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Court disagrees with Hervormde dissenters’ legal claims

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LUNTEREN – The legal wrangling over the rightful ownership of buildings, real estate and especially the name Nederlands Hervormde Kerk (Netherlands Reformed Church) deemed important for succession status may have ended with the court’s ruling in favour of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. A group of dissenting churches had decided against the 2004 merger of the NHK with the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (Reformed Churches in the Netherlands) and a small Lutheran denomination. The group, reconstituted as the Hersteld Hervormde Kerk, sees itself as the legal and spiritual continuation of the NHK, which has its roots in the sixteenth-century Reformation. Based on NHK’s constitution, kerkenorde, the court ruled that the synodical decision to merge was binding on all congregations. Meanwhile, the Protestant synod is honouring the NHK’s pre-merger decision to care for the dissenters so they can continue their separate ministries by dividing local property assets case by case. Nearly half of the approximately sixty-five cases have been settled, ranging from outright asset transfers to cash settlements, depending on the extent of local dissention. If the dissenting local congregations take their synod officer’s advice, they will drop any further legal action.