In a country where churches are shrinking, the Dutch Reformed Church has maintained its number of members since 2014.
That’s when fraternal delegate Peter Sinia last reported to the Christian Reformed Church on behalf of his denomination, known in Dutch as the Nederlands Gereformeerde Kerken.
“Being stable sounds boring,” said Sinia. “For us its exciting in a country where lots of people are leaving the church.”
Not only are the numbers stable, the Dutch Reformed Church is active, Synod 2017 heard. Congregations are working with refugees from the Middle East, teaching them Dutch and helping them establish themselves. The denomination is seeking to reunite with a sister church it split from in the 1950s, and it has growing ties with congregations in Hungary.
“Maybe because the church is in decline, we realize that we need each other,” said Sinia.
The Dutch Reformed Church’s synod recently ruled against allowing same-sex couples to serve in the church—but some congregations disregarded the ruling, a matter that is still in process, Sinia said.
People in the Netherlands watch American politics very closely, Sinia said. “Our health and survival in the Netherlands, the lowlands, people who live behind the dikes, depends on other people’s decisions,” he said, referring to environmental policies about rising sea levels.
“All this I report as a servant of the Good Shepherd, who counts his sheep, but also guides us in issues of morality,” Sinia concluded. “May the Lord bless you.”
Synod 2017 is meeting at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., from June 9-15. For continuous coverage, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases and the webcast, please visit crcna.org. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.