Mission Action Plan
Step 1. Chaplaincy profile
Our church is part of the worldwide Anglican community, and specifically of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe.
It has always been our mission to minister to English speakers by providing services and pastoral care in English.
We are completely self-supporting.
We currently have 39 members on the electoral roll, of which several have a very loose connection with the church, and several are house-bound. Of these, 21 are native English speakers from various parts of the Common Wealth or elsewhere in the English-speaking world, the others are native Dutch.
Approximately 20 people attend our Sunday services each week. We have quite a number of regular visitors who are not on the electoral roll.
Our members and visitors come from a wide range of backgrounds with respect to nationality, work, life situation and church denomination. What unites us is our Anglicanism: the liturgy, the sacraments and the hymns.
Our theological position can be characterised by the word ‘trialogue’: between Scripture, church tradition and our own time and culture.
The majority of people who attend our chaplaincy are aged 50+. Parents with young children do sometimes appear, but are often put off by the absence of other families with children and the absence of junior church. (David’s suggestion here: Parents with young children do sometimes form part of the congregation.)
We do not have our own church building but meet in two churches – one in Arnhem and one in Nijmegen. We alternate between those two, so there is a service in each church every fortnight. Approximately half of those who attend go to both churches, the other half only attend one of the two. The time of the service is 5 p.m., which gives our members the opportunity for other commitments on Sunday. Some of them are involved with other (Dutch) churches as well.
Transport is a problem for some of our elderly and student members.
We have a strong lay-involvement, and encourage all our members to use their gifts for the benefit of the congregation.
We are a friendly and relaxed community which is very good at hospitality and involving people in the life of the chaplaincy soon after they join us.
Pastoral care in the form of home visits and home communion matters very much to us, though this has not been easy without a permanent chaplain. We have a retired priest in our midst, who is available for urgent matters.
We have a monthly church magazine, the Grapevine, an important medium for connecting the members of our community, including former members who want to stay in touch, and other interested readers.
We have a website, www.arnhemnijmegenchaplaincy.nl that provides information about services and events, and offers the opportunity to contact the wardens. We also have a Facebook-page, on which services and events are posted.
We provide meals for the homeless centre in Arnhem once a month, together with friends from the Old-Catholic Church and friends from our own church.
We are represented in the local Council of Churches and try to take part in ecumenical activities, although the lack of time and manpower is sometimes a problem.
We have two chaplaincy links, one on the continent (Bordighera in Italy) and one in the UK (Great Torrington in Devon).
Step 2 History audit
The Arnhem chaplaincy is over a 100 years old. The Nijmegen chaplaincy started in the 1980’s at the house of a Nijmegen university professor.
For many years our congregations often consisted in significant part of families from abroad, working for international companies or the NATO-base in Germany. Since most of the companies have now moved elsewhere and the NATO-base has been closed down, the number of families has dwindled to almost zero.
Since WW II the Arnhem chaplaincy has had a strong link with Utrecht, although this has become less strong since we have had our own chaplain
Nijmegen used to have a strong link with the university, but this link has been more or less severed by the university, which has affected the number of students we attract, and also our possibilities to reach them.
We also used to have a strong relationship with the chaplaincy in Twente, even sharing a chaplain, but this has changed in recent years. (David’s suggestion here: ‘but this has been dismantled at their initiative in recent years.)
The independent ‘Nellie-Zeperstichting’ manages the estate of Nellie Zeper, a longstanding member of our church, who at her death left her house to the church. The house was sold and the money has, under the conditions of the will, to be spent on the enhancement of ‘Anglican life in the East-Netherlands’.
Step 3 Community audit
The Arnhem-Nijmegen chaplaincy serves an area that extends across several thousand square kilometres.
The main English speakers in this area are English speaking refugees, students and expats.
There are some large educational institutions in Arnhem and Nijmegen, but there are no official links with these institutions. We are not allowed to advertise and so depend on members working within these institutions to invite others to services and/or Bible studies.
Our chaplaincy has a large ‘fringe’ of people who have a loose connection with the church.
Step 4 Strategic goals for the coming five years (2018-2023)
On New Year’s Eve 2023 we rejoice because:
our congregation consists of 40 adults and 10 children/teenagers (Growth)
all our members are involved in personal Christian formation (Discipleship)
we offer satisfying pastoral care to all our members (Pastoral care)
we play a significant role in poverty relief in our city (Community)
we maintain good relationships with other local churches, and within the wider Anglican community (Ecumenical relations)
Step 5 Concrete plans within the framework of the strategy
As a healthy and missionary congregation we work diligently on the following:
* We focus on outreach, with special attention to our target audience (see under 3,b and d)
* We bring more variety into our worship to attract more people
* We provide prayer meetings every fortnight
* We provide Bible studies and quiet days throughout the year, esp. in connection with Advent and Lent
* Our members join in study days and other meetings, organised by the deanery and other chaplaincies
* We make our library available to our members
@3. Pastoral care
*We do home visits and home communion services
*Home communion services are open to other members who wish to take part (if the host agrees)
*We give special attention to the elderly and any others who have problems with transport, to ensure that they can attend church as often as possible
*We provide healing services 4 times a year
*We continue our charity work for the homeless
*We contribute financially to local charities
@5. Ecumenical relations
*We continue our membership of the Council of Churches
*We are involved in the Platform of Migrant Churches
*We have two active chaplaincy links
*We actively maintain our connection with the deanery and the archdeaconry, specifically by keeping them posted about everything we do through website and Facebook
* We support international mission projects