Why does Night of the Churches, a religious event in the Netherlands, draw both the religious and non-religious into attendance?


Bonding During the Night of the Churches Converging and Differing Experiences of Churchgoers and Non-Churchgoers

Abstract

How should we understand the paradoxical phenomenon that people are showing substantial interest in new events organized by the church in a western-European society that is characterized by dwindling church attendance? An explorative questionnaire chose to attend the so-called Night of the Churches in the Netherlands. The majority of the respondents indicated that they experience the Night of the Churches to be a qualitatively different phenomenon from other festivals (e.g., museum night or music festival). Our data suggest that for both churchgoers and non-churchgoers shared bonding experiences (e.g., a special feeling of connectedness, contact with a higher spirit, together with unknown people) are what makes a Night of the Churches unique. Additionally, the results reveal that this event hardly changed respondents' image of the church and that more churchgoers (22%) than non-churchgoers (13%) were interested in new forms of being church. Again, shared bonding experiences make the difference when it comes to being open to new wyas of being church.

 

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Citation

de Boer, E. M., & de Roest, H. (2016). Bonding during the night of the churches converging and differing experiences of churchgoers and non-churchgoers. Archive For The Psychology Of Religion-Archiv Fur Religionspsychologie38(1), 47-71.

Photo by K.J. Messick