Holland Methodist Church

Author: HMC-Media Team


Sisters and Brothers,

I greet you in the name of our triune God.

We are at the first day of November! It is All Saints Day when we commemorate the Church triumphant in heaven. Yes, there are countless saints who have gone home to glory and for them, we give thanks.

For all the saints who from their labours rest

Thy name, O Jesu, be forever blest. Alleluia!

Yes. We give thanks for those who have been canonised or beatified and for the many whose names have not been recorded on earth even though they are numbered among the countless redeemed ones whom John referred to in his record of the Revelation.

The earliest saints to be canonised by the church were all martyrs, people who literally gave up their lives in defence of the faith that has been handed on to us. But many since then have also given their lives as Paul requests us to in Romans 12 [present your bodies a living sacrifice wholly and acceptable to God].  Or to use the hymnic phrases of Frances Ridley Havergal, they lived the prayer, “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord, to Thee.”

As Christians, we believe in the Resurrection of the dead, and we are thankful for those who have died in the Lord, confident that death is not the end of those who trust in God. But we are also mindful that Jesus is both the Resurrection and the Life. While we are yet alive and remain on earth, we are called to live saintly lives. So, let us be Saints Alive while we live this mortal life on earth, until we are translated to the glory of heaven when we shall be forever.

To be saints, those living and dying for the Lord, we are called to lives of obedience to God. As individuals, we are to make choices that enable us in following Jesus every day. But it is not all about individuality. In fact, the individuals who make up the church, must live in community, as a community.

Observing Christian Festivals is one way we share the life if community as together we recall God’s saving actions on behalf of humankind. Also in November, we observe the Feast of Christ the King  at the end of the liturgical year. We hail Jesus as our common Lord.

There is another observance, an MCCA tradition that we keep. The third Lord’s Day of November is MCCA Youth & Young Adults Lord’s Day. Let us show support for our youth whom we must influence positively for God’s sake.

November also includes our Harvest Celebrations as well- opportunity for giving plenty thanks to this bounteous God of ours. Yes, God blesses us abundantly. Let us then be generous in giving glory to God, daily offering up ourselves for God’s service, reaching others for the Lord as we participate in Operation Andrew. This is not nearly as demanding as it was for the martyrs, the ones whom the Church first recognised as saints.

Yes, I appeal to us to be Saints Alive living to the glory of God.

In our life, Lord, be glorified. Amen.

Joan Delsol Meade

Let Us Be Good Stewards Of GOD’S Grace

Sisters and Brothers

As a reminder, we mark October as Ministries Month. As the people called Methodist, who cherish the doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers, we emphasize that each one of us is called to share in God’s community. Each one of us is gifted for service, having received God’s grace, as we read in Ephesians 4:7.  Paul elaborates in Romans 12: 4-6,  “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

Our giftedness as individuals is the community’s giftedness. Indeed, “the gifts of God are for the people of God.”. As disciples working together, we use our gifts for the benefit of each other, thereby encouraging one another on our faith journey, and building each other up. We make real Charles Wesley’s prayer:

“Help us to build each other up,
Our little stock improve.
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
And perfect us in love.”

Not only this, the mutual strengthening of those with whom we serve places us at an advantage in our service to the wider community. For the task assigned us goes beyond us. The mission on which Christ sends us is to go out and train all those whom we encounter.

None of us can do this alone; but we can fulfil God’s assignment when we do it together. This is because we are gifted in different ways. The love of God that invites us, the love of Christ which constrains us, invites others into the community of God. As we learn to live together, we not only enrich ourselves and those we work with. In Christ we work for the benefit of God’s whole people, including those who are yet to come to faith.

We must, therefore, take good care of the gifts that have been given to us, and put them to doing the work of God. Let us nurture our gifts and not let them go to waste. Indeed, that is what we promised to do when we confirmed our membership in the Church.

There are many services to be offered. You are probably being called to be a full-time Minister, or a Preacher, Teacher, Counsellor, or Visitor. Maybe you’re the one your Class is waiting on to serve as Class Leader. We are still in need here. Your Ministry may or may not be that of a Circuit Steward, Congregational, CARE Fund or Custodial Steward. How about serving as a Cradle Roll Secretary and seeing to the nurture of the youngest baptised members? Or taking on the Church School Class for the teenagers – we still need youth teachers and leaders in both congregations. The call has gone out for ushers. Could that be your calling? And there are a host of other ministries. One of them is fit for you for God has fit you for that purpose. The list goes on: Musician, Chorister, IT Specialist, Kitchen Cook, Helper. Whatever the task you are being called to, it is critical to the functioning of the Church, and it will help the church to better serve the community that still needs us.

