Giving time

Author: Lydia Penner

Mennonites in the Netherlands, like the Dutch in general, are very active people. They believe in taking responsibility for their own  lives and for the society they live in. 

Witnessing

There is hardly a profession or trade where Mennonites are not found. At their work-place they can get into discussions about their values. Their children usually go to ordinary public schools rather than to Christian schools because Mennonite parents prefer to teach their own brand of Christianity to their children. Often the only ones in the class with a church connection, these children are sometimes asked about their beliefs and what the church is about.

 

Birthdays

The Mennonite children are involved in sports, music and theatre, activities which support personal development. Yet many are also active in the Sunday school. There they work to raise money for projects at home and abroad. To contribute to an organization supplying birthday boxes to families with a limited income, the children in The Hague, a city on the west coast, prepared goodies to sell after a church service. In the Netherlands it is very important to celebrate your birthday, which includes, for children, offering a treat to classmates.  With these boxes, children in poor families can have a birthday celebration like everyone else.

 

Bicycling

Mennonites of all ages are fervent bicyclists, as the quickest and cheapest way to get around in a crowded country, for the exercise, and from environmental considerations. In Joure, a town in Friesland, young people organized a bicycle trip in the footsteps of Menno Simons, from Witmarsum, where he was born, to Bad Oldesloe, where he died, by which they raised money, through sponsors, for a facility for the handicapped in a nearby community.

 

Volunteers

Like Christians in other churches, parents, seniors and singles are very active in volunteer work, not only in the congregations, but also in the community they live in. For example, they are hosts or hostesses at museums; serve in committees for support of cultural activities; help out in hospitals and care homes by bringing patients to activities and looking after the flowers given them; spend time with people with few contacts; do shopping for the housebound in the neighborhood; help family and neighbors in need - you name it, they’re doing it. Some congregations, like Zaandam, Surhuisterveen, Rottevalle and Drachten, give support and hospitality to refugees in the country.

 

Witnessing

There is hardly a profession or trade where Mennonites are not found. At their work-place they can get into discussions about their values. Their children usually go to ordinary public schools rather than to Christian schools because Mennonite parents prefer to teach their own brand of Christianity to their children. Often the only ones in the class with a church connection, these children are sometimes asked about their beliefs and what the church is about.

 

Birthdays

The Mennonite children are involved in sports, music and theatre, activities which support personal development. Yet many are also active in the Sunday school. There they work to raise money for projects at home and abroad. To contribute to an organization supplying birthday boxes to families with a limited income, the children in The Hague, a city on the west coast, prepared goodies to sell after a church service. In the Netherlands it is very important to celebrate your birthday, which includes, for children, offering a treat to classmates.  With these boxes, children in poor families can have a birthday celebration like everyone else.

 

Bicycling

Mennonites of all ages are fervent bicyclists, as the quickest and cheapest way to get around in a crowded country, for the exercise, and from environmental considerations. In Joure, a town in Friesland, young people organized a bicycle trip in the footsteps of Menno Simons, from Witmarsum, where he was born, to Bad Oldesloe, where he died, by which they raised money, through sponsors, for a facility for the handicapped in a nearby community.

 

Volunteers

Like Christians in other churches, parents, seniors and singles are very active in volunteer work, not only in the congregations, but also in the community they live in. For example, they are hosts or hostesses at museums; serve in committees for support of cultural activities; help out in hospitals and care homes by bringing patients to activities and looking after the flowers given them; spend time with people with few contacts; do shopping for the housebound in the neighborhood; help family and neighbors in need - you name it, they’re doing it. Some congregations, like Zaandam, Surhuisterveen, Rottevalle and Drachten, give support and hospitality to refugees in the country.