Pink Church service in Amsterdam a success

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During Sunday's special 'pink' church service, Pastor Hantie Kotzé said: "We keep hearing persistent sounds of homophobia, even in our own city".

The service was the closing event of the annual Gay Pride celebrations in Amsterdam. The service, which included song, prayer and speeches, drew hundreds of churhgoers, young and old, most of them dressed in pink.

,,Yesterday on a boat, today in a church", said pastor Abeltje Hoogenkamp of the Amsterdam Protestant Church. "We give thanks for Gay Pride. For the dance, the conversation, the feast and for freedom."

De Keizersgracht Church on the Amsterdam ring of canals was packed. The hundreds of churchgoers could not all find seats in the church hall, some had to attend the festive service on the balcony.

Singers Izaline Calister, Leoni Jansen, TV host Arie Boomsma, columnist Stephan Sanders en composer-pianist Onno Krijn all participated in the service, which also featured interpreters for the deaf.

In his speech Practical Theology Professor Ruard Ganzevoort refered to the first Gay Pride in 1970 and to countries where homosexuality is still a major taboo. "Paraside is fun, you know, here in Amsterdam. However, it's still impossible in the rest of the world." He also said that in particular in churches homosexuals were often forced to belie their nature.

After the service, people who felt the need could avail themselves of the spiritual services of one of six ministers who were present in the church.

A delegation of the Amsterdam Protestant Church also took part in the annual Gay Pride boat parade on the Amsterdam canals on Saturday.




© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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