Kerkasiel: a
customary law in the Netherlands giving a congregation the right to receive
refugees during a religious service within their building.   

A month ago a CMC member emailed me a
story about a congregation in The Haag
, Netherlands.  Like us, they are hosting a person – or in
their case a whole family – their government is trying to deport.  While we in the US have the “sensitive
locations” policy that instructs ICE officers not to enter church buildings,
the Netherlands has a law that government officials cannot enter a church
building during religious services.  So,
since October, this congregation has been holding an around-the-clock service.  A kind of holy filibuster.  Faith leaders from around the Netherlands are
signing up to lead different shifts, including the likely-not-so-well-attended
3am and 4am times slots. 

Thanks to the generous offer of this member to donate frequent flier miles, Austin McCabe Juhnke (our CMC Sanctuary point person) and I will be flying to the Netherlands after CMC worship this Sunday to participate in the vigil.  I have been in touch with the coordinator and we have been slotted to lead three hours Monday evening, January 21st, which is MLK Jr. Day in the US. 

Along with the Sanctuary connection, this church in The Haag
is only a couple hours drive from where Menno Simons (the guy who put the Menno
in Mennonite) lived and ministered.  So
the trip will double as a mini pilgrimage. 
Because I mentioned to the coordinator we were Mennonites, she passed
along our contact info to a local Mennonite pastor with whom I have since had several
exchanges, including a Skype video chat. 
She has taken the initiative to arrange housing for us and two day trips
– to Friesland (Menno’s stomping grounds) and Amsterdam.  Her congregation will host us for a potluck
that Tuesday.  We’ll be flying back to
the US on Thursday.

It will be an honor to represent CMC as we join in
solidarity with others doing similar work in another part of the world, and
make connections in another corner of the Mennonite world – the original Menno
hub.  We hope to take pictures and some video
and I’ll certainly blog about it.      


P.S. If you’re driving to the church on Oakland Park Ave
from the east you may notice a For Sale sign in our yard.  We are indeed moving, but gladly remaining in
Columbus and at CMC.  The flight to the
Netherlands is merely a coincidence :-O