It’s a modern day, spiritual filibuster. A benevolent buying of time through a community of faith coming together to protect a refugee family, by utilizing unique legal rights of their own.
The Tamrazyan family fled Armenia nine years ago and settled in the Netherlands as asylees, escaping political death threats. However, after the government recently overturned the decision by appeal, every day the family of five face the risk of deportation and child separation.
But Bethel Church in The Hague has been doing everything it can to protect the family for over six weeks now, including housing them at the church itself as a safe space where police authorities cannot reach them. That’s because Bethel is using a Dutch law which prohibits authorities to enter a place of worship as services are active.
— Hayarpi (@hayarpi_3) November 3, 2018
While there are mixed perspectives regarding the complexities of the various legalities involved on each side, one thing is for certain, The Tamrazyan family is shocked and overwhelmed by the love they have been receiving from the global church.
— Hayarpi (@hayarpi_3) November 13, 2018
And yes, it’s global because it is not just Dutch locals holding the services. These 24-hour worship sessions take true dedication. Since October 28, every hour in the church has been filled with sermons, worship leading sessions and new choirs and bands. To ensure the services never stop, leaders are constantly planning what’s next.
It’s not by expelling people, expelling children. We are trying to prove that it can be different.
When asked why they were doing this, Bethel Pastor Derk Stegmen emphasized that it was just as much for the family, as it was for them.
“We are doing it to show to ourselves and to our community, to our government, that civilization and love in life, it’s not by expelling people, expelling children. We are trying to prove that it can be different.”
With more than 400 pastors joining the posture of solidarity through time and resources, it’s safe to say that this uncommon effort of love and protection is, indeed, different.