Dokkum is a town (2006 pop. 13,145) in the Dutch province of Friesland. An Anabaptist congregation must have originated here between 1551 and 1557. Leenaert Bouwens baptized at least 453 persons here, and in 1562 the Reformed congregation, which was also meeting secretly, requested the Reformed congregation at Emden to send them an ordained man, because the Mennonites were winning so many of the people that they comprised most of the inhabitants of Dokkum. In the early 17th century Dokkum had at least three Mennonite congregations, one of Waterlanders, one of High Germans, and one of Jan Jacobsgezinden. By 1695 the Waterlanders and High Germans had been united for some time and numbered about 180 members; the Jan Jacobsgezinden had disappeared by 1786.
The liberal spirit of the time was shown in a proposal by the Remonstrants in 1796 that all the Christian bodies in the Netherlands unite in a single Christian church. The proposal was rejected nearly everywhere. The Frisian Sociëteit also decided not to enter the proposed union, because adult baptism, the distinguishing mark of the Mennonites, would be dropped. But the Mennonite congregation of Dokkum thought otherwise about it. After the departure of Matthijs Siegenbeek they were without a minister, as was also the Remonstrant congregation, and consequently obeyed the summons. Although they numbered 70 or 80 members and the Remonstrants only 13, it was decided that the local united congregation should be attached to both creeds, but especially to that of the Remonstrants, since they had issued the invitation. The annual support of 550 florins that the Remonstrants received from their brotherhood was to accrue to the united congregation.
On 10 May 1798 the union was completed, confirmed by the signature of 30 to 34 members of the Mennonite congregation, and six of the Remonstrants. Article four stipulated that it would be the duty of the pastor to baptize adults as well as infants; this was an obstacle to the union with the Frisian Sociëteit. After tedious correspondence it was decided at the Sociëteit meeting of 6 June 1800 that the Mennonite congregation had ceased to exist. Members who were unable to make the concessions necessary to the union became members of the Dantumawoude congregation. The united congregation met in the old Mennonite church, which was completely renovated in 1852.
At first the congregation had difficulty in finding a preacher, although they asked many groups to help them. The Mennonite preachers refused because they objected to Article four. In 1799, however, Karel Ayelts, the Reformed preacher at Laren and Blaricum, accepted the call, and after that time three Reformed and ten Remonstrant preachers had served by the 1950s. In 1826-1827, during an illness of Ayelts, the Mennonite pastor at Dantumawoude occasionally preached for the group. Since 1827 the congregation had only non-Mennonite preachers. B. ten Bruggencate, the Mennonite minister at Baard, who received a call to this congregation in 1865, refused it. In that year there were some difficulties, resulting from the mixed character of the congregation. Since then its course has been smooth. In 1865 this United Christian Church of Dokkum was admitted to Ring Dantumawoude; sometime later it withdrew, but was reinstated in 1917. In 1810 the congregation had 69 members (193 souls), and in 1951, 122 members 200 souls). In the census of 1910, 88 persons at Dokkum said they were Remonstrants, and 75, Mennonites; in 1947 there were 53 Remonstrants and 187 Mennonites.
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Scheltema en van Wijk, Een poging tot verbroedering der Protestantsche Christenen en haar verwezenlijking in de Vereenigde christelijke gemeente te Dokkum. Amsterdam, 1874.
Tideman, Joannes. De remonstrantsche broederschap : biographische naamlijst van hare professoren, predikanten en proponenten, met historische aanteekeningen omtrent hare kweekschool en gemeenten. Amsterdam: Y. Rogge, 1905: 368-372.
Cite This Article
Loosjes, J. "Dokkum (Friesland, Netherlands)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 29 Nov 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dokkum_(Friesland,_Netherlands)&oldid=119681.
Loosjes, J. (1956). Dokkum (Friesland, Netherlands). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dokkum_(Friesland,_Netherlands)&oldid=119681.
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