Let us seek to be good stewards (ministers) of the gifts we have received, for in that way, we give glory to God.

May the Lord’s richest blessings be ours in the service of our Lord.

Joan Delsol Meade

President’s Message

The Connexional Officers join me in greeting you as we commence another Connexional Year. We rejoice in the goodness of God, and we know that our gracious and loving God who faithfully goes with us through the valley of the shadow of death, protects us, preserves us, and provides for us, stands with us at the portal of this new year and hushes every fear and anxiety.

Last year was a various year. Some have known and experienced grief and sickness; some have rejoiced at miracles in their lives or the lives of family and friends. Some faced some very anxious moments when we were concerned about living each day but through it all we can affirm firmly that God is good.

We commend to your love and care all our ministers and especially those who have been transferred and are being welcomed into new Circuits; those who have superannuated and will move into another phase of their life’s journey, those who will be taking up their first Circuit appointment and those who have answered the call and will commence their theological education and ministerial formation.

We invite you to join and participate in the launch of Year 3 of the MCCA Unified Strategic Direction (USD) on:

  • September 4 in English,
  • September 5 in French,
  • and September 9 in Spanish.

God wants the MCCA to be a growing, vibrant church that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and responsive to the needs of the communities in which we minister. Therefore, let us join in prayer and play our part in the successful implementation of the USD in all Districts, Circuits and Congregations.  Let us always remember that God is with us, and God is not finished with us as a Church.

Approaching the new year can be unsettling because none of us knows the future. We do not know what this year will bring, what storms may rock our boat, what wind will blow and how we may be tossed from side to side. As we push out from the shores of the 2022/2023 year and launch out into the new, uncharted waters of 2023/2024, let us be aware that whatever comes our way God is with us and God has the power to calm the waves. When we pass through the waters God will be with us, and the rivers will not overwhelm us, the fire will not consume us (Isa. 43:2).

Let us press on in God’s mission always cognizant of the fact that we are stronger together and united we stand divided we fall.

Go forth with confidence, the Lord is with you!

New Connexxional Year

Sisters and Brothers,

Welcome September! A new Connexional Year has begun.

What do we mean by this? The Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas structures its assignments and programmes- planning and review- over the 12-month period 1st September to 31st August. This is the Connexional Year. It is not the church year, in the liturgical sense which, for the church universal, starts on Advent Lord’s Day, typically at the end of November or the start of December. It is to avoid confusion that you hear me speak often of the Connexional Year when I refer to the MCCA business year.

With that clear, let us continue our journey with God, remaining ever vigilant to take advantage of the opportunities that arise for doing God’s work. We are reminded that these opportunities often present themselves in the form of obstacles.

What then must be our reaction to the obstacles we encounter? As always, our first instinct must be to pray. Some problems may not be ours to handle but there are certainly obstacles which the Lord allows to come our way, so that we may find the way out. Very often, possibilities arose when we seek to solve problems together, guided by God’s Spirit. That one way in which the communion of the Holy Spirit operates in the life of believers. In a situation that is undesirable, we may well sense the leading of the Spirit to what the right action should be. Let us not underestimate the need for us to pray about obstacles, so that we receive divine guidance about going forward, and improving the situation.

In presenting the annual report of each Congregation on Missions Lord’s Day, we noted areas where we worked well together, and areas in which improvement is needed. A new year is always good time to start working on improvements. It doesn’t have to be the liturgical year, or the calendar year beginning in January. Every day offers new opportunities. But for us in the MCCA, September is good time to start turning tables where we need to.

At both Amsterdam and Rotterdam, we noted the need for more deliberate involvement of youth. Every Congregation needs to be intentional about this. Faithfulness to Christ’s mission demands it. Instead of being overly critical of youth, it is more helpful to be supportive and encouraging. Help them to cultivate a sense of belonging, and an awareness that they are valued in the church family. Adults have an important part to play in this.

As always, we need to take community service and outreach seriously, since the church must never be just for its own self-preservation. These and other areas are where we continually seek God’s guidance that we may do God’s will.

Welcome 2023-24!

Yours in God’s service
Joan Delsol Meade, Pastor

The Passing of Time

Sisters and Brothers 

I greet you in the name of our triune God. 

Through grace, we have arrived at the final month of the Connexional Year. Let us give thanks. 

