Newest Synod Officer to Be Elected Tuesday Morning
Election to the office of vice president is a three-year commitment to the work of the General Synod, General Synod Council, and the Board of Benefits Services. After serving at the pleasure of or in the absence of the president in the first year, the vice president typically is the sole nominee for president.
EJ de Waard is pastor of Owasco Reformed Church in Owasco, New York, where he has served for the last six years. He previously pastored Bethany Christian Reformed Church in Fenwick, Ontario, and Bethel Reformed Church in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He interned at Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount, California. In the past, he has served on General Synod Council and has been involved in both church planting and revitalization. De Waard earned his M.Div. from Providence Theological Seminary in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He says he brings to the role of vice president “obedience in the strength of the Holy Spirit” to follow the call to worship God; “pastoral obedience in the strength of the Holy Spirit to disciple”; and “a robust Reformed understanding” of Scripture, church, and life. He and his wife Sharen have three children and six grandchildren.
Bob Hoffman is pastor of First Reformed Church of Berne, New York, where he has served for his entire ministry. He is a graduate of Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and received his M.Div. from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He has served as stated clerk for the Classis of Schoharie, and currently is the administrator for the Regional Synod of Albany. God has worked in Bob’s life through the Clergy Coach Network, which has helped him engage in mentoring, nurturing, and walking in spiritual growth with fellow colleagues in ministry. He has also seen God work through Faithwalking and coaching a congregation through Ridder Church Renewal. If elected to the office of vice president, Bob will bring “honesty, integrity, and harmony” and “look for ways to bring a spirit of unity” among those he works with. Bob and his wife, Becky, have 9 children and 20 grandchildren.
Billy Norden is copastor of The Community Church, an RCA ministry in Ada, Michigan, serving with his wife, Mara Joy. Previously, he was the associate minister of Wyckoff Reformed Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey. He also has served on the executive committees of the Classis of North Grand Rapids and the Regional Synod of the Great Lakes, and on the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders steering committee, funded by a Lilly grant. “My primary core value as an officer of the General Synod would be workability,” says Norden. “I think most of us can acknowledge that things are not working well in our life together. In every meeting, conversation, and listening session, I will seek to understand what workability would look like for each pastor, leader, and congregation, so that all may fully live into their call to follow Christ.” Norden earned his M.Div. from Western Theological Seminary. He and his wife have two sons.
Jonathan Vanderbeck is pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Rotterdam, New York. Previously he has served as interim minister of youth and outreach at First Reformed Church of Schenectady. He currently chairs the Overtures and Judicial Business Committee of Schenectady Classis, has served as interim stated clerk, and assists with preparing and training preaching elders. Jonathan also maintains a small counseling practice through Samaritan Counseling Center in Scotia, New York, as one of the resident psychotherapists. When asked about seeking the vice presidency, Jonathan said, “I believe God is doing something special with our denomination. I believe in where God has taken us in this synod and where God will take us moving forward.” Jonathan earned his M.Div. from Western Theological Seminary and his MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.