Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stirring the Juices of Sentimentality

I hope that nobody thinks I'm a monster for so openly sharing my (somewhat challenging)emotions surrounding our church's departure from The Zolder. It's a complicated situation, with many different angles to consider (and I write, in part, because it helps me to process). At any rate, we're basically packed up now -- much further ahead of schedule than what we anticipated -- and we're ready for the big moving day tomorrow. And as I was packing up boxes today, I started to think more about the beautiful things, the fun things, the powerful things about the Zolder that I will miss... as will many others, I'm sure. Then after getting home from working at the Zolder and relaxing by checking some blogs, I noticed a beautiful tribute by Todd that further stirred some more juices of sentimentality. Thus, I offer the following yang to the yin of last Saturday's post -- my list of things that I will miss about the Zolder:

  • The photogenic light of the "Orange Room." I've mentioned it previously on this blog, but there was just something about photographs taken in the orange-reflected hues of the Zolder Lounge that seemed to make anything and anyone appear instantly and effortlessly vintage, classic, poignant. In our last weekend in the Zolder, we watched a slide-show of compiled Zolder images from the last four years, and I was struck by the naturally photogenic quality of images captured in that room. I don't know exactly what it was -- but these images will likely remain embedded in my mind forever...
  • The view of the Bosboom Toussaintstraat from the northwest corner of the Zolder. This is the view that I wrote about a year-and-a-half ago, and that I reposted a week-and-a-half ago to start off this series about leaving the Zolder. I used to love to sit in this window during our church's monthly Soul Gatherings, and every time I sat there I was reminded of God's call on my life. This will also be the window through which many of our church's belongings will be hoisted out and down to streetlevel tomorrow, by way of a rope and pulley hung from the gable...
  • The passing canal tour-boats. I often took it for granted that our ministry location was in such a scenic part of Amsterdam that it warranted a spot on many of the canal tours that wound their way through the city center; we truly had a beautiful location overlooking the Singelgracht. I still hope that our next place will be someplace scenic and beautiful in its own way (we stand a good shot at this, as we're pretty seriously committed to staying in the city center) -- but of course, it will never be the same as the Zolder...
  • The beautiful oak flooring. Unfortunately, we will not be able to take the wood floors with us, as we had originally been hoping (there's kind of a long story behind this). But the floors in the Zolder were no ordinary floors. They were paid for with a king's ransom, laid by volunteers from our original church planting team, oiled to glistening perfection by yours truly -- and they did a great job of emanating a sense of earthy warmth and gezelligheid that became the hallmark for our church community...
  • Being a stone's throw away from Cafe Toussaint. Fortunately, ending our lease on the Zolder does not preclude us from visiting the Cafe Toussaint, on the Bosboom Toussaintstraat -- but it will be sad to no longer have this lovely cafe just a couple hundred meters from our ministry space. Yes, beautiful brown cafes are a dime a dozen in central Amsterdam, but this one was something special to us...
  • Serving as a roadside inn for world travelers. The Zolder (and its associated apartments) served as temporary home for a wide spectrum of different people: homeless Amsterdammers, itinerant Canadians, businessmen from the United States, a vast horde of Ukrainian Christians, and other assorted characters. Although the lodging thing brought its own set of complications, it was cool that we could so practically offer Christian hospitality to such a wide range of people passing through our city...
  • Lost tourists, asking for directions by the bicycle rack. Actually, who am I kidding? This will probably happen anywhere in Amsterdam, regardless of the bicycle rack in question. But there always seemed to be a steady stream of confused travelers studying a map beside the bicycle rack at the corner of the Leidsekade and the Koekjesbrug, and I enjoyed pretending to be a resident tour guide...
  • Exquisitely carved handrails. The wooden, twisting, curlicued handrails in stairways of the Zolder were a work of art, possibly dating back more than 100 years. Thousands of hands have held those rails on the epic trek up the 55 stairs from street level to the Zolder...
  • The fireplace mosaic. We had three special mosaics in the Zolder, which were all specially designed and implemented by visiting mission teams from American churches; two of them (the sunburst from the cafe's bar and the four images of Christ guarding the top of the stairs) we're going to try and take with us to retro-fit into a new surrounding -- but unfortunately, we can't take the fireplace one with us...
  • Leidsekade, number 50. Our church owes its name (and a significant portion of its identity) to the attic (zolder) space located at Leidsekade 50. And even though we chose to identify ourselves by the number 50 for symbolic reasons as well as practical reasons, it still won't be quite as logical (or easy to explain) to invite people to visit "Kelder50" at the Herengracht 88 (or whatever name and address that we will end up with)...
  • Using the Rijksmuseum as a timepiece. I really did come to enjoy my commute from my home in Amsterdam Oost to the ministry facilities on the Leidsekade -- and in particular, I loved to pass by the magnificent Rijksmuseum. I would always glance at the clock on the museum's southeast tower to make sure that I would make it on-time to whatever meeting or event I might be headed toward. If I had five minutes or more left according to the Rijksmuseum's clock, I would arrive in plenty of time. If I had three or four minutes, I needed to pedal pretty hard in order to get there on-time. And if I had less than three minutes, I was going to be late! How cool is it that I could use a world-famous monument in such a practical way...
  • A live-in relationship with Gread & Partners. It was great to share an office with our good friends from Gread & Partners financial controllers; Theo, Steef, and Jurren were always available for advice or for gezellige conversation. We really had a special relationship with those guys that we're definitely going to miss (although we'll certainly still get to see them in other contexts such as church activities)...
  • Creative use of space. There's no way of getting around it -- the Zolder was a very unique building with a certain built-in architectural intrigue that cannot be easily replicated. The set-up of the old building forced us to be creative in our ministry activities; ideas such as "freestyle teaching" and "worship in the round" were basically inventions borne out of necessity -- but they've become a special part of our unique church culture. Hopefully, we'll be able to carry on this creativity regardless of our specific setting, but there was definitely something special about the Zolder itself...
  • Memorable nights of passionate worship. Of course, we plan on continuing with regular episodes of intense worship in whatever location(s) we may occupy in the future, but there's something to be said for the fact that many of my most memorable worship experiences to date have taken place in the Zolder...

