War, Migration, and Heritage

Evadoc Newsletter 12-2 Summer 2022

Table of Contents

Fig Tree
Hidden Treasures
175 Years Belgian Evangelical Alliance?!
125 Years Ago in Ostend
Public Relations in the United States
Genk 1957
Our Hope
Knowledge Sharing is a Strength
Heritage Consultant
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Fig tree

In my spare time I enjoy working in my allotment. In my patch of land there is a fig tree. Recently I learned the extraordinary story behind this tree. The Russian Revolution of 1917 brought a whole wave of migration to Europe. One of these refugees, from what is now Belarus, left behind a thriving farm with numerous fig trees. Along with a few meager possessions, he took some figs with him to Bruges, where they grew into beautiful fig trees. My specimen is descended from one of these fig trees. And so, even in places where you would not expect it, you come into contact with the theme of migration and war. Themes that also crop up regularly in the archives and publications housed at Evadoc and that can be consulted within the KADOC-KU Leuven network. In this newsletter too, there are some overlaps with these topics.

Hidden Treasures

The Evadoc library collection within KADOC contains a wealth of information about the Protestant history of our region. A quick browse will yield some fascinating pieces of reading material.

175 Years Belgian Evangelical Alliance?!

Exactly one year ago, we reported in our newsletter the donation of an extensive collection of periodicals from the duplicates of the Boudin-Willems Archives of the VPKB. In Le Glaneur Missionnaire of November 1847, there is an interesting article about the founding of the Belgian Evangelical Alliance. In 1846, evangelicals from Great Britain, the United States, and several European countries convened in London and founded the Evangelical Alliance. Soon Evangelical Alliances were established in other European countries as well. On September 21, 1847, the first president of the Evangelical Alliance, Sir Culling Eardley, some 40 people gathered in Brussels. After outlining the genesis and explicit condemnation of slavery, Sir Culling concluded by referring to a statement of Jesus in John 17:21 “Let them all be one … that the world may believe that you have sent me.” He was convinced that Christian unity would enhance the credibility of the Gospel. “When, therefore, the first thing is accomplished, the other will necessarily follow. The free exchange of Christian thoughts and affections, the fruits of union, must certainly bring about those days when quarrels will cease, when there will be no more question of denominations, nor of differences between nation and nation, and when the full manifestation of the Church and of her divine Head having finished with all wars, peace will reign and spread everywhere.” Although steps have been taken since then, in 2022, the desire for church unity and world peace is as relevant today as it was 175 years ago. Those present in Brussels 175 years ago, decided to establish a Belgian Evangelical Alliance (BEA) and elected Davis as its first president. After a few years, the BEA disappeared into the mists of time. Evangelical alliances were founded again in Flanders and French-speaking Belgium in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

125 Years Ago in Ostend

The second find is a beautiful atmospheric report of an evangelizing day trip of 65 Protestants from Brussels to Ostend in the Christelijk Volksblad, Evangeliebode voor Noord- en Zuid-Nederland. It is almost impossible to imagine now that many of them had never seen the sea before. We get a good glimpse of how Protestants then viewed their Roman Catholic compatriots and how they spread their message through song and reading. Also noteworthy is the mention of an unnamed English “Missionary Ship.” The name of that ship is also omitted elsewhere in that issue. Usually, these types of ships were active far outside of Europe. In short, this may be the start of an adventurous search in historical sources for a piece of forgotten history.




Public Relations in the United States

The third clipping is 80 years old and gives an overview of what the Belgian Evangelical Mission (BEZ, now Vianova) had accomplished in the first years after World War I. The article appeared in the Sunday School Times, which was a mouthpiece for much of the evangelical movement in North America. Readers could support the BEZ financially by sending money to the publisher of this periodical, who then forwarded the money to Belgium. The article should therefore be read against this fundraising background.

Genk 1957

The last insight is 70 years old and is about the 15-year existence of an evangelical fashion vocational school in Genk. This small-scale vocational school was discontinued many years ago, but it certainly deserves a place in the overview of Protestant-evangelical education in Flanders. The article is from Onze Hoop, the periodical about which you can read more elsewhere in this newsletter.

Hopeful News about Our Hope

Good news! The crowdfunding campaign set up by KADOC-KU Leuven for digitizing the BEZ periodicals Onze Hoop and Notre Espérance has been successfully completed. Thanks to your support, the required amount of € 2,000 has been raised. Thank you very much for your financial involvement! While preparing for the digitization, it became clear how urgent this operation was. Several issues had become so vulnerable that the pages had to be carefully fixed before they could be scanned. That was quite an intensive job.

Right now, the necessary preparations are being made to make the scanned issues available online. Once they are available on the internet with a few mouse clicks, we will inform you and provide you with the link to the periodicals

Wanted: Volunteer(s)



Do you live in the Leuven area, and would you like to volunteer? Why not at Evadoc within KADOC? Feel free to contact us via this link. This way you can help document the history of the Protestant-evangelical movement in our area and make it available to all interested parties.

Sharing Knowledge is a Strength

It is not always easy for a small church congregation or Protestant-evangelical organization to properly organize and maintain your (digital) documents. As announced in the previous newsletter, we will be holding provincial training evenings on this subject in October and November. We would like to share our expertise so that together we can safeguard the memory of the Protestant-evangelical community in our society. In early September, the locations and dates will be posted on our website with a registration form. To give you an idea of what to expect, I repeat here a piece from our previous newsletter.

In the first part of the evening, we will explore questions such as:

      • Why preserve?
      • What are the risks to digital archives?
      • What is the difference between a backup and an archive?
      • What to keep and what not to keep?
      • What about the GDPR?
      • ….

        The second part of the evening will be rather practical. Using concrete examples, we will cover issues such as :



  • What is a good folder structure?
  • What are good file names?
  • What file formats do I use?
  • What storage media or cloud services am I using?
  • Archiving of emails, photos, websites, and social media




Heritage Consultant

We would like to point out that Aaldert Prins as consultant EVADOC within KADOC for the Protestant heritage is happy to advise you on the management and disclosure of the heritage of local churches and organizations. A more extensive description of services can be found by clicking on this link.

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