For nearly a month, a church in the Netherlands has been holding services round the clock to protect against an Armenian refugee family from becoming entangled.
The couple and their three children fled Armenia after taking up political activism led to death threats against the father. The family of five have lived in the Netherlands for almost nine years.
As a judge allowed them asylum, the authorities succeeded in having the judgment overturned, according to Quartz. A program for a ‘children’s pardon’, in concept granted to refugees with children who have lived in the Netherlands for over five decades, was also refused.
Police in Holland are not permitted to enter places of worship during religious services, so the church has help worship continuously since October 25, relying on a rotation of ministers drafted in from other churches.
Theo Hettema, chairman of the General Council of Protestant Ministers, said the church wanted to ‘make space and time to dialogue with the government about a problem that. . .should not be faced by a church: picking between respect for the authorities and protecting the rights of a child’.
The church said: ‘We do what we always do: a church ceremony, but continuously – like the need to be supported is continuous. We do this to promote this family, to demonstrate that we are there as a church, that there is a God who doesn’t let anyone fall. Far-right anti-immigration moves have gained popularity in Holland.
The church has invited prayer ‘for us, for the Tamrazyan family, for the 400 children in the same situation’, as well as donations, food and participation in the continuing worship.