'Every Dutch person knows someone who died in the crash'. MH17 victims remembered.
London's historic Dutch Church is to hold a special memorial service on Sunday to mourn the 193 Dutch people who died in the plane crash in the Ukraine.
The Protestant church, founded by Royal Charter in 1550 at Austin Friars in the City of London, will also hold more sombre celebrations than originally planned to mark its 464th anniversary on the same day. Today, Thursday, the Dutch Embassy will open its doors to allow people to sign a register of condolences.
The minister, Joost Röselaers, told Christian Today: "This dramatic event has had a profound affect on Dutch society. We are all mourning, and in shock: not only because of the crash itself, but also because of the reactions of the Russian separatists and Russians, who have had a total lack of respect for the bodies of the victims. The Netherlands are a small country. As a major Dutch newspaper stated on its front page, every Dutch person knows someone who died in the crash. That makes it even more dramatic."
The Dutch community in London, numbering about 60,000 people, is in mourning as well.
The service in the church, a modern building near Bank station rebuilt after the original was bombed in the war, starts at 11 o'clock and will be held in both English and Dutch. The Embassy and the Church of England are involved in the preparations.
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"All who are mourning and want to share their thoughts and feelings are welcome, from every nationality," said Röselaers.
He added that a large number were expected. "The Dutch in London are searching for a place where they can share their sorrow and anger. These two feelings coexist: the sorrow for the victims, but also the anger for such a rude world.
"And where is God in all this? I will give all the space for these two feelings during the service. People can light a candle, there will be a poem from a famous Dutch poet.
"I will read from Psalm 115 and Romans 8. The first, because the Dutch anthem is based on it. The second because of the hope that God's love will at the end be the strongest. And that is the core of the belief of the first Dutch at Austin Friars, Protestant refugees who arrived in 1550. Also this temple is a temporal one, and once we will find the eternal temple in the eternal city. That hope has a central place in the belief of the dutch church in London, in 1550 and in 2014."