January 6th, 2013

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Sunday January 6th. Soest

Sunday, January 6th, 2013
I just got back from walking Blanda. It has not rained yet, all day. And the sun came through briefly. It has rained practically every day in the last six weeks. I took Arthur and Marjan to Schiphol for their early flight to South Africa and had enough time to get back here, take the dog for her morning walk and make it to 10 a.m. mass. I also stopped at the boat to make sure it was still afloat. I have thoroughly confused the poor animal. She has her set routine for the trails she is walked three times a day. And without GPS I am a lousy navigator. But she is very patient with me, she just shakes her head. The back fence of the home opens on a forest with trails through Pine and hardwood forest and patches of sand dunes and heather fields.

The traditional seating arrangement in the 1853 built Saint Peter and Paul church has been adjusted to the shrinking needs of the Dutch to celebrate their faith in a church on Sundays. And yet the seating capacity for today’s service could have been reduced by another 90% to accomodate the 50 odd parishoners. For a while I was wondering if I were in fact in a R.C. church. There was a woman pastor, no altar servers, the Our Father was said in the way the Protestant recite this prayer. But it turned out to make little difference. God was here and I was blessed. The Protestant churches will be closing another 200 churches this year in Holland. They should have built them in timber frame instead of brick then they could export them to Africa and Asia or store them for when they need God again. But there are still pockets of promise. I saw a filled bicycle rack and well filled parking lot when passing the Protestant “Oude Kerk” in Soest.

Last Sunday’s bulletin of the Saint Henricus church listed the amounts of the two collections taken at the previous Sunday as each about € 53 or a total of about $ 140… It is tough to heat a church on that kind of weekly income. It is rare to see anything but coins on the European collection plates.