Thursday, 4 June 2009

Understanding of Dutch Culture/Religion; Sunday 31 May

The team of 7 trainees left the guesthouse at about 9:00 am and travelled to Amersfoort and participated in an Ecumenical Church (Het Brandpunt). Het Brandpunt faith community church is made up of believers of Catholic and Protestant background, who have decided to come together to worship as one church 15 years ago; and so were also celebrating their 15th Anniversary this same Sunday. The Worship was conducted by two female Pastors Josephine van Pampus (Catholic) and Anette Sprotte (Protestant).

During the service a member of the church was confirmed. This appeared a bit special as the lady was called in front to give an explanation of her confirmation before the Pastors led her through “Questions of Faith to Christ”. The Pastor earlier acknowledged the presence of ICCO guests during her sermon. Also in the course of the service, the Pastors also undertook the commissioning and blessings of 11 Volunteers with special functions/tasks in the church. The church service ended a little after an hour and the congregation participated in coffee/tea and snacks session before retiring home. During this time the 7 ICCO guests were introduced to their host families and were taken home till 6 pm and we all met again at the church premises to be conveyed back to our Guesthouse.

On arrival to the Guesthouse a short evaluation/feedback session was held.
Question: What one word impression do you have from this visit?
Excellent, beautiful, hospitable, loving and caring, spontaneous, integration etc..

Question: What made you say this?

How 2 different denominations found a way to come together. How the find common values that unite them whereas others go separate ways. We experienced what holds people as human beings whatever their religion or beliefs… My host family asked me a lot of questions and I also asked them a lot.. . we shared… we exchanged a lot of this about our families… , our lives….

Question: Any questions from you?

Yes, how 2 denominations come together?Answer from a host: May be it’s money? Ideology? Money because it is easier for us to come together to build our own church as each denomination has to find its own money… but we are having problem sticking together for over 15 years… each denomination wants his way… but we are still going on so far…

Question: What other things did you find special?

  • The church service, as a Hindu I have never participated in the a Christian service, I only observe at distance.. as a tourist.. but today I participated fully, I like the prayers and the songs sound sweet… something I can’t forget… I enjoy the prayers..
  • It is special women conducting prayers/service…. this not common in India for women…
  • No young people, youth in the church… only parents and younger children…
  • This seems the case in every religion… all over the world… the youth wants to do things different from their parents…yes, it’s difficult my children only attend on special days… they don’t like to participate in church..
  • Some youth come back later… I myself did not like church when I was young, but after my mother died I like to go back to where she took me to… may be back to the community in church/
  • I like the simplicity of things, especially the church room compared to others.. big catholic buildings… only the cross is in the church ok… not many other symbols.. distractions.. better.

Question: What about the host families?

  • What I like about my host family is they all show interest. They live at different places but they tried to meet on Sunday for church..
  • I like the division of work in the family, the husband help cook and clean- the gender part - not so in my culture… men don’t like to do certain work.. but it’s changing… better than in my mother’s generation.. I will train my son to even do better in his generation…
  • The children (9yrs, 14yrs) in my family were nice but we could not communicate much as they don’t speak much English… so I could not talk much about my children with them… but I see they are interested… I see the children are the same in many ways as from my country.. although the environment are different…
  • I visited a village school, I was very impressed . Village life not the same and very difficult in India… I shared about socio-economic life in India, my host were very surprised as they did not know a lot about India…
  • I see loving relationship between the wife and husband.. although they are now 56 and 60 years respectively.Any other questions?
  • Oh it’s appreciative to be with a Dutch family..
  • My family was wonderful.. they tried to speak Spanish also with me..
  • Being with a family is wonderful thing… one can travel as tourist to any country but it’s difficult to be with a family. Being with a family is the best way to experience the culture..

Question: What can you say is typically Dutch?

Bread and cheese, lot of bikes, dropjes everywhere, even in car.. they like nice and simple things.. they don’t show off.. they are open..

Close at 8.30 pm.
By: Prosper Sapathy

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