So there you have it! Quite evidently, the Zolder has been a gift from God. Even so, in generating this list I was actually (pleasantly) surprised by the number of items that I thought of but which decided to omit because of the fact that we should more or less be able to recreate the same situations in any other environments which we eventually occupy! Things like deep conversations and dynamic prayer times and parties are actually quite transferable and non-geographically-specific. Even some of the items that I put in the list above may be easily re-created in other environments. Regardless, we will always remember the Zolder.

2 Comments:

At 7:05 AM, Blogger EP said...

I've enjoyed all your memorable commentary of recent.

Thanks!

So, what happened at your meeting last week. Do you have a space or is that still in limbo?

I haven't heard any updates on that from anyone since the prayer request I received last week.

I'd love to know how I can be praying.

Liefs,

EP

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger Eric Asp said...

Still in limbo. We're supposed to hear back from the fire marshall by or before the 2nd of October -- and then it will be up to the owner (of the potential new place) to decide if he wants to make the necessary renovations to get everything up to code. I'm still pretty optimistic, as both the fire marshall and owner have made comments that seem like there are definite possibilities for making things work -- but there is still nothing concrete for the future.

In the meantime, we're enacting a plan for temporary relocation -- putting our stuff in a storage facility and meeting for Sunday worship in borrowed space (a YWAM building, "De Poort"). Hopefully, it won't be too long that we're stuck in this "in between" phase, but we'll just have to wait and see.

While you're praying, you can also be interceding for us in terms of the legal and financial details of finishing off our exodus from the Zolder. There are still some complicated issues to be negotiated, and we could use all the prayer support we can get. Thanks.

 

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