Clarence Van Ens was a people person, an extrovert to whom people were drawn as to a magnet. For more than 50 years, this man of God and fearless ambassador for Christ served Christian Reformed congregations around the world, from the United States to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Australia, and the Philippines. Van Ens died on August 16 at the age of 96.
After graduation from Calvin Theological Seminary, Van Ens completed graduate studies at Westminster Theological Seminary. He served the following Christian Reformed ministries: Prospect Street CRC, Passaic, N.J.; campus pastor at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo; and Oasis Community CRC, Orland, Fla. He served “on loan” to Box Hill Reformed Church in Australia.
In 1952, Van Ens and his twin brother, John, answered the call to go overseas to co-pastor the Dutch Reformed Church (now the Christian Reformed Church) of Sri Lanka. During his 14 years in that country, Van Ens served several churches, taught Old Testament Studies, including Hebrew, at the Seminary in Kohuwala, and edited the denominational publication, The Herald.
In his retirement Van Ens continued to work, pastoring Grace Church in Indian Harbor Beach, Fla., and then Trinity Presbyterian Church in Satellite Beach, Fla. “For him there was no retirement in the kingdom of God,” said his wife, Theresa. He was then off again to the Philippines. Returning to the U.S. in 1991, Van Ens served as the minister of pastoral care at the large Suntree United Methodist Church in Melbourne, Fla., until he “really” retired in 2010.
A former college athlete, Van Ens was an avid fan of The University of Michigan Wolverines and the Detroit Tigers, both of which he eagerly watched on television.
Van Ens will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Theresa, his children George Van Ens and Margaret Ingold, and by eight grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife, Margaret.