Grandville-Jenison Congregational Church

  Bible-Based Teaching   
Christ-Centered Living

Meet the Pastor

            
                                                                             

I was born December 16 and raised in New Jersey. My mother, Catherine, died at the age of 33 of heart related issues when I was 8 months old. She and my Dad were so excited because I arrived following two miscarriages. I never got to know her. My father, Pete, had his own small painting and decorating business and was a hard working man. He also passed away young, at the age of 47 following 1 1/2 years of heart related issues. I was 12. It was my Uncle John and Aunt Tryna (my Mom's sister who attends church with us) who took this little "terror" into their home. The gray hair she has today can be attributed to yours truly. Aunt Tryna can tell you quite the stories about me!
   I graduated from Eastern Christian High School in North Haledon, New Jersey in 1959. Interests in school were certainly NOT academic and revolved primarily around sports, specifically running track and cross-country. When I review grades I received in high school, I marvel how I ever graduated! I had absolutely no intention or motivation to go to college.
   My Dad had been a pretty good ice skater in his day and in 1964 competed in the Silver Skates in Madison Square Garden, New York City. This fact had always piqued my interest in speed skating. At 17 as a senior in high school, I thought I would give it the All-American try! Seventeen is a bit old to begin a sport if you have any aspirations of "making it big". However, I won several races, was noticed by some of the coaches, and was on my way! After high school I continued to compete while working for 11 years for Marlow Pumps in Midland Park, N.J. Ultimately, I qualified for National Team and Olympic Trials for the 1968 Olympics.
   A whole set of situations which God put in my life (and which were too much to be coincidental!) turned my life topsy-turvey and I became a Christian. God called and I returned to school at Calvin College & Seminary in 1970 after skating in circles for 11 years! I graduated with a double major in Psychology and Religion.
   At Calvin, I was sitting comfortably in the Coffee Shop one day enjoying a good cup of coffee and Barb sat at the booth next to me and proceeded to "pick me up". You'll have to ask her about that one! At any rate, we were married (I'll never forget! --one of those days I just love!) on a very, very, very hot July 19, 1974! There isn't a day that I do not thank God for that day she "picked me up" in the Coffee Shop!!! God does have a plan for each of our lives!
   Barb and I have 4 wonderful children we are very proud of: Matt, Mike, Mary & Marcy. Yeah! You're right! All M's! And they have blessed our lives again with 8 grandchildren and #9 on the way! Love them all! Aren't grandkids great!
   About our kids: Matt is a Coach with the U.S. Long Track Speed skating Team in Salt Lake. He has 2 children and is married to Sammy. Mike is presently Coach of the German National Short Track Speed skating Team, living in Dresden (after coaching the US in the last Olympics). Mary is a busy mom of 5 and has her own photography business, MD Photography. She is married to Steve. Marcy has her Master's Degree in Social Work, and works for Bethany Christian Services. Her hubby, Raidel, pastors a church in Chandler, Minn. They have 1 child with another on the way.
   Following graduation for Calvin, I earned another degree from what in now Kuyper College, in Religious Education. I've served 2 churches in Grand Rapids and Three Rivers, in addition to working on the Psych. Unit at Kent Oaks Psychiatric Hospital in Grand Rapids. Twelve years ago, after being involved in a serious auto accident, I resigned from full-time ministry due to inability to fulfill full-time responsibilities. I began custodial work at Ada Christian School where Barb taught Pre-school and 1st grade, but continued preaching at various churches on Sundays - something I always loved greatly! Pastor Gord Negen met me one Sunday when I preached at a large Northeast Grand Rapids church. He asked if I might be interested in taking a Sunday service now and then at Grandville-Jenison Congregational to help him out. AND...here I am!!! 

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