A man of perseverance and empathy, Henry Jonker is also described as forward-thinking, nonjudgmental, thoughtful, and a good listener. He loved the Scriptures, was passionate about preaching and never turned down an opportunity to serve, even in retirement. A highlight of his career was seeing the offices of ministry open to women. Henry died Dec. 9, three months after being diagnosed with lymphoma.
Born in Groningen, Netherlands, Henry immigrated with his family in 1958 to Calgary, Alta. He later graduated from Calvin College (now University) and Seminary and was ordained in 1974. He went on to pastor four congregations across Canada: Maranatha Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alta; Trinity CRC in St. Catharines, Ont.; Victoria (B.C.) CRC; Ladner CRC in Delta, B.C. While in Edmonton and St. Catharines, Henry took turns with other local pastors to offer worship services in Dutch. Throughout his ministry, Henry served on many denominational committees, including as a delegate to several synods and as a synodical deputy (minister appointed by synod to serve a regional group of churches on synod’s behalf).
Following retirement in 2011, the Jonkers moved back to Victoria. He continued to serve as a specialized transitional minister (interim pastor with specified training) in Duncan, B.C., was the regional pastor for Vancouver Island, and enjoyed preaching in all five CRC churches on the island.
Henry loved the outdoors, camping, fishing, hiking and running, as well as traveling. In the summer of 2020, the Jonkers celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
He will be forever missed by his wife, Stien; three children and their spouses; and nine grandchildren.