1919 – 2006
Rev. Nicholas Vogelzang, 87, founder of the Summer Workshop in Missions program (SWIM) and International Theological Evangelical Ministries (“Christ for Russia”), passed away on Feb.12 at his home at Porter Place, Denver, Colo., surrounded by his family.
Vogelzang was born in Holland, Mich., where he attended Christian grade- and high school. He served the U.S. Navy as a pilot during World War II. Following some years in the family hardware business, he studied at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating from the latter in 1955. He married Katherine (Kay) Ribbens in 1948. She preceded him in death in 1989. He married Eleanor Bergsma in 1991.
Rev. Vogelzang served the following CRC congregations: First Salt Lake City, Utah, 1955, in conjunction with Family in Christ CRC, Ogden, Utah; Mountain Springs Community, Salt Lake City, 1961; First Lansing (Mich.) CRC, 1964; First CRC, Sheldon, Iowa, 1970; Bellevue (Wash.) CRC, 1976; and Newton (Iowa) CRC, 1981. He retired in 1984.
Nick was a man of deep convictions, boundless energy, and varied initiatives. He loved the Reformed faith and preached the gospel with fervor. The salvation of people meant everything to him. He was deeply concerned for the cause of Christ in society. His parishioners, however, remember him especially for his pastoral love and concern. Following his retirement, Vogelzang developed a deep concern for the well-being of Christians in Russia and Eastern Europe. He was instrumental in organizing seminaries in Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and the Ukraine. He arranged for the training of pastors in multiple settings. The World Home Bible League and Worldwide Christian School also benefited from his cooperation.
Rev. Vogelzang is survived by his wife, Eleanor; his children: Nicholas and Diane Vogelzang, Robert and Gail Vogelzang, Mark and Rhonda Vogelzang, Kathleen and Karl Groen, Philip and Katie Vogelzang, Michael and Jennifer Vogelzang, and Mary Vogelzang; as well as 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.