The Church of St. James Voorschoten was born 40 years ago as the result of an experiment. Services were held in the music room of the newly built secondary campus of the British School in the Netherlands, with a small group of worshippers from St. John and St. Philip's in The Hague attending.The church plant took root and grew rapidly, attracting internationals living in Voorschoten and the surrounding area, and the experiment was soon declared a success. The congregation became an independent ICS chaplaincy in 1996, and has continued since to thrive in its British School setting.

In the last weekend of March we celebrated our 40th anniversary in style. The Saturday evening party consisted of a sit-down meal, children's activities, live music and line dancing. 150 people attended, including former members who travelled in specially for the occasion. The Sunday morning service included both celebrations and confirmations, with Bishop Robert presiding and the school hall packed. Following the service there was a drinks reception with birthday cake and a few short speeches. In addition to these events, a glossy 40th anniversary souvenir Journal was produced, with contributions from past and present members. (Visit to download a copy.)

Each member of the congregation was asked recently to suggest three words that summed up St. James for themselves personally. This was used to generate a word-cloud, with the more common words appearing in larger size. These included 'welcoming', 'family', 'friendly', 'community', 'warm' and 'open'. Such words also perfectly sum up the atmosphere over our 40th anniversary weekend. There is not the slightest appearance of a mid-life crisis; in contrast, it feels like a church family that is at ease with itself, intentional about spiritual growth, and active in sharing God's love with the international community around us.

God's grace and goodness to St James over 40 years is amazing, and we feel greatly blessed. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Ruan Crew, Chaplain at St. James, Voorschoten

Bishop Robert wrote on his blog here: