Preacher of the Protestant Church in Houten
I’ve been a preacher of the Protestant community in Houten since 2010. I’m married to Tineke with whom I have four children (all four left the house). In my work I have missionary work and youth work as special portfolio next to the regular proceeding like pastoral, church services etc.
For two days the Dream Team of Atlantic Bridge was at the College De Heemlanden. It surprised me how spontaneous theses youth worked and how enthusiastic the teachers and students became. This eventually led to group young BridgeBuilders who will prepare exchanges with America and Eastern Europe next year.
Youth! They keep me young and contacts with people outside of the network of the church prevent me from dozing off.
Each year a bus with students of the College De Heemlanden from Houten goes to Taizee. The majority of the students don’t go to church. Students think it’s a special experience but after that there is no continuity for students who have no connection to the church. Late November the Dream Team of Atlantic Bridge was in Houten for four days, including at the College De Heemlanden. The presence was, in a way, a continuation and deepening of the Taizee experience.
The Dream Team comes from all kinds of different contexts and corners of society and faith. A girl from the Apostolic church in Armenia, a mysterious Druze from Israel, a Calvinist from Hungary, a Baptist from Canada and a boy from a Pentecostal community. Just finding those differences in a team is indeed a dream. They bring so many experiences with them. It’s an excellent example of how a multi-cultural team can have an inspiring influence on our society, and then combine that with faith. Our community gave them a hospitable reception and even our new mayor, Mister W. De Jong gave a short visit to the youth room.
The most interesting is that bridges are build just through normal meetings. The contacts are stimulated with a high-quality program. It’s about the perfectly normal contacts, the conversations. Not the program, but the relationships bring this about. It also does something for our church youth work. What is our own perspective about culture and church, don’t we also have to get out of our places ourselves and delve into other those worlds? And then the fact that it connects between youth at school and our church youth work. Especially that is very valuable to us.
About Atlantic Bridge
Little over ten years ago Atlantic Bridge had a contribution to building youth work in our Protestant community in Houten. The step group So Double U is an important part of the youth work in our church. The concept of step-dance is introduced by Atlantic Bridge in our church through a step team from Brooklyn. The family Heijtink that got inspired by this work during a festival by Atlantic Bridge picked this up with the youth of the community.
However, the work of Atlantic Bridge is more than setting up a step group. Bridges have to be build and walls have to be broken between different cultures. In Houten there are mainly bridges to be built between people with different backgrounds. I think, among others, of young people from church and school. We want to learn to see each other and respect each other, learn from each other. And build bridges of friendship and faith. Also in a place like Houten, that has a lot of white and highly educated people, much can be gained from building bridges with other cultures.