Brief History of the Wesley Methodist Church Amsterdam

Welcome to Wesley Methodist Church, Amsterdam society. Our society developed through the timely inspiration drawn from Rev. Victor Watson, a British Methodist Minister who was then serving his last year of ministerial assignment to the Emmanuel Methodist Church located in Amsterdam-West. It was with the said Emmanuel Methodist congregation known to be predominantly Caribbean that few Ghanaian Methodists had made contacts and were worshipping before the mid 1997.

Rev. Watson had previously served as a missionary Pastor to Ghana where he had been greatly inspired by Ghanaian Methodism which is characterized by joyful and exuberant worship expressed in dancing and singing. Despite these Ghanaian Methodists’ presence, Rev. Watson observed that the familiar joyful exuberance which had characterized Ghanaian worship services as he was very familiar with in Ghana was conspicuously absent here coupled with the relatively low membership of Ghanaian Methodists amongst this sole Methodist church congregation in Amsterdam and the Netherlands at large. This issue became the topic for discussion after Easter service in 1997 between Rev. Watson and brothers Samuel Amankwah and Nana Kwame Arhin who were both visiting the church for the first time. These two brothers eventually became the leading initiators among the founding members of the Wesley Methodist Church Amsterdam.

Having caught the vision for the evangelization of the Ghanaian community in Amsterdam through the inspirational and fruitful deliberations with Rev. Watson, these two brothers shared the vision with the few Ghanaians already worshipping in the said congregation. These few Ghanaian Methodists were thus motivated to reach out to the Ghanaian community in Amsterdam through telephone calls, word of mouth, and periodic local radio announcements inviting people and directing them to the worship place of the Emmanuel Methodist Church at the De Kinderstraat 54 in Amsterdam-West. Rev. Watson even offered to join them and once preached on the local radio station. After some months of intensive contacts by these initiators, it was realized that the response to all their efforts was not encouraging, possibly attributed to factors which included lack of proximity of the place of worship to the residential area of the Ghanaian community. In Amsterdam about ninety percent of the Ghanaian community are resident in the Bijlmermeer area of Amsterdam Southeast where almost all the Ghanaian-initiated churches are also located.[1]

When the initiators finally decided in the beginning of September 1997 to plant a Methodist Church in the catchment area of Bijlmermeer in Amsterdam Southeast they also took into consideration the language and other cultural needs of the Ghanaian community. A local Ghanaian radio station brought the planned service to the attention of a wider public and on 21st September 1997 the first service was held at Kralenbeek 100s a small, rented Garage space in the Bijlmermeer area of Amsterdam Southeast. The service was conducted by one of their accredited Methodist Lay preachers from Ghana. The attendance was 27 adults including a few children. A few more Lay preachers joined the new congregation within three weeks and pledged their commitment to assist in developing this young congregation until it was able to receive a resident Minister. Further radio announcements and personal contacts continued to draw to the Methodist services increasing number of Ghanaians mostly with Methodist and other mainline Protestant Christian backgrounds.

Church Expansion

In consonance with its vision for church expansion the newly established Amsterdam Methodist congregation within a year of its formation launched an evangelistic outreach to assist in planting a second Methodist church in The Hague which had its maiden service in September 1998 with 20 members in attendance.

A few months after the formation of the Wesley Methodist Church Amsterdam, this young congregation decided to become affiliated to the Methodist Church Ghana, the mother church of the Ghanaian membership. In view of this, the two Methodist Societies in Amsterdam and The Hague were officially inaugurated as a Mission Circuit of the Methodist Church Ghana by the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana in Amsterdam on 24th June 2000.

In October 2000, the Very Reverend Isaac S. Amoah was officially stationed in Amsterdam-Netherlands by the Conference of the Methodist Church Ghana as the first resident Superintendent Minister to take spiritual and pastoral oversight of the Holland Mission Circuit then comprising the Amsterdam and The Hague Societies.

Within a year of the formal Inauguration of the Mission Circuit, a third Methodist Church was planted in Rotterdam through the initiative and support of the Amsterdam Wesley Methodist Church. The first formal worship service of this new congregation was held in February 2001.

In early 2002, the Amsterdam Society again reached out to Antwerp in Belgium to assist a few Ghanaian Methodists to plant and nurture the first Ghanaian-initiated Methodist Church in Belgium which was formally inaugurated in October 2002.

During the fall of 2006 another evangelistic effort was made to assist in planting and nurturing the second Ghanaian Methodist Church in Brussels – Belgium.

In 2012 during the first half of the year, consistent evangelistic efforts were made by the Amsterdam Society to help establish, nurture, and support a third Methodist congregation in Gent – Belgium. This new Society was also formally inaugurated in July 2012.

In March 2015 the Wesley Methodist Church Amsterdam, the mother Society located in Amsterdam South-East established a second congregation in Amsterdam East to provide services in English for our mostly Dutch speaking Ghanaian Youth, Young adults, a few adult Ghanaian Methodists, and worshippers of other nationalities.

Again, in 2017, another nursery Society was opened in Almere about 30 kilometers from Amsterdam.

In 2016, the Biennial Conference of the Methodist Church Ghana approved the creation of the Belgium Circuit as a separate Circuit comprising the three Societies earlier established in Belgium. This was after 14 years of being part of the Holland Circuit.

In the fall of 2018, the Holland Circuit assisted in planting and supporting the nurturing of the first Ghanaian Methodist church in Lleida in the Catalonia Region of Spain.

Then in 2019 the Holland Circuit assumed responsibility for the spiritual and pastoral oversight of the Oslo Congregation, which was previously established in 2007, and registered as a joint Presbyterian/Methodist Congregation.

The Wesley Methodist Church Amsterdam makes us feel that God’s house is a real home. Due to its unique character and tradition, the church is filled with warm friendly people dedicated to the service of God. Our church gladly welcomes all those seeking God, Christian fellowship, and support in facing life’s problems. We have a combination of traditional hymns and contemporary music. The church offers full Bible study classes for both adults and children as well as special fellowship for all.