It’s great you all can be here today to celebrate with us this special occasion. Today we celebrate that 12 of the 15 people living here, including myself, will become ‘official inhabitants’ of this house. A house, which is, to say the least, a very special house, or should I say, a very special church.
It’s about three years ago that the first people came to live in this convivium which is part of the Ruimzicht-foundation. For the international students from the PThU it was a great opportunity to live here in Groningen together with Dutch students. Also for the Dutch students it was and is a great chance. Who else can say they live together with so many people of different nationalities?
I arrived here last summer. At that time the house seemed pretty quiet. Almost all the former international students had left and the Dutch students were enjoying their holidays. I was actually thinking, to be honest, that I moved into a very peaceful and quiet house in which nothing was really going in.
However, I was mistaken. In September all the international students arrived and also the Dutch students had finished their holidays. It turned out that it was a very colorful and special group I would be living with this year. I assume I speak for each of us when I say that everybody in this house is very involved with each other. It might be the setting of the house which is quite inviting for being involved with each other or it might just be the people, but when coming home there is always someone to talk to. And believe me, after a tough day a nice and warm greeting can really be a blessing. As the Dutch say: a good neighbor is better than a far friend.
Also, it certainly is not a quiet group. This became clear to me when I tried to organize a bible study on one of the house evenings but forgot that I was dealing with a group of pastors: how naive of me. I spent most of the evening urging people not to interrupt each other with theological interpretations and insights.
I think – all in all – that I speak for everybody when I say that we learn a lot from each other. It is not only that we can exchange our ideas, but it is also in the very subtle things that we learn from each other. The way we greet each other, the way we take care of each other, the food we make – and apparently our vla is a very special desert – but also we learn from each other in the way we pray to God. It is a great joy to see how everybody is so different but still can be a community, especially on the Wednesday evenings: we have danced together, sang together, played games together and much more. I wish for many more evenings like these.
It’s a great pleasure and honor to live here. It’s great that we are at the beginning of a history which hopefully will go on for a long, long time. We are very thankful that you, our guests, want to celebrate this special occasion with us today! I really hope you will enjoy this evening. In a moment you may also enjoy the food, but before we start I first want to ask Sybren and Hillian to tell something about our meal and say a blessing. Have a great evening!
Toespraak Christine van der Veer, pontifex Casa Mundo
Inauguratie, 26 november 2016