence Fund: use any means mentioned above, clearly designate “Benevolence Fund.”
If you haven’t already done so, consider setting up monthly, automatic bank transfer.
A Message from Tim Messick, Chair of the APCH Council

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This past week or so has seen a dramatic rise in the spread of COVID-19 in our part of God’s kingdom as well as throughout the world. The story is in the newspapers and all over the media. Our challenge at this point is to think clearly and make healthy responses to the growing situation as we place the needs of the people in our community ahead of our own.

My encouragement to you is to do the following, especially since we are all dealing with unique and uncertain times:

  • Get good information from a reliable and consistent sources.
  • They can provide up-to-date and local information that can help inform your decisions.
  • Practice good hygiene. This means frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer.
  • Limit your contacts outside the home. Plan your trips carefully and only take those that are necessary.

Closing down the Church to all but essential personnel is a unique move. This decision isn't made in an effort to limit our religious freedom but rather to protect those who are fragile in our communities and to support the decisions made by our government.

As witnessed this past Sunday morning, Pastor Mark provided a wonderful message for all of us to experience. Thanks to the fine work and support from Pastor Chad, Jerry, Irene, Sheyla and others, we were able to be united in spirit through a virtual means. What a blessing and gift to gather in this way as we continue to grow and worship together in Christ.

This situation provides us with an opportunity to love our neighbor, and, in this case, that may mean staying home until the situation resolves itself. In every case, provide yourself with good information, use good judgment, take advantage of technology, and place the needs of other people above your own. Know that the Church Council is meeting virtually to consider options for staying united and connected in these days ahead. We will share more when have information to pass along.

In the meantime, do take care of yourself and those around you that together we will be "bound together in cords that cannot be broken".

Colossians 3:15–17

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Lord Jesus, Bless Your people, bless this world with Your protection, Your healing, and Your peace. Grant to us the wisdom to make good decisions, support those who are weak and sick, and trust You for Your blessing. We thank You that You have blessed us with the faith we need to weather any storm and to reflect Your light into this dark world. Bless us with Your love and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

As we continue together... serving the Lord and His people,

Tim
March 17, 2020

Earlier update  March 13

THE REVISED COMMON LECTIONARY 
For the period ahead at APCH, we will usually hear God speak to us through God’s Word as recommended in the Revised Common Lectionary. Some of us (Lutherans, Methodists, and others) have grown up with this; others of us have never heard of it.

A “lectionary” is a list of recommended readings for each day or week. The Revised Common Lectionary was developed by an international group of Christian teachers and pastors to help the church hear the full range of God’s Word over a period of three years. Each week, this lectionary names four readings—one each from the Old Testament, Psalms, Gospels, and the New Testament. Some churches read all four during a service; we will focus on two.

The advantage of choosing passages from the lectionary are several. (1) Over a period of time you cover a wide range of Scripture and themes. (2) The preacher alone doesn’t choose the biblical text, ignoring some passages and selecting his/her favorites; rather, the Word of God is given by a prayerful and wise body that spiritually discerned what passages God’s church should hear every three years. (3) We join with churches all around the world in hearing and responding to the same Word of God.

Do all the passages fit together? Not necessarily. The central reading is the Gospel—Jesus Christ is the key to the readings. At least one of the O.T. or N.T. readings fits with the Gospel, whether as a prophecy pointing to Christ, or a further Word of God about the Gospel reading. The Psalm is intended to be a response of praise or prayer to one or more of the readings. Sometimes, the Old or New Testament passage follows a biblical book in sequence for weeks.

If you would like to explore this more, click on this link.  There you will find three readings for every day—and Old Testament, Psalm, and New Testament reading—that are based on the Sunday “lection.” The first three daily readings (Monday-Wednesday) are based on the past Sunday’s readings and sermon; the last daily readings (Thursday-Saturday) look ahead at the following Sunday’s passages.

The goal of this is to hear God’s Word in its fulness and grow in our love for God who speaks and leads our lives in grace and truth, beauty and justice. God bless us all in that gift
PARKING ON WILLEM ROYAARDSPLEIN
Since October 1, 2019, there is paid parking next to the church building in the parking area of the Willem Royaardsplein, from Monday – Saturday, from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, for a maximum of 2 hours. Sundays will not be affected. The street parking remains as free parking. For more information go to www.denhaag.nl/parkeren.

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