For many, August is time to wind down from the demanding tasks we might have pursued from Advent through Nativity, Epiphany, Lent, Resurrection, Pentecost, and the ordinary seasons of the liturgical year. Every season brings different demands, and it seems that things are always going on. 

But no doubt, that’s the very reason for the special times and seasons. They help us to mark the passage of time with that consciousness that God is right beside us as we journey through time, and that an inheritance awaits us. With God, we do not go round in circles. The liturgical calendar helps us to recognise the passage of time, not in some futile way, as if going through meaningless routines. Rather remembering what God has done on our behalf in times past, and what God is doing in our todays, stirs up our hope in the promises of God for the future. In that sense, every season is like Advent. We remember the Old Testament promises of a Redeemer. We celebrate the Birth of God’s Son who cane to save us, and we remind ourselves of the need to be ready for his return. 

It is good to take stock of what we do (or not do) as time passes; and the rest period that August signals for many is an important part of taking stock. Of course, people take their break at different times, but for families especially, much revolves around the school year when children and youth must be at classes during most of the year; and then they get a longer summer break. 

Speaking of school holidays, they too, come to an end. This year, we mark the important event of children returning to classes with the Back-to-School Service in both congregations. I appeal to parents and other significant adults to encourage the children and their families to participate in this. It is another event to mark the passage of time which is God’s gift to us.  

Whether or not you have school-aged children, or work in the field of Education, it is not only winding down time, but also preparation for a new Connexional Year. For the past two years, the District started with a Prayer and Fast, This will run from 3rd to 10th September. Start thinking of whether you will pursue the Daniel Fast based on Daniel chapters 1 and 10 where “Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with wine” (vs 8) ; or the Wesley Fast with fasting after supper daily, breaking the Fast with Lunch. 

By the start of September, you will receive the prayer list and be ready to go with God, ready to travel through grace, the 2023-24 Connexional Year. May the Lord’s name be praised. 

Yours in Christ’s service
Joan Delsol Meade

Missions Month

Sisters and Brothers,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who commissions us as his disciples.

As we mark Missions Month, I remind us that being in mission is the reason the church is. Its our central purpose as believers.

Let us survey the Gospels to be reminded of this last and vitally important task that Jesus assigned us.

We often refer to his sending us as the Great Commission. The most cited occurrence of tis is in Matthew 28 where we are reminded of

  • Jesus’ authority to send us,
  • The tasks he assigned us (i) being and (ii) making disciples,
  • The scope of where he sends us- everywhere; and
  • Jesus’ companionship as we go in his name.

 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is n Mark 16: 15-20 as well. Matthew puts the focus on baptising, making disciples and teaching them. Mark does this too, but he highlights the power of God’s message. He emphasises that it is:

  • faith in Jesus and
  • through the power of the Holy Spirit, that disciples can perform signs that provide proof that Jesus is with us.

Luke emphasises the character of the Witnesses that we are called to be as we accept the Great Commission. The central point in Luke’s version of the Great Commission in Luke 24: 44-49 is found in verse 48, “You are witnesses of these things”.

Luke repeats the Commission in his other writing in Acts 1: 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Central for Luke, is that the powerful Holy Spirit transforms us and enables us to be witnesses for Christ. The Spirit’s work in us is not just for our advantage. It is for our assigned mission to witness to Christ.

John records the Great Commission in 20:19-23. In terms of commissioning, the key verse is “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” This he said as he breathed the Holy Spirit on them.

John reminds us that disciples were to follow Jesus in the exercise of ministry, calling people to repentance, inviting them to surrender their lives to Christ, offering healing and deliverance in his name.

In all four gospels then, we are called to be disciples and to make disciples. Our mission is to do so in Jesus’ name, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The key question for us is, “Are we doing this and being thus?” Whatever else we may be doing, if we do not take seriously our own growth as Christian disciples and the imperative (command) to make disciples, then we are not fulfilling our God assigned purpose. Let us pray always, that the lord will help us so to do.

Yours in his service
Joan Delsol Meade

Mission of Transformation

Sisters and Brothers,

We have started the final quarter of the 2022-23 Connexional Year. Indeed, time flies! How much better memories of the flight when we know that we have been good stewards of the grace that saw us through these past months.

And if our stewardship leaves much to be desired, then let us remember that today is the best day to start cooperating with God’s Spirit so that we become and we deliver what the Lord requires of us. It is the best way to prepare for the days, weeks, and the year ahead.

