Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Emeritation: Rev A. Stehouwer

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The first minister to come from Òhome-grownÓ Free Reformed ranks has reached retirement age in the Netherlands and has been granted emeritus status. He will not become inactive, however, but will be moving from Vlaardingen, his present congregation, to Zuidland in February, to become pastoral assistant. He will continue to preach, teach catechism classes, and do other work in this smaller congregation.

In 1964, Rev. Stehouwer was the first seminary student of our denomination at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A year later, student Stehouwer was joined by myself and my wife in Grand Rapids. We were the first seminary students to prepare for ministry in the Free Reformed churches on this continent and we were glad to have the support of each other. We had many edifying and instructive discussions, also in the study and parsonage of Rev. and Mrs. Tamminga in Grand Rapids. The Stehouwers had immigrated to Canada as a young couple and when he felt the call to the ministry as a mature adult, his wife Janet continued to faithfully stand by his side. She shared his goals and since they, like we, had no children and our churches were still in the beginning stages, she supported him financially as well as in many other ways.

When the Stehouwers reached their goal, they found that ministry in the emerging immigrant churches was no easy task. There was the challenge of gaining the respect and trust of people made up of various backgrounds in the Netherlands who had been nurtured by ministers who until that time had been trained in that country. GodÕs servants learn that except the Lord build the house, the builders build in vain. He often leads them through difficult and dark ways to build His church.

After ordination in Chatham, Ontario on November 3rd, 1967 by the late Rev. J. Tamminga, Rev. Stehouwer served the congregations of London, Ontario and Aldergrove, BC (now Abbotsford) for 15 years to the best of his ability. In 1982 he received a call from the Netherlands, which he accepted. There he served the congregation of Nijkerk and later Vlaardingen for another 15 years. On November 3rd he celebrated 30 years in the ministry.

An invitation was received from the church of Vlaardingen to attend the farewell service and we translate part of it as follows:

In connection with the granting of emeritus status on January 1,
1998 D.V. of Rev. A. Stehouwer, the Consistory of the
Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk of Vlaardingen cordially invites
you to be present at the farewell service. This service will be
held D.V. on Friday, January 9, 1998, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in
the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk, Emmastraat 116 Vlaardingen.
On behalf of the Consistory, L. Duifhuizen, Vice ÐChairman; J.
van Ree, Secretary.

We congratulate Rev. Stehouwer, together with his wife and children and their spouses. The Lord has blessed them in their family life. In Canada the Lord gave the Stehouwers children in a special way. They grew up and married husbands from the churches in the Netherlands. There now are several grandchildren as well.

On behalf of the denomination we express our sincere best wishes and thankfulness in what the Lord gave our churches in Rev. Stehouwer and his wife. May they still spend many fruitful years as they continue to serve the Lord in his church.

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