Pastor, professor, writer, translator, editor and Holy Land tour guide, Sierd Woudstra, was a kind and open-minded man who loved talking to people of all faiths and learning from them. A very positive person, he looked for the best in everyone and always had an affirming word. Woudstra died March 22. He was 92.
Born in Friesland, the Netherlands, the oldest of 10 children, Woudstra felt called to ministry from an early age. He completed correspondence courses while working in a bank and served two years in the Dutch Army. He immigrated to Canada in 1952 and then moved to the U.S. where he enrolled at Calvin College (now University). After graduating from Calvin College and Seminary, he obtained a Masters of Theology degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. After ordination in 1961 Woudstra served Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Ottawa, Ont. During this time, he also earned a Doctor of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary.
In 1965 Woudstra accepted a faculty position at Dordt College (now University) in Sioux Center, Iowa, as Assistant Professor of Bible. In 1967 he returned to Calvin Seminary to serve as Theological Librarian and also as an Old Testament lecturer. In 1972 he had the opportunity to teach at the Reformed Theological College in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. He then pastored Good News CRC in Hobart, Tasmania, after which he returned to Calvin College to teach Religion and Theology. In 1984 he became the final editor of De Wachter for one year. He then went on to pastor Kelloggsville CRC in Kentwood, Mich., and Princeton CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., before retiring in 1993.
Woudstra will be missed by his six children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Allerdina, his wife of 60 years, died in 2013. He was also predeceased by 16-year-old daughter, Katherine, in 1972 and newborn granddaughter, Hannah, in 1994.