News in Brief
The Church of England will apologise for its role in anti-Semitism. Next year is the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford, a Church of England council that led to the promulgation of several anti-Semitic laws, and is considered to have laid the basis for the expulsion of England’s Jews by Edward I in 1290.
The Church of England has committed itself to planning a service of remembrance in conjunction with the Council of Christians and Jews, and will develop a liturgical resource that could be offered to local churches to “model an appropriate symbolic repentance”. You can read more, including the response of the Campaign Against anti-Semitism here.
Estonian church plant wins Baptist World Alliance Evangelism Award. The 3D Baptist Church in Tartu, Estonia won the Baptist World Alliance’s inaugural Evangelism Award. The church was planted by a group of young students in 2010 in the university city of Tartu. The church as grown to over 200 members and founded several off-shoots. Baptist World Alliance Commission on Evangelism member, Harry Lucenay, said, “The purpose of the Evangelism Award is to recognise a church modelling evangelism married to discipleship, who want people to come to faith in Christ and who grow in that faith of Jesus Christ. Therefore we want to recognise who is doing this well and learn from it.”
Pope leaves hospital. On Wednesday 14 July, the pope left the Agostino Gemelli Hospital in Rome, where he has been recuperating from a stomach operation.
The Acts 29 Church planting network is growing in Europe. Acts 29 is a network of evangelical “church planting churches” with 697 congregations worldwide, which has continued a strong pattern of growth even during the pandemic. In 2020, Acts 29 established 25 new churches, and while 18 of these were in the United States, the network has planted several churches in Europe. The Acts 29 network has identified Europe as being a focus region, particularly areas where there is currently no evangelical Christian presence.
Spotlight on Maastricht.
St Servatius Basilica (Keizer Karelplein 3) is one of the landmark historic churches of Maastricht, home to several important Christian relics. It holds several Roman Catholic services throughout the week, including a short procession to the shrine of Saint Servatius on Mondays, and on Sundays at 18.00 there is a service in English.
Sint Janskerk (Vrijthof 24). This Protestant church, with its gothic red tower, is a notable feature of the Maastricht skyline. Located directly next to St Servatius Basillica, the two churches are a rare example of “church twins” in the Netherlands. Construction of the church began in 1200, with the church initially serving as a Roman Catholic chapel connected to St Servatius. It became a Dutch Reformed Protestant church in 1632.
Onze Lieve Vrouw “Sterre der Zee” Basilica (Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 7). This architecturally impressive basilica is home to the striking Madonna statue known as “Sterre der Zee”. Although Star of the Sea is a name commonly used for the Virgin Mary, being a translation of the Latin Stella Maris, the Maastricht madonna has a direct link to seafaring because a seventeenth century merchant caught in a storm at sea promised to build an altar for the Madonna if he survived. The statue became a focus of pilgrimage, and is processed through the streets of Maastricht twice a year.
All Saints Anglican Church (Onze Lieve Vrouw Basiliek, Stokstraat 46a) meets at the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basilica. All Saints developed out of an Alpha group that started in 2006 and grew into a regular prayer group. In 2008, this prayer group decided to join the Anglican communion and hold two services per month in someone’s home. The church soon grew and found a new home at the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basilica. In 2012, the church voted to be come a congregation in the Church of England’s Diocese of Europe and formally changed its name to All Saints Church Maastricht.
Redeemer International Church (Bredestraat 19) is an international, English-language church founded as a church plant in 2018.
Saint of the week.
“Christ is the artist, tenderly wiping away all the grime of sin that disfigures the human face and restoring God’s image to its full beauty.”
On 19 July, the Anglican Communion remembers St Gregory of Nyssa. St Gregory was bishop of Nyssa, in what is now Turkey, in the third century, at a tumultuous time for the Christian church; tumult which St Gregory was not spared from as he became embroiled in various disputes with different parts of the contemporary Church. He is remembered principally for his writings, notably on Universalism and the Infinite nature of God. He was also one of the first Christian writers to oppose slavery on theological grounds.
The week ahead.
World Council of Churches youth climate justice invitation. The World Council of Churches’s annual Ecumenical International Youth Day on 12 August is this year focused on climate justice. The WCC is inviting youth from member churches and ecumenical partners to submit materials and ideas for participation by 31 July. More details here.
Jobs advertised. The Intercontinental Church Society is currently advertising for chaplains for All Saints Vevey and St Peter’s Chateau d’Oex, and the Anglican church in Basel. Application deadlines are 26 and 30 July respectively.