Fewer visitors in Sunday services, not every church adheres to advice

An estimated 150 visitors visited the service this morning in the Village Church of the Restored Reformed Church (HHK) in Staphorst. Last Sunday the church was compromised when it turned out that 600 people were admitted per shift and there was a lot of singing. The church offers space for 2300 churchgoers.

Today, church goers were asked at the start of the service to keep a sufficient distance and some people wore a mouthcap, writes news agency ANP. The church still does not comply with the maximum number of thirty people that Minister Grapperhaus has agreed with the ecclesiastical domes. The minister already stressed that these rules are not enforceable because the government cannot enter church buildings.

Although everyone adhered to the rules last Sunday according to the minister, there was a lot of criticism and the national office of the Restored Reformed Church, in consultation with Minister Grapperhaus, drew up an opinion for the affiliated churches. It states that substantially fewer visitors are admitted, a mouthcap is worn when entering and going out, and that fewer psalms are sung.

‘No careless policy’

Reverend Van Marle van de HHK writes in a letter sent in the Stentor to understand the fuss and that this fuss does not have to do with โ€œcareless policies of the church or the high numbers of churchgoers, but with the fact that many people no longer have the relevance and importance of the churchโ€.

According to Van Marle, for the confession of faith, it is necessary to gather in the church to pray. โ€œIt is precisely this intrusion for wisdom, support and outcome that is so desperately needed at this time.โ€

The church in Staphorst is not the only community of faith struggling with the new rules of Coronare. In Urk, a lot of people went to church this morning. According to a reporter from the Stentor, hundreds of people gathered in the Old Reformed Municipality.

The municipality of Urk decided this week, after consultation with the local churches, that the churches themselves should make a sensible choice. This is also the policy of other municipalities, such as Barneveld and Neder-Betuwe. They advise churches to adhere to the advice of the government, but place the responsibility with the institutions themselves.

Spacious enough

The Reformed Municipality Centre Barneveld today allows up to 450 people in each of the three services. โ€œBut we stick to the rules,โ€ says spokesman Hans van der Velde to Omroep Gelderland: โ€œThe organ plays softer and we sing subdued.โ€

Only families sit together and people keep their distance from each other. Moreover, the building is large enough, says Van der Velde. โ€œIt‘s not like we don’t take the virus seriously. There are health checks and we employ safety personnel.โ€

The Christian Reformed Church Barendrecht lets 250 members in per shift, lets the church know on its website. In addition to caution, there may also be โ€œtrust in Godโ€, writes the Church Council, which, incidentally, takes additional security measures.

Yet most ecclesiastical communities seem to adhere to the advice, such as the Petra Church in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht and the St. Vitus Church in Hilversum. Only the people needed to keep the church service online are allowed in. Interested parties can then follow the service online. In addition to worship services, solutions are sought, such as small-scale weekday meetings.