After more than 50 years of service to the Christian Reformed Church, Rev. Louis Tamminga has retired to spend time reading, relaxing, and being with his family.
Tamminga, 78, served for the past 12 years as a pastor to missionaries around the world with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and Christian Reformed World Missions.
He corresponded with missionaries and met with them when they were in North America on home service. He and his wife, Jean, also held retreats for missionaries in many places around the world.
“We were able to cover the entire missionary force at one time or another,” he says. Besides providing a time for spiritual renewal for missionaries, the retreats provided time for them to relax, share stories, and offer support to one another.
“I have very fond memories of these retreats. We would hold little sessions and talk about some aspect of emotional, mental, spiritual, or relational life.”
Born in the Netherlands, Tamminga grew up during the German occupation of that country during World War II. After the war he emigrated to Canada, then moved to the United States to attend Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary.
Following graduation from the seminary in 1957, he went on to serve three churches in Canada and one in the United States. Then, following approval from synod, he was appointed as the CRC’s first director of Pastor-Church Relations, in 1983.
In 1995 Tamminga spent time writing a handbook for elders in the church and helped to fill the pulpit of a church in Canada that was without a pastor.
In 1996 the directors of CRWM and CRWRC asked him to join their staffs in bringing pastoral care to missionaries abroad. They mutually agreed he would work as a volunteer on a half-time basis.
Tamminga says what has impressed him the most and helped to build his own faith has been to see how missionaries experienced setbacks and disappointments but never gave up, and if necessary started over, always relying on the prayers and support of their sending church.
As he looks back on his career, Tamminga says he takes comfort in knowing that he has been there when people needed him. “I trust that I have made a difference.”