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Celebrating the Lord’s Supper in the Netherlands

When:Fr 18-09-2020 10:30 - 12:00
Where:Nieuwe Kerk, Broederweg 34, Kampen

On September 18, 2020 from 10:30 am Jasper Bosman will defend his PhD thesis titled Celebrating the Lord’s Supper in the Netherlands: A Study of Liturgical Ritual Practice in Dutch Reformed Churches in the Nieuwe Kerk, Broederweg 34, Kampen. Due to measures with regard to COVID-19, the ceremony will be accessible by invitation only.

Little empirical research has been conducted to date on the Lord’s Supper in the Reformed tradition, and especially within the Dutch context. This study seeks to fill this void by describing and analyzing the performance, perception, and valuation of the Lord’s Supper within two Reformed denominations in the Netherlands from four different perspectives. These perspectives are derived from the Theology in Four Voices model, a research instrument developed by the Action Research: Church and Society (ARCS) project in the United Kingdom.

The goal of this inquiry is to promote a better understanding of what happens in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper from an empirical perspective. It also serves to bolster the valuation of concrete liturgical ritual practice both within and outside the Dutch Reformed context by offering tools enabling local churches to assess and foster their own celebration of the sacrament from a fourfold perspective.

The present study describes the following four voices: Operant Voice (how the Lord’s Supper is performed), Espoused Voice (how congregants respond to the Lord’s Supper), Formal Voice (how ministers and other theologians respond to the Lord’s Supper), and Normative Voice (what official church documents regulate in connection with the Lord’s Supper). Each “voice” is fully theological and represents one possible perspective on the same reality. Following the description of these four perspectives, a “conversation” between them is constructed, in order to describe and analyze the similarities and differences between them. A final, separate chapter then formulates lessons that can be learned from this “conversation.”

Jasper Bosman is currently working as a pastor in a Reformed church in the city of Hilversum, the Netherlands. His thesis is published in the series Netherlands Studies in Ritual and Liturgy (NSRL). For book orders, please contact crh

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