Dutch church holds non-stop worship marathon to protect migrant family at risk of deportation

Twitter @Hayarpi_3

A church in the Netherlands has hosted a continuous worship service for the last five weeks to protect a migrant family from being deported.

Bethel Church in The Hague has been cycling out different religious leaders to utilize a Dutch law that prevents immigration authorities from entering a place of worship while religious services are being held, The New York Times reported Thursday.

{mosads}The initial service began at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 and has been going round-the-clock ever since.

Axel Wicke, Bethel’s pastor, said that more than 450 different priests, pastors, deacons and elders of every denomination have traveled from around the country to host a service.

“Even from abroad we’ve gotten help — there have been sermons held in English, French and German,” he told The Times. “It’s quite moving to us. I often see a pastor handing over the service to another pastor of another denomination who they would ordinarily not have anything to do with, liturgically.”

The filibuster-style church service is meant to protect the Tamrazyans, an Armenian family who fled after receiving death threats over the father’s political activism.

The family — including two parents and their three children, ages 21, 19 and 14 — were denied asylum after spending almost nine years in the Netherlands and are at risk of deportation.

They have been living in a apartment in Bethel Church.

Their daughter Hayarpi, the oldest child, and visiting religious leaders have been documenting their experiences on Twitter.

Tags Deportation Immigration migrant families Netherlands The Hague The Hague

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