Rev. Jerrien Gunnink, 83, gifted preacher, genial pastor, doctrinally well-versed, known for his wisdom and humor, and acquainted with grief, passed away on April 24 from complications after an unfortunate fall.
Gunnink was born in Edgerton, Minn., and attended school in Chandler. Early on, he longed to enter the gospel ministry, which led him to attend Calvin College. He graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in l953. Westminster Seminary, Escondido campus, awarded him a doctorate in ministry degree in 1988.
Gunnink was not exempted from sorrow. Two years after he married his wife, Henrietta, in 1951, she died in a car accident in 1953. Two sons also preceded him in death.
His first charge was Holland (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church.
In l955 Gunninnk married Ida Noordmans. He and Ida would serve five more congregations: Millbrook CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.; First CRC in Grand Haven, Mich.; Providence CRC in Holland, Mich.; First CRC in Denver, Colo.; and Manhattan (Mont.) CRC.
He retired in l994.
Gunnink loved preaching. He was gifted speaker, very much in tune with his audiences, a devout student of the Word, and intellectually active through old age. He wrote two books that received a wide reception: Preaching for Recovery in a Strife-Torn Church and Revelation 101: What in the World Is Jesus Doing Now? His preaching remained relevant and contemporaneous, as well as doctrinally well-founded.
Gunnink was kind, cheerful, and thoughtful, a loving “people person.” He had a keen sense of duty and was a superb administrator and teacher. In the churches he served, unity became a treasured gift.
During their retirement years, Jerry and Ida served eighteen churches that were without a pastor at the time. He also became an accomplished woodworker and restored many old cars.
Gunnink is survived by his wife, Ida, and their children: Jerry Allen and Ena Gunnink, D. Steven and Nancy Gunnink, Judy (whose husband, Paul Gunnink, died in 2007), eight grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.