Collegiants

Dutch religious group, originating in the controversies surrounding the Synod of Dort* (1619). The triumph of the orthodox Calvinists there, and the ousting of the Remonstrant ministers from the Reformed Church, left many congregations without pastors. At Warmond, near Leyden, Gijsbert VanderKodde and his brothers began leading such a congregation in informal services, stressing baptism by immersion, withdrawal from the world, and a minimal creed. The style was closer to Mennonite* than to Remonstrant; and the group refused to join the Remonstrant Brotherhood. Meeting as collegia rather than regularly organized churches, the group moved to the neighboring village of Rhynsberg (hence the names “Collegiants” and “Rhynsbergers”). The movement spread, with the “congregations” joining once a year at Rhynsberg. Spinoza* lived in Rhynsberg for some years (1661-64) and found the group impressive, though his advanced ideas (denial of miracles, etc.) caused a split which took some time to heal. During the 1700s, membership dwindled, with many turning to Socinianism* or Deism*; the last meeting was held in 1787.