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Sustaining Pastors’ Spouses


In April, 100 women gathered in Vancouver, British Columbia, for a pastors’ spouse conference aimed at female spouses. It was organized by the Christian Reformed Church’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program.

In addition to hearing keynote speaker Rev. Mary Hulst, chaplain at Calvin College, participants worshiped and took part in workshops ranging from card-making, beading, and dancing to sharing marriage workshops and dealing with second-career pastorates.

Jane Park’s husband is the CRC’s Korean ministry director in Bellflower, Calif., and she is also his administrative assistant. She was pleased that eleven Korean spouses were able to meet and share their unique situations. “We find that we are in similar situations and are greatly encouraged by the way others handle the situations,” she said.

Cindy Bodini, whose husband, Richard, is a pastor in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has attended all previous conferences. “At first my main reason was to reconnect with seminary friends,” she said, “but I found it to be an incredible time of encouragement and refreshment and now go with that as my primary reason.”

Rev. Julia Prins Vanderveen is both a pastor and a pastor’s spouse. She said her most privileged moment was introducing and honoring a member of her Vancouver congregation, Roelie Nederlof, who has been a pastor’s spouse for more than 65 years. Her husband, Rev. Bas Nederlof, passed away this winter.

Vanderveen said, “Roelie urged us to ‘love the people’ in our congregation, to pray for them, and to acknowledge how seasons in ministry are sometimes interspersed with tears, but still are very joyful.”

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