Since the beginning of the national restrictions the Netherlands have chosen a less strict confinement with possibilities to go out for essential shopping, exercise, and to go to essential workplaces. The Dutch’ approach is essentially to control the virus as much as possible in order to protect vulnerable groups. If we manage this, we can move step by step towards having more freedom in a 1.5-metre society. In the statistics, the Netherlands rank pretty high in Covid-19 numbers, although exact numbers lack due to limited testing. Especially people in nursing homes have been contaminated and many have died. Hospitals have been a the limits of their ICU’s but so far they have managed to control it well.
At the start of the crisis, many churches were challenged by the question how to give expression to fellowship, mutual care and contact. Although churches were allowed to gather with up to max. 30 persons, meanwhile many have decided to continue online and explore new dimensions through Whatsapp, Zoom and other apps.
Although not ideal, this works generally pretty well. Some record the Sunday morning meeting ahead of time, other smaller churches have meetings with active participation of those signed up. During the week, prayer meetings work well through the internet. Although it is definitively not the same as meeting life, it may well give input for new paths in the future.
Christians (and also many non-Christians) have come up with creative initiatives to help people in their loneliness and with their needs. On this day, the tendencies to control the virus are positive and several areas, like primary schools and sport facilities, open up in restricted (1,5 distance) ways. Although from this week on, children and teenagers will have more room for participating in organized sports activities and play outdoors, the programs for the summer activities and youth camps are still uncertain. The national ban on events that require a permit has been extended to 1 September 2020. This touches on Christian festivals and concerts too.
- That the Lord grants wisdom to national and spiritual leaders
- That people may have open hearts to seek the Lord as many stable structures suddenly fall apart
- That Christians speak boldly about Christ and intercede as priests for a needy world
- That churches will react as living organisms to their changing environment without losing their witness
- That the Lord allows His people to give generously to the many Christian organizations that suffer income
- That the leaders of youth camps may find creative ways to reach out this summer
- That Christian radio and television may serve lonely believers in their needs and reach many unbelievers with the Gospel of hope.