A life long wish has come true today: the accepted request for reunion of two of the largest Reformed churches in Swampyland by the Reformed Synod.
It has divided the previous generations for decades, my aunts and uncles, cousins and it has been a cause for arguments, quarrel and even anger between them in my childhood.
My grandmother, who experienced all this with great sadness was the sweetest person ever but she had one pain in her heart (except for the physical pain) and that was that her children, my aunts and uncles were divided by their denomination, they went to different churches. That being not too bad was their constant arguing about who was right, which church was the true church and following the Bible as the leading word of God as close as possible.
Now for people from outside Swampyland this might sound ridiculous but for people like my aunts and uncles, raised in a Calvinistic country like mine this was the most important question in their Christian lives. So let me try to explain this to you.
When the Reformed church divided into two separate churches in 1967 it divided families and caused immense anger between brothers and sisters, parents and their children and for years it remained a painful hurt between them. And in the years after they got married and had children, including me, who did not experience this Schism and had no idea why it was such a big issue for our parents.
Our parents, their brothers and sisters and their spouses used to meet at times in the Bungalow of my grandmother in the woods on Sundays. Initially this was a happy event, we always looked forward to it as children because of the laughter, the food and the feeling of togetherness. There was this great television set in the spare room where we, the children were put to watch Heidi, a popular animation series in those days and we had a good time.
But there were times when it was cold outside and the fire place was lit up too high and the Gin bottle was passed around one round too many that the arguments about politics changed from that subject to religion and that was when the mayhem started.
The sounds then grew louder from the living room and it happened a couple of times angry parents flung open the door of the ‘TV room’ and grabbed their children, my cousins and angrily sped off home. It happened to me and my brother and sisters as well.
And oh I can remember the utter disappointment of it all, the sadness of grownups in an argument that was not ours and shouldn’t have been theirs in the first place. Until today my heart still aches for the pain experienced in those days, it went deep. And that goes for our parents too, they too were at times heartbroken as a result of these quarrels.
In the past weeks a Reformed Synod took place and the ministers have made decisions with an impact never seen in my life. They decided that the differences that led to the Schism in 1967 were no longer there in the future. Women could be appointed to elders or deacons in church and a day later the decision was made they could also become pastors in Reformed churches.
Following these decisions the other Reformed church (Dutch Reformed Church in Swampyland) reached out and asked for a reunion with the Reformed Liberated church in Swampyland. And this is a historical change in both churches, just imagine the impact. No longer there is this division between brothers and sisters in churches, we can now go into the future hand in hand.
If only my grandmother -God rest her soul- could’ve lived to see this day.