City Archives Naarden
‘Andreas Church covered with a layer of soot’ is the headline of an article in the Gooi- en Eemlander of Monday 6 January 1969.
‘The Reformed Andreas Church looks like after a fire… The whole interior is covered with a thick layer of soot, up to the rafters!’
It then describes the disastrous situation in which the sexton found the building when he entered the church one hour before Sunday’s service started. The inside of the building was enveloped in an impenetrable darkness. The layer of soot stuck to the chairs, pulpit, ground, walls and windows. The bibles, the hymn books, and other objects for the service had become unusable. Too dirty to handle!’
The disaster was attributed to an explosion that caused the pipe of the oil heater to drop and the sooty smoke to flow into the church. It was not only the sexton who got the fright of his life. Approximately 200 shocked churchgoers were rushed to the community center with a hastily created shuttle service where Reverend Plantinga preached about ‘On the Move’. A week later, Reverend Veen preached in the assembly hall of the Ministerparkschool. The Andreas Church would never be used as a church again.
About 75 years earlier, a group of members had come together in the Reformed Church who wanted a more orthodox proclamation than the liberal preaching in the Great Church. The group remained a member of the Reformed Church but founded a so-called Evangelisation. The Reformed Chapel was built for them in Turfpoortstraat in 1895, which chapel would later be called Andreas Church. Construction costs 6,700 Dutch guilders.
In 1934, the church was given its own parsonage in the same street. Nevertheless, years later cautious attempts were made to bring all church members together again in the Great Church. During the years of occupation, when there was a strong sense of solidarity everywhere, a proposal to dissolve the church was discussed in an extraordinary meeting, but the spirits were not yet ready for this. In 1956, there was talk of ‘important oral agreements with the Great Church’ and in 1968 there was a vote on whether or not the Dutch Reformed Foundation for the Administration of the Andreas Church should continue to exist. The appointment of a third, orthodox minister to the Great Church, to be financed by the ecclesiastical authority, had to persuade the doubters.
Maybe the disaster with the soot in 1969 was the deciding factor in the dissolution of the Andreas Church. After the building was thoroughly cleaned, it initially served as a studio for the restoration of the Great Church. Parts of the vault, the choir screen and the baptismal garden were restored there. Then the Andreas House, as it is now called, was made available by the Reformed Youth Council to interchurch youth work. The building now accommodates youth clubs and is rented out for choir rehearsals, yoga, ballet lessons, exhibitions and suchlike.
The church furniture has disappeared. It was no longer possible to use the organ after the disaster with the soot. On the back wall of the church hall there is still a cross painted with the saying ‘Jesus is Victorious’. The bell that hung in a niche on the front wall now rings in the restored roof rider on the nave of the Great Church.
August 2005, Jacq. Lamers