Pastor, preacher, church planter, chaplain, teacher, organic farmer. In all these roles, Arlan Koppendrayer had an ability to connect with others and a desire to tell people about the unwavering and sustaining love God had for them as God’s image-bearers. Koppendrayer, age 63, died Dec. 24 after a sudden stroke.
He was born in Princeton, Minn., the youngest of 12 children, on a farm his family had been working since the early 1900s. A graduate of Calvin College (now University) and Seminary, he was ordained in 1989, and went on to pastor West Leonard Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Zion CRC in Oshawa, Ont. He then became the founding pastor of Hope Fellowship Church in Courtice, Ont. For the next 17 years he was a Bible and history teacher and chaplain at Avail Academy High School (formerly Calvin Christian High School) in Minneapolis, Minn., and preached often in Classis Lake Superior.
Along the way, Koppendrayer, together with his wife and children, started The Long Siding Farm, a USDA-certified organic fruit and vegetable farm on several acres near the original homestead. In 2017 Koppendrayer planted Trinity Hill Church in Chanhassen, Minn., where he served until his death. “He tended Trinity Hill Church in much the same way that he tended the crops on his hobby farm,” says a tribute on Trinity Hill’s website. “He ‘enriched the soil of the church’ through his teaching and preaching so that those in the congregation would flourish as followers of Christ.”
Koppendrayer is survived by Susan, his loving wife of 36 years; their three children; and nine siblings.