The reality of joy


Symposium in honour of pastor Niek Tramper

(registration required)

You are cordially invited to the symposium that is organized by ICF-Delft at the occasion of the approaching retirement of pastor Niek and the farewell of him & his wife Jenny.

What is it about?
In many ways we are confronted with ‘the absence of God’ in our society. Is this connected with the fact that many people in (western) society suffer from loneliness, stress, perfectionism and fear of missing out? Not only that: societies also suffer from judging and excluding others, while defending the ‘little goods’: self, satisfaction, security and even spirituality. Despite the fact that religion is everywhere, we have to face a reality of brokenness.

Joy in relationship and unselfish love are part of the nature of God, our Creator, and they define the image in which He created human people. But we look into a broken mirror. Our biggest need is revealed in the brokenness of sincere relationships (with God, with others and with ourselves). Pastoral and missionary leadership should aim at the ‘Face-to-Face’, which is nothing less than the translation of the great commandment: ‘Love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself’ in the often depressing reality of today. This is only possible when the love of Christ moves us. 

The theme will be introduced and developed in three short lectures. In a panel discussion we take further steps and explore what we may welcome as practical implications and fruits for the ministry of the church in the near future.

1 | God, man and the reality of joy
The Christian church confesses that God is Three-in-One. This deep theological notion has great implications for the way He deals with us, and the way we deal with one another. How can the reality of joy in God himself enter a world that suffers from brokenness in relationships?

2 | Dealing with the absence of God
Can there be real joy without God in this world? We suffer from the ‘absence of God’ in an abundant world, where happiness and satisfaction seem to be up for grabs. Still the absence of joy is widely observed in the secular press and in recent films. If the way the church manifests itself today appears to be insufficient, how shall the reality of God’s love and joy reach this generation?

3 | Implications for Christian ministry
Do we need new expressions of Christian ministry to make the Gospel clear in today’s context? Serving in Christ’s name and in Christ’s way cannot but break trough usual patterns: from concern to compassion, from calculation to improvisation… where can we find the places to experience the impact of the gospel and expect its fruits multiplied?

Berdine van den Toren- Lekkerkerker (Groningen) lived and worked nearly 9 years in the Central African Republic together with her husband Benno and their three children. She also lived and worked with her family another eight years in Vancouver and in Oxford and came back to the Netherlands in 2014. As a mission partner with the Church Missionary Society she travels around the world to support missionary training and theological education. Together with her husband she is also involved in local church pioneer work in Groningen. She holds a master in theology and prepares a PhD. (Lecture 1)

Maarten Vogelaar (Amsterdam) graduated in political sciences at the university of Amsterdam. He is working as a student worker and a missionary pioneer in the secular inner city context of Amsterdam. His life and work is focused on the question how we can speak meaningfully about God in the academic context where most images of (Christian) church and of faith seem to be completely irrelevant. Maarten is married to Bettina. They pioneer in establishing a working and living community in the inner city of Amsterdam. (Lecture 2)

Niek Tramper (Zeist, Delft) graduated in biology and theology. He is pastor in the Protestant Church of the Netherlands, the last six years in ICF-Delft. Before that he was pastor with a special commission for the missionary work and the unity of the churches in Europe and the Middle East. For many years he trained and educated students and young graduates in different parts of the world. He is married to Jenny, with five children and seven grandchildren. (Lecture 3)

Next to the speakers also Lazarus Gatimu will participate in the panel. Lazarus is staff member of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) – Netherlands. He studied theology in Kenia and the Netherlands. With his wife Josja he lives in Wageningen. He is also a member of the Council of ICF-Wageningen.

Friday, September 20th

14 hrs 15         Welcome, tea and coffee

14 hrs 45         Start symposium

17 hrs              Reception

18 hrs 30        Buffet


Bethlehemkerk, Floresstraat 2, 2612GK Delft, The Netherlands

Free parking around

Children’s care is provided.
Register here for the symposium

Farewell service

You are also warmly invited to attend the farewell service on Sunday 22 September Deo Volente in the Nieuwe Kerk at 12 hrs 30, in which pastor Niek will preach (no registration needed)

Sunday, September 22th

Welcome at 12:30

New Church

The large New Church on the city square.
Click here for directions.
Parking: P Centrum/Markt
Children’s care is provided.