Christmas Greeting

Christmas Greetings from the Executive Committee

The AICEME Executive Committee wishes all AICEME pastors and their church communities a peaceful Christmas and a healthy transition into 2021.

We look forward to the day that we can connect with one another in person again. In the meantime, we hope that you feel encouraged by the below devotional, written by Chris Peterson (Stockholm), about creating space for our sadness and continuing to put our hope in the Lord.

In Christ,

Mark Vermaire (President), Paul McMinimy (Vice-President), Hanna Peterson (Secretary), Eric Ohlund (Treasurer) and Jennifer Mills-Knutsen (At Large-Member)

I wait for the Lord – an Advent devotional

Dear brothers and sisters,

This season will surely be different for all of us in some way. Each of us is living with some sense of loss and looking to God to lead us through. As we feel what we feel together it is good for us to name our sadness and to bring it out into the open before God. Sometimes in the church we have a hard time giving space for grief and sadness to be named in the community. It can feel like somehow we are doubting God, and not exercising our faith. We feel we should keep our chin up and hold it together. 

But our Scriptures are full of people just like you and me, who found themselves waiting on God in difficult times. They spoke about it out loud and in the worshipping community. The Psalmist prays and sings to God, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord hear my voice!” He brings it all out before the Lord; nothing is held back. Israel as a people, collectively brought their deepest sorrows, hopes and dreams before the Lord trusting that God is attentive and listening. It is no mistake that our Bible is filled with voices that cry out to the Lord and clearly name what hurts and what is broken in us and our world. It is a first step in embracing what is real in us, and around us. We invite God into our reality, to do what God longs to do and that is to be with us, to join in our life as it is and infuse it with his love, his healing and his power for living.  

Perhaps a good Advent practice this year would be to write in a journal what you are feeling, inviting God to meet you in that place. Or perhaps to speak with your children about what feels sad for you, and allow them to share what feels sad for them. Or to share with a friend or spouse. There is something powerful that can happen in us and our community when we are vulnerable with each other. We discover that we are not alone. God is with us, we are connected in our shared weakness and dependence on God. God’s power, as the Apostle Paul discovered so powerfully in his life, is made perfect in weakness.

Psalm 130, continues, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope…..O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.”

Dear brothers and sisters, let us hope in the Lord together this season. God is with us, and God will never let us go. May the love of Christ dwell deep in our hearts through faith as we wait for His coming. 

Chris Peterson


New Officers Elected for 2020-2021

THE HAGUE (AICEME) – Representatives of AICEME member churches elected new officers for 2020-2021 at the Association’s annual general meeting held on 30 April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual general meeting was held online.

The new Association officers for 2020-2021 are:

  • President – Mark Vermaire (American Protestant Church of The Hague)
  • Vice President – Paul McMinimy (All Nations Church of Luxembourg City)
  • Secretary – Hanna Peterson (Stockholm Immanuel Church – International Fellowship)
  • Treasurer – Eric Ohlund (International Protestant Church of Zurich)

Additionally, outgoing president Jennifer Mills-Knutsen (American International Church of London) will serve as an at-large member of the executive committee for 2020-2021.

The new officers assume their responsibilities on 15 May 2020.

The Association membership also elected Tim Stewart (International Church of Copenhagen) and Clarissa Andrew (International Community Church of Surrey) as auditors.

The Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East (AICEME) is an association of Christian congregations who bears witness to the Gospel and serves Jesus Christ among English-speaking people throughout Europe and the Middle East.


Invitation to 2020 Annual General Meeting

The Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday, 30 April 2020.

The book of reports is now available for your review. Please take time to read the reports before the meeting. All reports and resolutions have been rendered into one file for easy downloading and printing.

The agenda includes approval of the 2021 budget, election of 2020-2021 Association officers, reports from the various Association activities, and other matters necessary for the operation of the Association. We will also take time to welcome new pastors and spouses and to bless those who leave the Association.

Date: Thursday, 30 April 2020
Location: Online via Zoom
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 CET
Presiding Officer: Association President Jennifer Mills-Knutsen

According to §9 of the Articles of Association, “each member congregation shall be entitled to two voting representatives.” Other pastors and spouses are welcome to join the meeting as guests.

To review the book of reports and receive details for the Zoom meeting, please contact the AICEME secretary.

The Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East is a registered corporation with the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel) in the Netherlands. Our corporation number is KVK 70624615.


2020 Pastors and Spouses Conference Cancelled

On behalf of your Executive Team, know that you and your congregations are held in prayer during this time of worry, grief and isolation. You and your ministries matter more than ever, even as our normal ways of showing the love of Christ (worship, gatherings, visiting the sick) are not available to us. We are all making it up as we go along, with a lot of prayer and trust in the constancy of Christ. Thank you for your faithful ministry right now.

We have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s AICEME Pastors & Spouses Conference in The Hague.

We met yesterday to consider various options, but we were in unanimous agreement that this is the right course of action. I am sorry to add this to the list of many disappointments we are all experiencing.

We know that this raises questions about refunds, the AGM and more. We are in the process of sorting out all of these details, and we have another meeting scheduled next Thursday. We will send more information after that time. 

Here is what we know right now:

  • Mark and Lori Vermaire and the American Protestant Church in The Hague have agreed to host the conference, postponed to 2021. Based on what we know already, it is likely to be the same week—late April into early May.
  • This will save us a significant loss of money, as we can postpone reservations rather than cancel them. However, there will still be some costs that cannot be recovered. Once we have contacted all our current vendors, negotiated new contracts, and reviewed AICEME’s own ability to sustain losses, we anticipate the ability to refund at least a portion of the conference fees.  We will let you know as soon as we do. If your congregation is in a position to decline a portion of your refund as a gift to AICEME, it would be most gratefully received.
  • If you have made airline reservations already, we have heard that some airlines are offering refunds for cancelled flights or free changes during this time. We suggest you contact the airline and see what options might be available, and perhaps holding out to see if your flight is cancelled by the airline.
  • We still need to hold our AGM, so please reserve Thursday, April 30 at 10:00 CET, for some kind of virtual gathering to conduct the business of the Association.

Our need to be together for mutual support and sharing of our ministries only increases during times of crisis like this. The Executive Team will be talking about finding ways to gather virtually for support, conversation and connection, especially during the week that we would have been together in The Hague. Stay tuned, and leave your calendar open for those possibilities.

I want to offer a huge word of thanks to Mark and Lori Vermaire and the team at the American Protestant Church in The Hague, who have done an enormous amount of work to prepare for the conference, only to face this disappointment. 

Once again, we are sorry for the sad news. Our ministry and network will continue in new ways throughout the year, and we will be in touch next week with more information.

May God’s love surround you, God’s strength sustain you, and God’s peace uphold you during these difficult days. 

With gratitude and prayer,

Jennifer Mills-Knutsen (President)