Hello from Pastor Joan DeVries
Hello Fleetwood congregation! As I begin my new position with you in July, I’d like to introduce myself a bit. My husband Frank and I have been married for 39 years this July. We love living in Fort Langley, and Hope Community in Surrey has been our home congregation. We have 3 married children (34, 32, & 28) all of whom we left behind in Ontario when we moved here. On top of that we are now Oma and Opa to 3 little grandchildren and another one is anticipated in December (DV). So you can understand why, if we’re not here, we might be in Ontario!
I have been ordained as a CRC pastor since 2002 (20 years!) and was Senior pastor at Clarkson CRC which became ClearView CRC in Oakville, ON. After my years there I began my PhD studies (in Theology) at McMaster Divinity College. During my studies I also took interim pastoral positions at 2 other congregations (consecutively), and worked at Tyndale University & Seminary.
Along the way I trained as a Specialized Transitional Minister (STM) ~ a pastor equipped with a specific toolbox to help congregations through transition in whatever way that is needed: healing from hurts or conflict, taking stock of where they have been, re-visioning for the future, etc. This is a different role than that of “Interim Pastor” such as what Bert Slofstra blessed you with this past year. [The denominational office of Pastor-Church Resources oversees these ministry persons and opportunities; for more information click here ] From 2016-2018 I served a congregation in Toronto in this way as STM, and then from 2018 until the present I have been teaching at Trinity Western University. Sadly the program for which I was hired (Worship Arts) was forced to close due to the pandemic and other pressures, so I am happy to use my pastoral gifts for a year at Fleetwood.
I am so looking forward to preaching at Fleetwood regularly and getting involved in the leadership of the congregation. Obviously though, I am but one small person and I can’t take on the work of what 2 pastors used to do! So your leadership and I are still working out what my main pastoral priorities might be aside from preaching, leadership, “transition work,” and some pastoral care. I think you have a great staff, and I’ve enjoyed working with them in the past when I preached there. In addition, you have some very capable leaders who have already worked on some of the “transition” material. I will be installed on Sunday July 10.
One thing you should know if I visit you: I am diabetic. It is currently controlled through diet, medication, and exercise. So there is no need to supply me with sugary treats if I come by; sometimes I might take a small cookie or so. I love strong coffee —with cream (or milk) but I might already have had enough by the time I come to visit. I will let you know. 😊