Synod 2017 met the Christian Reformed Church’s new director of Chaplaincy and Care on Monday.
Adopted from Korea at two years old, Rev. Sarah Roelofs grew up in Pella, Iowa, and attended Dordt College. “I fell in love with the church because the church loved me so well.”
During her college years, her pastor encouraged her to pursue ministry as a military chaplain. “That’s the story of how people have spoken into my life, spoken that truth, cared, and loved me,” she said.
As director, Roelofs said she brings “energy and a diverse set of experiences” to the job, which she began two months ago. She has enjoyed becoming part of the leadership team: “The directors are passionate and care so much.”
Chaplains receive specialized training to give them “a firm theological basis to speak truth of Christ into times of crisis,” said Roelofs. “Without that beautiful, solid theology, we can easily lose our bearing and our pastoral authority.”
Roelofs spoke of the challenges that chaplains face in a secularizing society: “It’s not ‘What church do you attend?’ but ‘Do you have a spirituality?’ It’s not about same-sex marriage but gender identity. Chaplains are having conversations about death and dying in places where assisted suicide is now legal,” she said.
She told delegates, “My desire is that chaplains are connected to the church, themselves, God, community, and the world.”
Synod 2017 is meeting at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., from June 9-15. For continuous coverage, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases and the webcast, please visit crcna.org. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.