Dining Hall Diva

Dining Hall Diva
Mary Ann Stronk is an enthusiastic dining hall greeter.
Photo by Steven Herppich
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Mary Ann Stronk might well be the most popular person at Synod 2022. Stronk has a very outgoing presence as the breakfast and lunch check-in person at the main dining hall entrance on the campus of Calvin University where the Christian Reformed Church’s general assembly is meeting.

“See you at breakfast!” delegate after delegate called out to her as they left the dining hall. “I’ll have coffee ready for you!” Stronk called back cheerily. A few days into synod, she is greeting many of the delegates by name.

“My goal is to make people’s day better,” Stronk confided. “I might be the first person to say hello to them in the morning.”

Stronk grew up on a farm, where she learned to get up early and get going. She admits that she is extremely extroverted. “I’m just out there! My daughter says I’ve never met a stranger.”

Stronk has worked in food service for 20 years, but this is her first time serving synod delegates. Thanks to a “bum knee,” she has traded cooking for greeting—a situation that seems to suit her perfectly.


Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod, download the Banner app on your mobile device, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or twitter.com/crcna. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s livestream, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources at crcna.org/synod

About the Author

Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who lives in the woods with her artist husband James and their five children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. They are members of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham.

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