Ken Verhulst ministered with a passion for social justice spurred on by his experiences as a seminary intern at Manhattan Christian Reformed Church in Harlem, N.Y., and his walk with Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. He sought to live out Jesus’ call to extend love, justice, and mercy to people who are marginalized. Verhulst died on June 22 from complications related to Lewy Body Dementia.
After his graduation from Calvin Theological Seminary and ordination in 1966, Verhulst served the following congregations: Nobleford (Alta.) CRC; The Lighthouse, an inner city ministry in Toronto, Ont.; Peace Community CRC, Calgary, Alta., which he served as a church planter; and Christ Community Church of East Islip, N.Y., where he stayed until his retirement in 2006.
Verhulst was a playful and loving grandfather and an avid lover of music. In Toronto he took up the autoharp so he could help lead the singing during services at The Lighthouse. He sang in choirs in New York until his illness took his voice away. After retirement, Verhulst was an active member of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he served as elder until his health declined. Many there were touched and inspired by his openness and honesty about his disease.
Verhulst is survived by his children, Kimberley Joy, Kari Jo, and Michael Glenn, and their spouses; and by two grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Kathy, in 1995.