- Category : 1887-births
- Type : R
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : None
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 1
First female Dutch PhD theologian and pastor in the Netherlands.
Her Baptist parents Carl Frederick August Zernike (23 January 1859, Amsterdam - 30 October 1922, Amsterdam) and Antje Dieperink (1859-11 January 1932, Doorn) were teachers. They married 5 Augustus 1886 in Amsterdam and got six children. Her sister Elisabeth became a poet and writer. Her brother Frits became a Noble Prize winning inventor and scientist.
She was born as the first child in the Jacob van Campen street 23, named after the famous artist and architect of the Dutch Golden Age. Both her parents were school teachers, but her mother was then "without profession" according to the BC act. So-called "tweeverdieners" with children did not exist, as females were fired when becoming pregnant. Her father, obtained a mathematics degree, to earn more money as a secondary school teacher. But without doubt, her mother stimulated all their children to educate themselves.
According her sister Elisabeth, Anna was very impressed by the feminist teachers Jacoba Mossel (3 March 1859 7 AM -11 May 1935) and Aleida Nijland (28 March 1870 12h00 Hoorn - 12 March 1950). The first Aleida Nijland was her teacher at the Higher Civil School for girls at the Keizersgracht of Amsterdam.
After the Mennonite Church in 1905 decided to open the office for women (1905), she studied at the University of Amsterdam theology. Together with her sister Elisabeth, she visited the Mennonite Church and was baptised at age 22 by A.L. Kuiper. But whilst she intellectually studied with great vigour, she emotionally felt unsure and doubted her own faith (1911).
But she got invitations from the Frisian countryside where the Mennonites, named after Anabaptist church reformer Menno Simons (Witmarsum, 1496 – 31 January 1561, Bad Oldesloe) stemmed from. She rejected positions in Baard and Mensingewier, but decided after some hesitation to accept a post as minister in the small village of Bovenknijpe. Here she became on 5 November 1911 ordained as the first Dutch female pastor.
As an educated city girl she was a loner between the farmers and peat workers in De Knipe. Her liberal and humanistic theologian ideas also did not fit with her male colleagues in Friesland, and she got no support when working on her dissertation. But her loneliness disappeared when she fell in love with the withdrawn mystical nature painter Jan Mankes, who also worked in silence De Knipe. After a brief courtship, the two became engaged. "The miracle has come. So suddenly and so suddenly that I can not contain myself. I'm engaged! My girl is the pastor of Boven-Knijpe and called Anne Zernike!" wrote Mankes to his patron. They immersed themselves in literature, poetry, painting and religion. They agreed on then unconventional liberal humanist ideals and beliefs, like anti-militarism and vegetarianism.
After marriage, on September 30, 1915 in Schoterland, Anne Zernike put her in office as a pastor down and moved with Mankes to Den Haag. Here, she attended the meetings organized by Mankes' friend Chris Lebeau, a Christian artist and anarchist (26 May 1878 at 20h30, Amsterdam - 30 April 1945, Dachau), where music was made, recited, exhibited and philosophised about theosophy, Taoism and Christian Socialism. It broadened her view on theology and life.
Sadly her husband Jan Mankes was seriously weakened by tuberculosis. The doctor advised them to move to the woods. In 1917 the couple moved to the village of Eerbeek, near Arnhem. While Jan seemed to recover, Anne worked on her thesis about historical materialist and social democratic ethics, where she received her PhD in 1918 in Amsterdam under H.IJ. Groenewegen, an opponent of women in the office. The birth of son Beint was "a greater glory. That's the last 'good' months were in the life of Jan Mankes, nobody could then suspect". Beint Mankes (1 March 1918, Brummen - 1990, Laren), would become a painter and autobiographer.
After an illness of eighteen months, Mankes died on the night of 23 April 1920. She tried to become a pastor again for Mennonite Church, but the Brotherhood kept silent.
In 1921 she moved to Vreewijk, where she became minister of the the liberal Dutch Protestantenbond (NPB). She was committed to the anti-militarism, preached tolerance and tried in an unorthodox way to pastor. She erected a church choir, a theatre and visited with her church regularly museums. Instead of dogmatic, she preferred to discuss on the basis of the Rembrandt Bible and other art books on religion and belief. She translated Rilke and Ernst Toller. The "Nieuwe Verbond" church (1929) of the Federatie voor Vrijzinnige Religie Linker-Maasoever looked more like e theatre, than a church. In 1948 she retired, but went on preaching and writing. She published her autobiography "Een vrouw in het wondere ambt" in 1956.
She died 6 March 1972 after years of disease in "De Lichtenberg" (the mountain of light) in Amersfoort.