20 years of euthanasia in Belgium In May it will be 20 years ago that euthanasia was allowed in Belgium. Since then, 24,522 declarations of euthanasia have been registered. Euthanasia has been legalized for minors and some politicians want to allow it for people who cannot express their will. This way, the dignity of the elderly, people with dementia or who suffer from depression, disabled or sick people is systematically violated. It has also become clear in recent years that the Euthanasia Evaluation Committee doesn’t function properly and that the concept of psychological suffering is becoming increasingly vague. That is why some psychiatrists advocate a ban on euthanasia for psychological suffering.
Since the summer of 2021, together with a friend (Danny), we have been planning to organize a ministerial event that includes sports. We want to cycle from Ypres to Eupen over three days with stops in the Ronse and Tienen areas. We will start from the center of Ypres and we want to finish in the Eupen/lac d’Eupen area. The whole trip will go along the linguistic border between Flanders and Wallonia with the intention of praying along the way. We will pass through key locations and towns that ultimately will provide us with the necessary subjects to challenge the borders that we want to expose and bring attention to. We are planning to bike through the border points between Flanders, Wallonia and France in the west. We’ll go through the ‘Drielandenpunt’ (DE/NL/BE) in the east before finishing at lac d’Eupen. The reason for finishing there is linked with our desire to do a fundraiser for the flood victims. We’re looking into details in how we could support excisiting works that could benefit from this support.
Our broader vision is to find ways to use sports, to collectively bring the current borders to people’s attention. We intend to use the current and former physical borders as a platform, through informing of the past, creating an understanding of the present, to challenge people to review their worldview in a way that allows them to reconsider their position in certain matters in life. We believe in the kingdom principle of recognition and building together, despite what the past might hold. It can be a painful process to revisit the very beliefs and ways of thinking that we have allowed to shape us. But in these days we see the need of a renewal of the mind. Valuing and celebrating the kingdom values within our culture, yet challenge the areas that keeps separation and walls in place are necessary to go through in order to prepare the table for what the Lord wants to bring to our nation.
We intend to make the event open for both Christians and non-Christians, as we recognize that people whom do not belong to a church, also seeks to see reconciliation happen between the two regions. The ‘religious’ language of the tour will need to be adapted in a way that brings inclusion beyond religious beliefs. However, it will be made very clear that it is going to be a prayerful event that longs to minister reconciliation through prayers, intercession as well as acts of service. As long as this is made clear beforehand, the participants would know, to a certain level what they can expect. I personally intend to invite family members that aren’t Christians to participate.
Language is another important factor. Among our team members for the tour we have people who can speak and translate French, Dutch/Flemish, German and English. As the tour will go through various language borders, we will facilitate for the regional spoken language to be made available for translation where necessary.
We want to make part of this event public in the sense that we are planning daily video sessions of history lessons, to bring awareness to the people following the tour online. These will be filmed in the very place that the events take place, and we will use the history to ask one or two questions that could challenge the mindset of our followers. We will upload them on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. We have a team of videographers and photographers who will be part of the journey.
We are just about to make this event public, and we want to spread the word to churches and organisations in Belgium. If this would be something you would be interested in being part of, or know of someone who could have interest in this tour. Please don’t hesitate to let us know should you need any further information.
We are trying to make the costs for this as affordable as possible. We’re currently looking for housing opportunities for Friday and Saturday night. There will be a possibility of coming along for just one or two of the days, as we recognise not everyone would be able to set apart three days to join the full event.
It will start in Ypres at 11am on Friday 22nd of April and it will last until the evening of Sunday 24th of April. If necessary, we can arrange housing in the Eupen area on Sunday night.
We intend to bike roughly 100-130km per day. We will provide food and some snacks, but sport drinks and ‘fuel’ are to be arranged by each participant after personal need.
We will have a follow car with us for the whole tour that will bring about the basics of equipment.
It is possible to join for 1, 2 or 3 days, and the start and finish of each stage would be in the immediate proximity of train stations to facilitate connections.
A provisional routeplanning for the three days in the links below;