Quick to Listen/Episode 146 |49min

How This Dutch Congregation Pulled Off a 96-Day Service

A deeper look at how hundreds of Christians from across the Netherlands came together to worship God and protect an immigrant family from deportation.
How This Dutch Congregation Pulled Off a 96-Day Service
Image: Koen Van Weel / AFP / Getty Images

For nearly 100 days, more than 500 Dutch pastors—as well as some from across the continent and the Atlantic—across denominations gathered in Bethel Church for a continuous worship service. Why? To protect a refugee family from deportation.

From CT’s report:

The Dutch government is generally prohibited from interrupting religious services, so the Protestant congregation kept extending their gathering during the debate over family asylum or kinderpardon.

[Last week,] officials agreed to allow the Armenian family at Bethel—along with 700 others who have lived in the country for more than a decade—to have their cases reviewed again rather than face immediate expulsion.

Christian leader Axel Wicke was closely involved with the planning and execution of the hundreds of hours–long service. Some of Wicke’s elderly church attendees told him that they stopped by the service in the middle of the night when they woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.

“I’m now quite familiar with who of my parish members are night people,” he said.

Wicke found the experience transformative for his own spiritual life but also said it offered a profound picture of Christianity for people with little knowledge of the religion.

“The reason why we did this was quite sad or depressing … but it was also a really big gift to this parish and to the church in the Hague,” said Wicke. “I still get messages along the line, ‘Finally, I know why there is a church.’ It was a very fundamental way of recognizing, ‘That’s what the church is for.’”

Wicked joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the past couple months changed his views on prayer, how to figure out the logistics of a continuous 24/7 church service, and what type of impact this might have on the Christian community in the Netherlands long-term.

This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Kinship United, a non-profit organization rescuing widows and orphans around the world from trafficking, slavery, and death for the past 19 years. To learn more about how you can rescue an orphan or widow visist KinshipUnited.org today.

This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Libromania, a podcast for book-lovers from the Close Reads Podcast Network. Through conversations with contemporary novelists, poets and biographers, as well as collectors, designers, and others, Libromania is for the person who believes that good books are an essential part of the good life. For more information go to c losereadspods.com or subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you dial up your favorite podcasts.

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Music by Sweeps

Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee, Richard Clark, and Cray Allred

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