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Pastor-Church Relations Director to Retire

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Synod 2008 honored Rev. Duane Visser as he retires from a lifetime in the ministry.

Visser, director of the Christian Reformed Church’s Pastor-Church Relations office (PCR) since 1995, plans to retire in January 2009.

Visser, 67, spent his first 25 years in ministry as a chaplain in hospital settings.

When Visser first became director, PCR was a one-person office. Since that time, a full-time pastor has been added to work mainly in the educational support of pastors, and a part-time worker was hired for staff ministries. Visser focuses primarily on intervention with churches in conflict.

“When you are involved in interventions with conflicts, things can get unpleasant, and when it gets personal, that’s probably the most difficult part,” Visser said. He also said the work is very gratifying.

Additional ministries have developed also. The dimension of assisting churches in finding pastors and pastors in finding churches has become another area of focus. And with the help of a Lily Foundation grant, “we can do a lot more programs for pastors’ spouses as well as pastors.”

Visser hopes to continue working with the denomination in some capacity. “I have enjoyed the whole 13 years and would still like to be a resource in helping churches work through conflicts and learn from them.”

To his successor Visser advises, “Have a sense of humor. Enjoy the people, do a lot of listening, and pray hard.”

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