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Netherlands: “Taste the Church”, a missionary initiative of the Dutch parishes

The Dutch parishes are called to join “Taste the Church”, an initiative to motivate and encourage the community members to invite their family, friends and neighbours to go back to Church again and attend a celebration, specially designed for the occasion. The initiative will take place on September 9th and 10th, 2017. “The Dutch Bishops Conference hopes many people may be given a chance to renew their acquaintance with the Church and with faith”. The pioneer of this practice is the British “Back to Church”, launched in 2004 by the Anglican Michael Harvey. “We Western believers often do not invite and are not missionaries, because we fear a negative answer, we fear rejection, which in fact does not mean ‘never’ but rather ‘not yet’. And then what’s the harm in being said no again?”, Harvey said at a preparatory workshop in Holland. The experience shows that about 15% of the people who accepted the invitation start to go to Church, and this gives communities favourable momentum and the wish to make celebrations always livelier and more welcoming. “Taste the Church” has been launched by the Dutch Council of Churches. There is a website available (www.kerkproeverij.nl) to register and download useful materials. The contact for the Catholic Church is the vicar of the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, don Arjen Bultsma, who is working at a leaflet to be handed out to the guests on September 10th with all the key information about the Catholic Church.

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