Rev. Alvin H. Venema
1926 - 2007
Rev. Alvin H. Venema, a pastor and churchman of uncommon kindness and steadfastness, passed away Oct. 1, 2007, following a long siege with Parkinson’s disease.
Venema was born in Hospers, Iowa, where he attended the Christian school, graduating from Western Christian High School in nearby Hull. He graduated from Calvin College in 1951 and from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1954. He then did a year’s post-graduate work at the Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He and Norma Kalmink married in 1952.
The Venemas accepted their first call from Community CRC, Kitchener, Ontario, in 1955. In 1958 they agreed to serve Maranatha CRC, St. Catharines, Ontario, where they stayed till 1963. In that year they moved to Richmond, British Columbia, where Alvin became pastor of First CRC. Five more churches were to follow: Manhattan (Mont.) CRC, 1969; First CRC, Brantford, Ontario, 1972, where Venema concluded his ministry by tending the daughter church, Shalom CRC, in 1978. He then accepted a call from West End CRC, Edmonton, Alberta; within a year, however, he agreed to pastor West End’s daughter church, Covenant CRC, which he served till 1986. In that year the Venemas retired from the regular ministry.
During several of their retirement years they remained active in a variety of church-related challenges.
Rev. Venema was known for his thoughtful gentleness and graciousness, but also for his determination and firm convictions. Widely read, he was an insightful student of the Scriptures and a diligent shepherd of the congregations he served. He was a defender and promoter of Christian education and various Christian causes in society. His fellow pastors found in him a loyal colleague. He bore the afflictions of Parkinson’s with grace.
Venema is survived by his wife, Norma; by their children, David and Shelley Venema, Mary and Harry De Vries, Robert Venema, and Carolyn and Robert Kippers; and by 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.