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.

Visit

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.

'Play’

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.

Discovery

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?

De 19-jarige Rutger van der W. was dus betrapt, maar daar eindigt het verhaal niet. Als werkloze probeerde hij op meer plekjes een baan te scoren. Zo belandde hij een paar weken later in Zwolle, waar hij wederom tevergeefs aan werk probeerde te komen.

Ondertussen was zijn moeder nog steeds op zoek naar haar zoon. Omdat een 19-jarige in 1958 nog niet meerderjarig was, schakelde ze de politie in, om hem te laten arresteren. Dat gebeurde een paar dagen later in Zwolle, waar Rutger zijn toevlucht had gezocht bij het Leger des Heils.

In maart van 1959 komt de naam van Rutger van der W. voorlopig voor de laatste keer in de media. De hervormde kerk, die aangifte heeft gedaan van oplichting, laat de zaak (voorwaardelijk) vallen. Wel krijgt hij een protestant-christelijke reclassering-ambtenaar toegewezen. Ook wordt er gedreigd met een psychiatrisch onderzoek, maar of het ook zover komt is niet duidelijk.

In aflevering 3 van de Dagvantoen-podcast was er uitgebreid aandacht voor de Fantast van Moerkapelle

Sources:

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