Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Rev. G. Hamstra in Ministry for 35 Years

Written by Rev. P. VanderMeyden
Rev. Gerald Hamstra, minister of the Free Reformed Church in Toronto, is now serving in the same city in which he was ordained as a gospel minister thirty five years ago.

Born in Zwaagwesteinde (Friesland), the Netherlands, Rev. Hamstra, at the age of 21, came to Canada with his parents in the summer of 1948. They were among the first post-war immigrants and were also part of the original group of families which started the Free Reformed Church of Dundas, which his father, Rev. J. Hamstra, served first as teaching elder and later as ordained minister.

The young Mr. Hamstra was raised in a home where the fear of the Lord and His service was highly valued. He was inclined to serve the Lord himself and first pursued a career as teacher. For several years in the late 1950Õs he served in a school presently known as Plymouth Christian School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Toward 1960 Mr. Hamstra felt that the Lord was calling him to the ministry and he began attending Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and studied under professors like John Murray, Ned B. Stonehouse and J. VanTil. In 1962 he graduated from Westminster with an M.Div. degree and accepted a call to what was then called the Presbyterian Reformed Church on Bloor Street in Toronto, Ontario. [Later this congregation became affiliated with the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and presently with the Associate Presbyterian Church of Scotland.] Rev. Hamstra was ordained on January 2, 1963, with his professor, the Rev. Dr. John Murray, officiating the ordination service. Rev. Hamstra served this congregation for some nine and a half years.

On May 15, 1972, Rev. Hamstra received a call from the Dundas congregation to fill the vacancy occasioned by the retirement of his father, Rev. J. Hamstra. He was given liberty to accept this call and was installed on August 11, 1972. During his ministry in Dundas, in February of 1976 he was called upon to officiate at the funeral of his father.

A Dutch interlude of eight years followed in which he served two congregations in the Netherlands: the first in Alphen-aan-den-Rijn (1977-1981) and then in Elburg (1981-1985). Both of these were congregations of our sister church, the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland. However, Rev. Hamstra was drawn back to North America and accepted a call to Clifton, New Jersey, thus returning to the ministry in the Free Reformed Churches. After serving in Clifton for seven and a half years he was called to the Free Reformed Church of Toronto, where he presently serves.

Rev. Hamstra has had an interest in the LordÕs work outside of our churches as well. For example, work of the Trinitarian Bible Society has received his support throughout his ministry. For some twenty years he has served as a Vice President and speaker for this London-based Society.

We as denomination rejoice with Pastor Hamstra, his wife and daughters, as they commemorate the LordÕs mercies in these past years. We thank the Lord for the strength and grace given to our brother to serve faithfully in preaching and pastoral work as well as in various functions on behalf of the denomination, such as serving on denominational committees. During the last ten years he has regularly contributed meditations to our monthly magazine The Messenger. Especially these meditations of clear teaching woven with edifying application have been appreciated by many.

As we reflect on these things we commend Pastor and Mrs. Hamstra to the faithful mercies of the Lord. May the Lord also continue to sustain and guide in the future. We give thanks to the Lord from Whom all blessings flow and to Whom all praise belongs for the faithful support of His grace and strength in our brotherÕs life and ministry. How appropriate are the words of Psalm 116:17 which Rev. Hamstra used to confess his sentiment upon a similar event ten years ago. They are words which apply as we look back, but also as we look ahead to another year:

ÒI will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.Ó

Read 4159 times

We have 2100 guests and no members online

© Free Reformed Churches of North America