A beloved chaplain, Russ Van Antwerpen was a humble man with an open, ready smile, who dedicated his life to serving God and God’s people. He died Oct. 3 at age 65 following a brain aneurysm.
At Calvin Theological Seminary, Russ increasingly felt called to cross-cultural ministry. An early internship at a small church in a disadvantaged part of Chicago taught him lessons about the trauma of racism and poverty in parishioners’ lives. He learned it’s not always what you say but how you listen that comforts those who are suffering, weary and sad.
Following graduation and ordination in 1982, Russ pastored the CRC American Indian Chapel in Chicago until it closed in 1987. He and his wife, Pat, then spent nine years in the Philippines with Christian Reformed World Missions (now Resonate Global Mission). He went on to serve Faith Community Church in Zillah, Wash., before turning to chaplaincy.
After two years of Clinical Pastoral Education in Harlingen, Texas, Russ joined the pastoral care team at Hamot Hospital in Erie, Penn., before becoming chaplain at the continuing care retirement community of Southampton Estates outside Philadelphia. He served and loved those residents for 10 years, and they loved him. He had planned to retire in June 2020.
Russ played the trombone for many years. He and Pat enjoyed biking the Delaware River trails and creating art.
Just as Russ affected many people in life, he continues to do so in death, giving many a new life through organ donation. He is mourned by Pat, his wife of 33 years, two children and their spouses, and two grandchildren.