Eleven or twelve years ago the first ‘Open Day’ was organized on the grounds around the office of the Dutch Adventist Church. I have been a regular visitor of this event and hope that this event, that I helped to initiate, will long continue.
Perhaps the time has come, however, for a thorough evaluation to determine whether the present format needs to be adjusted. I leave that to the current church administrators. And, speaking about evaluation, I am not thinking about the abominable weather last Sunday during Open Day 2016. The influence of the Dutch union leaders on the weather is presumably rather limited. However, I have the impression that the annual event has gradually been somewhat hijacked by individuals and persons who (I think) do not really represent middle-of-the-road Adventism. I am thinking, in particular, of the stalls with publications from the right fringe of the church. I would not plead for refusing access to these independent organizations, but I do hope that a better balance can be established by having more stalls that present and support the activities of the broader church and the union organization.
I applaud the presence of the Stanborough Press. However, it puzzles me why the people of the SP have no clear signs as to where they are hiding and do not make a better effort to also offer the newest Adventist English language publications. Unfortunately, there was (once again) nothing there for me and this was a complaint of quite a few others as well.
When entering the grounds I was asked to contribute two euros as a parking fee. I was told that the upkeep of the estate does cost a lot of money. I must admit this irritated me greatly. Paying two euro is not really a problem for me, but it was strangely at odds with the large ‘welcome’ banner that greeted me. Is it really a good idea to make people who, on the average, perhaps give a thousands euros to their church, pay for parking at such an event?
As in previous years Kinship (a worldwide organization serving Adventist homosexuals) was present with a stall. I hope their presence will also be a continuing tradition. It is important that church members are informed about the ramifications of have a different sexual orientation. But it would seem to me that the Kinship stall could be quite a bit more exciting and attractive!
It is not only funny but also quite meaningful that the stall of the Kinship representatives and that of the Dutch Ellen White Foundation were neighbors and stood side by side. In many countries that might not be possible. It is good to see that at the Dutch ‘Open Day’ this is no real problem. Perhaps this is the most convincing argument for a generous policy for participation in this event. I am very much in favor of welcoming Kinship. But no doubt others feel differently and feel more affinity with the stalls with a conservative flavor. I understand that, allowing Kinship to participate would also suggest that people at the other end of the denominational spectrum should be welcome. Last Sunday I had to remind myself of as I was moving from stall to stall. When all is said and done: the Dutch ‘Open Day; is a good object lesson in tolerance for diversity.