As we do, we pay greater attention to the opportunities that present themselves as we focus on Children’s Lord’s Day and MCCA Women’s Lord’s Day which the church sets in June and Father’s Day set by the wider community. These all bring family to mind, which brings me to the question, “have we been diligent in witnessing to our families, proclaiming in word and in deed, the gospel of God’s love for humankind? Where situations have been demanding, have we considered the call to trust God through it all and live out the District’s theme Trusting God in Difficult Times: transforming obstacles into opportunities?

In July, we will hold mission rallies. It’s time to seriously consider and reconsider the church’s mission: It is meant to be more that just a statement on our bulletins:

Our mission is to proclaim the gospel of Christ, equip God’s people for witness and service, and work to holistically transform the lives of all people in the Caribbean, the Americas and beyond, across geographical, cultural, and linguistic borders.

 It is only as we take this God-given mission seriously, make the effort to grow as disciples who engage in witness and service for the sake of our Lord, that we will be transformed as persons and we will play a part in the transformation of others and the wider society of which we are part.

We often affirm that Methodism was raised up by God for the transformation of society. Then let us play our part in this mission of transformation. We start with giving of ourselves, then of our resources, including money so that the church’s missionary activities are funded.


Yours in God’s service
Joan Delsol Meade, Pastor

Methodist Heritage Month

Sisters and Brothers,

It is May – Methodist Heritage Month.

What do we mean by this?

Heritage, of course, refers to those features that derive from the past and remain important in the present.

May 1738 was the watershed moment in the lives of John and Charles Wesley, a turning point in their spiritual experience. It was Whitsuntide, that is, Pentecost time. Charles, a priest, was home in bed recovering from illness when he described a life changing assurance of God’s presence in his life. He called that day, 21st May, his “spiritual birthday.” 3 days later, John, also a priest, was invited out by his German Moravian friend Peter Bohler whom he had met the previous year. The invitation was to a religious meeting to be held at a building on Aldersgate Street in London, England.

John recorded that he went “reluctantly” to this meeting. But does not this mysterious God of ours ever move in ways beyond our comprehension? John’s discussions with Peter Bohler and others had already influenced him; but it was on that night that Wesley recorded feeling his “heart strangely warm.” In the developments that followed the Aldersgate meeting, Methodism was born, even though the Wesley brothers had no intention of starting a new church.

How did this new church come to include us? Twenty-two years later, Nathaniel Gilbert and his African slave introduced Methodism to African slaves in Antigua. The movement grew as laymen and women moved from one island to the next and to mainland Central and South American territories in and around the Caribbean Sea.

So, it should come as no surprise that when the Caribbean missionary outpost of Methodism became an autonomous church, it met as such first in May- May 1967. And until the present, the Connexional Conference and Connexional Councils meet in the month of May.

So yes, in May, we focus on the rich heritage that is ours as a people called Methodist. We sing and celebrate the richness of Methodist hymnody starting with works of Charles the prolific hymn writer; but we also honour the giftedness of numerous Methodist songwriters since. We spend time rehearsing our history and the history of the church in general. We thankfully engage in fellowship events that give meaning to Charles’ poetry “if our fellowship below in Jesus be so sweet.”

But do we simply rehearse history that has gone before us? For if that is all we do, it would be a travesty to our profession that Methodism was raised to proclaim scriptural holiness for the transformation of society. Reflection on and celebration of Methodist heritage is meant to motivate us, to move forward in faith. Methodism started as a movement and Methodists must be ever on the move as God’s Spirit warms our hearts and urges us forward.

One of Methodism’s strong features is the practice of the Priesthood of All Believers. This motivates and encourages us all to play our part, and to offer our lives, and talents to God. In the relationship that follows, God’s Spirit transforms us individually and collectively for service and our lives give glory to God. And that’s only the beginning. It’s a movement that continues, for God who guides the movement, is ever faithful. As George Mulrain and George Roberts invite us to sing:

God is faithful guiding our mission
Through His mercy we are right on track
Carrying on the work of those before us
Never tempted to turn back.

Yours in God’s service
Joan Delsol Meade, Pastor.

Persecuted for Righteousness’ sake

Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Tim. 3:12.

Whoever seeks to live a Christlike life must expect some form of hostility from an ungodly world. The spectrum of persecution ranges from mild to intense, starting with ridicule, restriction, harassment, and discrimination,  and  progressing to torture, imprisonment, ostracism, and death.

Writing from prison, Paul told young Timothy, pastor of the Church in Ephesus, that “all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Tim. 3:12. He wrote from his lived realities, having had a lifetime of suffering for the sake of Christ. Timothy knew all about his “persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured”. It was in Lystra, Timothy’s hometown, that Paul was stoned, dragged out of the city, and left for dead (see Acts 14:20).

