MOERKAPELLE - The Dutch Reformed Church in Moerkapelle has been conned for weeks by someone posing as a graduate theology student. Nineteen-year-old young man R. vd W.. from The Hague has conducted a service four times and was paid for it. The police have the matter under investigation.

The congregation heard the news during the service this morning. Pastor Van Eijk read a message on behalf of the consistory. The man the congregation had listened to for weeks, was nothing more than a fantasist.

The man first reported to the church in Moerkapelle in early September. He introduced himself as a photographer for a weekly magazine for which he took pictures of church interiors. The supposedly 23-year-old man from Barneveld is said to have just graduated from the theology course.


The man from The Hague came into conversation with one of the elders of the Moerkapel congregation. There it was mentioned that they were looking for a replacement for the current pastor, who would leave shortly.

During that conversation the young man made a big impression. He said that he would initially become an asylum preacher in Ermelo. He also mentioned the names of other ministers and theologians, of which he had taken lessons. The conversation impresses the elder so much, that he was later offered a position in Moerkapelle.

Every Friday the man reported to the village, to leave again on Monday morning.


Op 14 In September the young man preached for the first time in Moerkapelle. After that, he would conduct a service three more times. It is not clear how much he was paid for this.

There was hardly any suspicion against the new pastor.

“Several congregants liked the sermons, others thought the young candidate was too easy to talk. ”

(Het Vrije Volk - 23-10-1958)

"The way that little guy is raving ... it seems like a complete play"

(Algemeen Dagblad - 23-10-1958)

Afterwards it turned out that the youth had copied pieces from someone else's sermons. That was quite a relief for part of the congregation and the consistory.


The young man was caught when the congregation went to check the background of the young man. Pastors and theologians mentioned earlier by the young man, knew the "candidate’ not at all.

The consistory had to conclude that they had been tricked. According to the council, the need was so great, with the imminent departure of the current pastor, that action had to be taken quickly. That turned out not to be good afterwards.

Still, it remains a mystery why some signals have not been picked up earlier. There is an explanation for this, says one of the church members in Het Vrije Volk

"He has been quite upset against the public school and some people like that here"

(Het Vrije Volk, 23-10-1958)

Op 2 November will be a new one in Moerkapelle (and especially real ones) pastor leading the service.

Hoe ging het verder?

19-year-old Rutger van der W. was thus caught, but the story doesn't end there. As an unemployed person, he tried to score a job in more places. That's how he ended up in Zwolle a few weeks later, where he again tried in vain to get a job.

Meanwhile, his mother was still looking for her son. Because a 19-year-old in 1958 was not yet of age, she called the police, to have him arrested. That happened a few days later in Zwolle, where Rutger had taken refuge with the Salvation Army.

In March of 1959 comes the name of Rutger van der W. for the last time in the media for now. The Reformed Church, who has reported fraud, leave the case (conditional) traps. He is, however, assigned a Protestant Christian probation officer. There is also a threat of a psychiatric examination, but it is not clear whether it will come to that.

In episode 3 of the Dagvantoen podcast there was extensive attention for the Fantast van Moerkapelle


Algemeen Handelsblad – 23-10-1958 – Fantasy unlocked way to pulpit

Het Vrije Volk – 23-10-1958 – Fantasist preaches from the pulpit

Het Parool – 23-10-1958 – "False’ Pastor preached well

Algemeen Dagblad – 23-10-1958 – Pseudo-pastor stood in Moerkapel's pulpit