February / March Ecumenical Events

Refugee crisis in Utrecht

The ongoing refugee crisis remains the most important news in the city. It has now become clear the temporary refugee centre in Kanaleneiland will close in May 2016. There are plans for two new refugee centres. Especially in Overvecht this news has caused some unrest and protest. Overvecht is a neighbourhood with considerable problems of its own, and there is a lot of fear in people. On one information night, the police were called to be present to ensure that protests would remain peaceful. The USRK is calling for prayer for a more civil dialogue between the city council and the residents. They are also contemplating how churches can make a difference in this heated debate.

Leading in this process is the Salvation Army in Utrecht, who has provided the much needed professional help to coordinate the volunteer initiatives. The Salvation Army asks for financial support to be able to continue this. This request has been brought to the different member churches via the USRK and Holy Trinity has made a contribution.

Boredom is one of the main problems in the group of refugees. The juridical process of the refugees can take months, and in the mean time they are not entitled or even allowed to start any official activities like courses, classes or volunteer work. In combination with past trauma, uncertainty about the future, and worry about family left at home, a lot of refugees suffer from anxiety and some need psychological help.

The activities that are offered to refugees are getting into shape. Huis van Vrede in Kanaleneiland, and the Triumfatorkerk have started open house activities. Classes in a lot of topics are offered by Dutch people and by the refugees themselves. There is need for more volunteers. They especially are looking for:

  • People giving workshops (Wed 11-13h)
  • Hosts during the open house (Mon 13-16h)
  • Knitting experts who want to teach knitting (Thurs 19.15-21.45h)
  • People who can give teach or help with language classes (several days and times)

If you want more information, let me know or get in contact with info@dputrecht.nl



Christian Study centre L’Abri

A small but very interesting study centre in Utrecht is L’Abri (French for shelter). It is an international organisation for Christian Studies. Their location in Eck and Wiel is used for study weekends or longer study programmes and has housing opportunities. They sometimes provide shelter for people who have nowhere else to go. Their location in Utrecht mainly offers lectures and movie nights. The movies are followed by a discussion. They provide an interesting programme the next few weeks

Activities February-March, Location Utrecht (Kromme Nieuwegracht 90)

February 2 Lecture: ‘Ambition or vanity?’

February 12 Movie night: ‘The Martian’

February 16 Lecture: ‘Hope and Sacrifice’

March 4 Movie night: ‘The 100-year old man who climbed out of the window’

March 8 Lecture: ‘Fear, hope and humiliation’

The language during these activities is usually Dutch but translation is provided, if you can let them know in advance you are coming. More information can be found on www.labri.nl