Rev. James Joosse, 85, skillful pastor, passionate preacher, promoter of Christian institutions, warm friend to many, and man of gentle humor, passed away on August 29, following a bout with pneumonia.
Joosse was born in l925 in Koudekerke, the Netherlands. In the mid-1930s the Joosse family emigrated to Canada, where young Joosse continued his grade-school education in Chatham, Ontario, and graduated from grade eight of the Maidstone Public School in Sarnia. Joosse then joined the family farm operation and upon his marriage to Lena Esser in 1946 continued farming on his own near Sarnia.
The Joosses were an intensely godly family, deeply involved in church life among the many post-war Dutch emigrants in Ontario. In that setting the desire grew in Joosse’s heart to study for the gospel ministry and be a servant to the people he loved.
Calvin College and Seminary agreed to a consolidated course of study and in l960 the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church declared him a candidate for the ministry.
Joosse served the Dresden (Ontario) Christian Reformed Church. In l963 the young family moved to Georgetown to serve the CRC there. He subsequently served Bethel CRC, Newmarket, Ontario, 1967; Inglewood CRC, Edmonton, Alberta, 1971; Emmanuel CRC, Calgary, Alberta, 1976; and Kentville (Nova Scotia) CRC, 1986. He retired in 1991.
James and Lena were deeply loved by the congregations they served. Joosse’s ministry was marked by devotion, love, and practical wisdom.
He was widely recognized for his deep understanding of the gospel’s impact on human relations in society and education. His sermons addressed the hearts of the people in their daily struggles of life. His pastoral skills were the more effective for his gifts as a sympathetic listener.
Christian schools everywhere profited form his willing involvement and leadership. He served the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto for many years as its president. He was a founding member of the Christian Labour Association of Canada and served several terms as its national president.
Joosse loved hiking, gardening, reading, traveling, bird-watching, and fixing things.
Joosse is survived by his wife, Lena, and their children Yetty and John Adema, Verna and Ivan VanderMeer, James Joosse Jr. and Alice VanderMeer, Marilyn and Jan VanDenBerg, Gilbert Joosse, Franklin Joosse, Yvonne and David DeVries, 12 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren.