Gordon Van Enk served in parish ministry for 25 years and was hoping to also serve 25 years as a hospice chaplain. That was cut short by ten months, however, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer June 30, 2017. Van Enk received treatment that extended his life for two years and allowed him to enjoy his hobbies. He died Oct. 12.
“He truly loved people,” said Chaplaincy and Care Ministry director, Sarah Roelofs. “It was evident in his warm and humble presence. He had a servant's heart.”
Following ordination in 1966, Van Enk pastored Atwood (Mich.) CRC; Crossroads CRC in Madison, Wisc.; and Crenshaw CRC in Los Angeles, Calif. He then took a year of Clinical Pastoral Education at UCLA before he began serving at VITAS (Innovative Hospice Care) in Torrance, Calif.
A gentle, kind and patient man, Van Enk did what he thought was right even if he had to pay a personal price. He was concerned about gender, racial, and economic inequality, as well as climate change and what he believed to be a lack of respect for LGBTQ persons. He loved gardening and reading, especially in the areas of history, astronomy, and politics. He spent time reading Latin and Hebrew until the day he died. He treasured good relationships with family and friends.
Van Enk is survived by Barbara, his wife of 54 years, five children, and seven grandchildren.