A refugee family from Armenia are narrowly avoiding deportation from the Netherlands, thanks to a church that has been holding non-stop services since midday on 26 October, 2018.
Bethel Church, which is located in The Hague, is taking advantage of Dutch law that specifies that authorities cannot enter a church while it is holding worship.
This means that as long as Bethel continues to hold worship services on their current marathon schedule, the family—the Tamrazyans—will be safe.
The Tamrazyans had fled to the Netherlands to avoid further politically-charged death threats that the father had received in Armenia, and have lived in the Netherlands for nine years.
Attempts at claiming further asylum in the country, including an emergency pardon, have been unsuccessful thus far. The family requested help from nearby churches, and the Protestant-aligned Bethel Church was the first to offer protection.
Reverend Axel Wicke told Time Magazine that Bethel has received “massive support,” and says that the Tamrazyans are “literally living in a protective house built by prayers and worship.”
“The Protestant Church of The Hague respects court orders,” the Bethel website says, “but finds itself confronted with a dilemma: the choice between respecting the government and ptotecting the rights of a child.”
As of now, the church is requesting that visitors stop by the church—at least two people must be worshipping in order for the church to be considered ‘in worship’—and has their banking information listed here for donations.