Dutch church members find church important against loneliness during times of crisis


Western Europe


Photo André Dorst

The church plays an important role for people of faith in times of crisis. Especially in combating loneliness and caring for refugees, the church has an important task, church members feel.

This is according to a survey conducted at the start of the annual Actie Kerkbalans (Action Church Balance), a fundraising campaign through which Catholic and Protestant churches provide for their income. In the Netherlands, churches receive no subsidy and depend largely on gifts and donations. 4499 people took part in the survey. In the Netherlands, 20 per cent of the population belongs to the Catholic Church, and 15 per cent is Protestant.

The church should take action to combat loneliness among church members and others; 88 per cent of those surveyed believe. Three-quarters also expect action from the church in the refugee crisis, and 68 per cent want the church to play an active role in the poverty and energy crises. Many of those surveyed are themselves affected by one or more crises. Despite this, 94 per cent are still willing to support the church financially. The survey shows that more than a quarter of those who never attend church also want to donate.

The church is considered a pillar of support in times of crisis by 62 per cent of loyal churchgoers, coming immediately after family and friends. Of those who do not go to church, 14 per cent knock on a church's door for support. For this group, too, the church comes immediately after family and friends.

Van den Hende. Photo ANP, Robert Vos

Rotterdam Bishop J. van den Hende, president of the Dutch bishops' conference, said the survey makes it clear "that the church is also associated with moments of crisis". In times of crisis, the key for the church is to "proclaim the love of God and establish a connection in communities".



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