The Protestant Municipality of Hoogeveen (PGH) wants to close two of the five churches in the short term and reduce the number of pastor places from six to four.
The General Church Council announced this message on Tuesday evening during a meeting for congregants in the Good Shepherd Church. Due to the declining number of members and the reduced income, the PGH is forced to reduce the number of church buildings and pastors.
Two churches around 2030
In the short term, the PGH will be reduced from five to three churches and the number of full-time pastor positions will shrink from six to four. The General Church Council expects to manage two more churches around 2030.
Secularization, aging and declining income have been putting pressure on the financial position of the Protestant Municipality of Hoogeveen for years. Red numbers are looming in two years. In order to stay ahead of these problems, the General Church Council wants to intervene in time.
Every year the PGH loses about 300 members. According to the latest data, 6500 people are still members. To illustrate: in 2016 there were about 9000.
In addition, the membership base is ageing. The group that brings in the most money (read: voluntary contribution) are members between the ages of 70 and 80. The growth of young people is small.
Most of the money is spent on the current six pastors, a few employees and on the exploitation of five church buildings: the Grote Kerk, the Hoofdstraatkerk, the Oosterkerk, the Goede Herderkerk and the Vredehorst.
The General Church Council hopes to provide clarity to the five neighborhood church councils with the ‘directive statements’ and to be able to submit implementation decisions for the policy period 2025-2028 in six months’ time.