Family members describe Art Stienstra as a righteous man, quick to offer compassion and forgiveness to others. After his death on November 26 at age 93, one former parishioner said in tribute, “His sermons were inspiring, his care for the congregation was genuine, and his kindness was never lacking.”
Art was born in Sneek, the Netherlands. Following studies in business and economics at Wageningen Academy in the Netherlands, he joined the Netherlands Armed Forces in 1949 as a lieutenant. After discharge in 1952 he immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, married his Frisian bride who had followed him to Canada, then immigrated to the U.S. to study at Calvin College (now University) and Seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich. After graduation Art attended Kampen Theological University, a well-known international university in the Netherlands for the academic study of Reformed theology.
After ordination in 1962, Art served Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church. He then became the founding pastor of Faith CRC in New Brighton, Minn. After a year’s break for Clinical Pastoral Education, he pastored Hawarden (Iowa) CRC; Silver Spring (Md.) CRC; Trinity CRC, Ames, Iowa; and Immanuel CRC, Fort Collins, Colo. During those years he also worked as a community college instructor and as a hospital chaplain in Mankato, Minn. After retiring in 1992, Art continued to serve several churches as an interim pastor.
Art enjoyed traveling in his RV and was said to be able to start conversations with anyone and everyone.
Predeceased by Wieke, his wife of 67 years, Art is survived by five children and their spouses, nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.