Bill Kooienga was a warm, kind, gentle, thoughtful, joy-filled man of God. He had a quiet demeanor and a subtle sense of humor. He served as a preacher faithful to God’s Word and was a compassionate pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for 38 years. He passed away peacefully on July 12 at the age of 82.
Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., Kooienga attended Michigan State University, where he experienced the call to the ministry. He went on to graduate from Calvin College and complete a Masters and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary in California. He wrote and published the book Elements of Style for Preaching as well as numerous articles.
Ordained in 1963, Kooienga served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Clara City, Minn.; Fourth Paterson, Wyckoff, N.J. (while pastoring Fourth Paterson, the building was destroyed by fire; after three years of his leadership, the church relocated and became Faith Community); First, Crown Point, Ind.; and First, Thunder Bay, Ont.
He served on the board of World Missions (now Resonate Global Mission) for several years, which created a desire to serve abroad. After retirement in 2001, the Kooiengas went to Malawi and Uganda, where he taught at the African Bible Colleges. This experience was life-changing. He enjoyed camping and hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and in the Rocky Mountains with his family, whom he loved dearly. He also enjoyed travel and photography.
Left to cherish his memories are his wife of 59 years, Marilyn, their five children and spouses, and six grandchildren.