Voyage to the Netherlands John and I spent six weeks this summer exploring the Netherlands on our 34’ sailing yacht, Triptych. Our voyage took us from Woodbridge across the North Sea to Imuiden and through canals on ‘fixed mast’ routes to the port of Den Helder. We sailed across the beautiful European Nature Reserve of the tidal Waddenzee to the Frisian Islands. Turning south through the inland seas of the Isselmeer and Markermeer we passaged through Amsterdam via the North Sea Canal. Further south we moored Triptych in Haarlem, Leiden, Gouda and Dordrecht. Finally we entered the vast summer water- sports playgrounds of the Schelde Delta. Eventually reaching Vlissingen we sailed back to Woodbridge. The Old Catholic Church is in full communion with Church of England as its oldest ecumenical partner so these are the churches in which we attend the Eucharist. We first called on friends Jake (not so retired priest) and Irene Dejonge at Krommenie who live in the presbytery fronting a ‘hidden church’ in a former barn (pictured left). After the Reformation Roman Catholicism was sometimes tolerated providing the worship was neither seen nor heard. Some Roman Catholic congregations who had fled their churches taking the vestments and treasures with them built hidden churches, for example, in gardens behind rows of houses. When in the 17th century the Roman Catholic Bishops and Priests objected to the Pope’s choice of a new Archbishop for them they formed the Old Catholic Church and the buildings and their treasures stayed with them. H.H Nicolaus en Maria Magdalena, Krommenie was originally accessed through the farmhouse and is still invisible from the road Beneath the fine church are cellars which were the old cattle byres from which cattle were led to punts to cross the canal and graze on the meadows. On our journey we attended the Eucharist in Alkmaar, Haarlem and Dordrecht and also visited Gouda and Leiden. Haarlem’s hidden church in an attic was replaced by a new building 1939 and the empty church became the undiscovered centre for the local resistance in the war. John and Mary Hare’s elegant yacht and a Gouda silver candle stand (above) Gouda’s H. Johannes de Doper remains hidden, but the front entrance through the ground floor of the house is now on view. H. Maria Major, Dordrecht has become accessible through the gap created by the demolition of its former fronting house. We were privileged to be shown many beautiful treasures and were warmly welcomed by the congregations of these churches. Mary Hare The Zimbabwe Water The supply of safe, drinkable water to Zimbabweans has concerned St. Mary’s parishioner, Pat Battye, for some time. An effective and affordable solution to the purification of polluted sources has been developed by Ipswich inventor Michael Pritchard. Details of the “Lifesaver” system can be found on www.lifesaversystems.com To raise funds to for the project we are proposing to hold a concert at St. Mary’s in the not too distant future. Keep a look out at the back of the church for further information.