Building Bridges

Our Mission Action Plan 2019-2024 (MAP)
[Please note that this MAP was developed before the Covid Pandemic. It does not always reflect the current situation any longer and is in need of updating. Church Council thinks it is better to do this when our new Chaplain is in place. Until that time, this version of MAP is our guide.] 

Introduction
Arnhem and Nijmegen, two cities in the east of The Netherlands, are geographically defined by their bridges. They have grown out of Roman settlements on the banks of the Rhine and the Waal river.

For many decades, we have held Anglican Church services in these two cities. We are part of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe and thereby of the worldwide Anglican Communion. But we are also part of the fabric of our twin cities. We are globally linked but we are locally rooted at the same time. In order to grow our local presence in Arnhem and Nijmegen, we have created this Mission Action Plan (MAP).

An important outcome of the process of working on this document in the past, was that in 2018, in our Annual General Meeting, we decided unanimously to meet every Sunday in both cities. Until then, our meetings had alternated between the two cities on Sundays. Since September 2018, we meet every Sunday in Nijmegen at 11 a.m. and in Arnhem at 5 p.m.
This change to meeting weekly in both cities was in many ways a step we took with fear and trembling. We were such a small group to start with! Initially, we saw an increase in church attendance, but Covid has hit us hard, and at the moment it is not clear whether the current situation will be sustainable in the long run.
There are signs of life and hope, though, too, and so, by the grace of God, we want to move forward and to further implement the Vision Statement of our Church.

Vision: We are a welcoming community of people who love the living God and all people, who together find healing, purpose, and growth, and who bear fruit for God’s glory, honouring God the Father, through the grace of Jesus Christ and by the power and fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Building bridges
Our Anglican community in Arnhem and Nijmegen is an expression of the Body of Christ. God, in his love, sent Jesus Christ as a bridge to draw the world back to him through his conciliatory life, death, resurrection and ascension.
God, the Creator of all things, is our Father. Jesus, as God’s perfect image, is our Lord and our God. His life and his words define us as a community and as individuals: we believe in Him and we want to follow him lovingly and obediently as his disciples. The Holy Spirit is God present in our midst, always active to prod us to obey God. God is Three-in-One; we totally depend on Him. The heart of the lifestyle and message of Jesus was love and reconciliation. As we enjoy his love, we in our turn love God, and other people, and the societies we live in, indeed, this whole world. Jesus also defined what love means: not just words, but action for the benefit of others. In a way, it is about building bridges to others.
In our Anglican community we need to continually live this love and reconciliation. We are people from many nations and cultures, and love and reconciliation are the glue to hold us together. We warmly welcome everyone in our community. We come together each Sunday to meet with God through Holy Eucharist, by listening to his Word and by meeting one another. We study the Bible together, we pray, we meet throughout the week. We are learners, we are on the way. And we can uphold and support each other in our unique journey through life toward God.
Despite our imperfections, amazingly, God continues to love us. Jesus Christ is in our midst. The Holy Spirit empowers us. This love, presence, and power of God in our midst, transforms us. What would we be without him? We live in his Kingdom, and in his Kingdom he manifests himself, sometimes in rather lifechanging and miraculous ways.

As a community, we are God’s bridge to our society: we learn the lessons about love and reconciliation (and so many other things) in church, but we do not learn this only for our own sake. We are also to plant the seeds of love and reconciliation in the societies we are part of. This is the mission of the church.

The metropolitan area of Arnhem and Nijmegen is in need of the glue of love and reconciliation. Our society struggles, among other things, with questions of unity and diversity, and for resolving this tension, the love of God is of ultimate value. We are called to be agents of love and reconciliation, as defined by our Lord Jesus Christ. When we come across hatred and walls between people, we tear walls down and we build bridges of love.

Bridges are built by teams. Some are architects, others are construction workers. But only by working together can we truly be the people and the church God wants us to be. This Mission Action Plan is intended to be the common plan of our whole church-community. Let us discuss and embrace this plan together as our target and as the route for the years ahead, so that we will be the bridge builders God wants us to be.

Strategic goals for the coming five years (2019-2024)
Based on our Vision Statement, and through prayer and action we work towards the  following goals:
1. Worship: we offer worship services in the Anglican tradition, centred around the Eucharist, and making use of the wide liturgical variety that the Church of England has to offer.
2. Discipleship: All our regular worshippers are involved in personal Christian formation.
3. Growth: both our congregation of Arnhem and Nijmegen consist of 50 regular worshippers of whom 40 are adults and 10 are children.
4. Pastoral care: We offer satisfying pastoral care to all our members.
5. Community: We contribute to a concrete missional project both in our city and world-wide.
6. Ecumenical relations: We maintain good relationships with other local churches, especially with the Old-Catholic and the Lutheran Church, with the Protestant Church in Oosterbeek, and with the wider Anglican community.
7. Administration: We abide by what is commonly seen as best practice in the areas of administration, finances, communication and PR.
8. Leadership: We ensure serving, loving, life-giving and bridge-building leadership as council and clusters in order to fulfil our vision as a church.

Tactical plans for reaching our strategic goals
In order to achieve our strategic goals we focus on the following areas:

Worship
• We offer Eucharistic services as our primary form of worship.
• We worship in other, different forms besides our primary worship service, such as through an active Christ-centred lifestyle, through ministry, prayers etc.
• We present this world to God in our worship.

Discipleship
• We endeavour that every member is engaged in being a disciple and in discipling others.
• We organize regular prayer meetings.
• We organize Bible studies, retreats and discipleship courses.

Growth
• We engage in evangelistic outreach.
• We continually assess our worship services with the question if they still engage people.
• We hold services that focus on the felt needs of people.
• We are continually looking for growing our missionary presence in Arnhem and Nijmegen.

Pastoral care
• We continually assess the felt needs of our community.
• We provide home visits and holy eucharist at the homes of those who need it.
• We provide prayer for the needy in our worship services.

Community
• We contribute to the care of the needy in our city.
• We financially support and are prayerfully related to the world wide mission of the Church

Ecumenical relations
• We relate with the Anglican community in the Netherlands and worldwide.
• We relate ecumenically with churches in our cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen. On significant occasions we offer joint services with our Old-Catholic and Lutheran sister-communities.
• We are involved as a community in an overseas missional project.

Administration, finances, communication and PR
• We have transparent administration, communication and financial management.
• Our administration and financial management abide by the standards of best practice.
• Our internal and external communication is always honest, speedy, respectful.
• For our communications we use the latest relevant media.

Leadership
• The clusters have developed their policy and are functioning as teams.
• The council continues to function well and positions are (in as much that it
is possible) fulfilled.
• The MAP is executed.
• Leadership support and development is provided.