Summarizing his experiences, Paul said: “Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning” (see 2 Cor. 11:24-25).  So, Paul was not speaking theoretically and philosophically, but realistically, practically, and experientially. He lived it.

Not only did Jesus alert his disciples to the inevitability of persecution by saying: “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you…If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:18); He also said persecution for righteousness’ sake should be regarded as an honour. He stated: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake” Matt. 5: 11. William Hendricksen wrote that “Scars are the price which every believer pays for his loyalty to Christ. 

In this increasingly secular and materialistic age, it is becoming progressively more unpopular to be followers of Jesus and to publicly declare our faith in God. Followers of Jesus are prone to be insulted, ridiculed, misunderstood, criticized, and even hated. Don’t be surprised if family and friends turn against us, revile and scorn us because of our zeal for the Lord. Let us regard it as an honour and a small price to pay for our loyal service to Christ. The scars of gossip, hatred, name-calling, envy, malice, and vindictiveness should be worn as a badge of honour by the soldiers of Christ. Jesus and Paul had their scars. Do you have any scars as a result for your faithfulness to God?

Living a Christlike life in this broken world that idealizes relativism can be costly. Standing and speaking up for the marginalized, victimized, and abused; defending the rights of children and vulnerable adults; and speaking out against injustices in high and low places are acts that are unlikely to be warmly embraced, but which are more likely to be followed by a knife in the back. 

Nevertheless, followers of Christ are assured that no amount of “trials, tribulation, distress, persecution…peril, or the sword, is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Therefore, I join Henry K. White and F.S. Fuller-Maitland in saying:

Onward then in battle move;
More than conquerors you shall prove;
Though opposed by many a foe,Christian soldiers, onward go.” 
(VIP # 336)

Thought:    Always do what is right, even if it is costly.

Prayer Focus:
Pray for all those who are being persecuted for doing what is right.

Transitioning to Lent

Sisters and Brothers,

Welcome February! Time is indeed, moving on.

This month we transition through the ordinary time ‘after Epiphany’ right into Lent which starts on 22nd instant. As happens every so often, MCCA Men’s Day, the Week of Prayer and World Day of Prayer will fall in Lent.

What’s it about Lent that I wish to mention even before we get there? Remember, my invitation over the past two years for us to consider tithing for Lent. “Give one tenth during Lent.”  Well, I’m at it again. Maybe if we practice this during Lent, it might grow on us as we seek to be more effective stewards of the grace we have received from God.

While we are not mandated to tithe, I do remind us that the MCCA has taken a position on tithing. The church’s (MCCA) position on tithing is captured in a position paper posted on the website. Give tithing a try, and note the effect it has, not just on your wallet, but on your life; and then you can decide from there. We may just find that in a season of inflation and increasing economic hardship, we begin to see God’s wonderful transformation of our financial situation. Let us resolve to trust God for this.

So, while tithing is not mandated -no one is compelling us to give one-tenth- we know that God loves a cheerful giver; and so we focus on the New Testament principles for Christian giving which we have already noted in Discipleship Studies. And while these relate to giving in general- stewardship of time, talent and treasure, I emphasise them here in relation to the gift of money earned.

  1. We are called to give as we have received (i.e., giving is not meant to be based on what we hope to get). We are not trying to twist God’s hand as if God owes us any favour. We are simply blessed because God chooses to be generous.
  2. Giving is like sowing seed, i.e., our gifts are multiplied times over in God’s scheme of things. We may never be aware of how grace is channeled through our giving, how many persons benefit from what we give, even some near and dear to us. How true it has often proven that when we cast our bread upon the waters, it returns bearing unexpected fruit.
  3. We reap what we sow. In other words, harvesting is proportionate to our giving. Let us sow generously, not only our time and talent, but also our treasure to the glory of God.
  4. The true measure of Christian giving is not the quantum of the gift but the attitude of the heart. Small wonder Paul taught the Christians at Corinth:
    Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work”.
  5. Christian giving should be regular ad systematic.  This is why Paul uses the word give in the continuous present tense, as if encouraging the people to make it a habit to give.

So, what more can I say? Try it and don’t be surprised if it turns out that you like it, even if it costs you money, because the blessedness of God’s favour grows upon us as we let go of boundaries, even deliberately and systematically giving what we could choose to own!

May the Lord’s richest blessings be ever yours.

In Christ
Joan Delsol Meade