Kelly Vander Woude, pastor of Trinity Christian Reformed Church in Ames, Iowa, is the first volunteer chaplain for the Ames Police Department as well as the city’s other emergency services.
Before becoming a pastor, Vander Woude earned a B.A. in criminal justice from Washington State University. He thought that God was calling him to be a police officer. Now he gets to help the police and community. He said he will be doing whatever is needed, “anything from general relationship-building, going on ride-alongs [to] visiting them in the hospital, rejoicing with them in their joys, crying with them in their pains.” He will be available to visit with and talk to victims of crimes as well as their families.
Vander Woude says his role “is to build relationships and network with other people within the community to help each officer and their family.”
The church has been completely on board with his new position in addition to his full time position as pastor. He explained, “We all firmly believe that the church is more than her four walls. Trinity has a passion for her community.”