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Netherlands: “Taste the Church”, an ecumenical initiative. 403 communities joining in. The Catholic Bishops’ invitation

403 are the Dutch communities of 21 different Christian confessions that, on September 9th and 10th, will join in the “Taste the Church” campaign, taking place in the country for the very first time. The purpose is for the local community members to invite people they are close to (friends, family, colleagues, neighbours) “who have no familiarity with the Church to attend a celebration together and taste” what it means. The website www.kerkproeverij.nl provides ideas and materials and can track down the communities that in about ten days will host the celebrations, which for the occasion have been specifically designed to welcome in “new” people or people who have not been going to Church for a long time and make them “taste” an experience of the Church. There are also resources to prepare a celebration for children who never go to any ecclesial community. Catholic communities have joined the initiative too: the Bishops have repeatedly called the dioceses to join in, and the vicar of the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, mgr. Arjen Bultsma, has been appointed as the contact person for the Dutch parishes. A brochure, “Being Catholic today”, with key information about the life of the Church, will be handed out in the Catholic Churches to those people who take part in such ‘tasting’ event. The initiative is coordinated by the Dutch Council of the Churches. On Friday, September 1st, a party will be held in the church of St. Joriskerk in Amersfoort to mark the start of the initiative.

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