Diaconal Coaches

British Columbia


Bart Plugboer, Topley
Classis British Columbia (NW)

Bart has served the church as a deacon for 4 terms, has been active in many community initiatives and has been instrumental in the development and promotion of Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) activities. He is the consummate deacon and believes that "diaconal work is at the core of the ministry of the church, because deacons are called to love people."


Stefanie Unger, Nanaimo
Classis British Columbia (NW/Vancouver Island)

Stefanie lives in Nanaimo, BC, and works as an organizational development consultant, helping nonprofit organizations solve organizational challenges, develop effective leadership and plan for the future. A lifelong learner with a background in education, research, professional writing and facilitation, she feels called to help nurture cultures of service and collaboration in the church. She and her husband, Jeff, have been part of Christ Community Church in Nanaimo since 2009.


Pastor Kelli Sexton, Nanaimo
Classis British Columbia (NW/Vancouver Island)

Kelli was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 2015 with her Master of Divinity. After graduation, Kelli worked half-time at a church overseeing discipleship and outreach. Further, she took over as the Diaconal Coordinator for the Zeeland Diaconal Conference; in this role she was blessed to serve the deacons at 18 churches, providing quarterly training and acting as an on-call resource for them in the interim. Kelli also worked to connect the diaconal ministries of those churches with opportunities and fellow service agencies in their communities. Kelli moved to Nanaimo in July of 2018 to begin serving as the Associate Pastor at Christ Community Church of Nanaimo.


rsz_gary_editedGary Veeneman, Abbotsford
Classis British Columbia (SE/NW)

Gary has served 3 terms as deacon, including 2 terms as chair and 1 term as treasurer. He has served as chair of the Diaconal Ministries Canada board (2002-03), and was involved in the formation of Diaconal Ministries Canada in the mid 1990s. He believes diaconates are empowered when each deacon develops his or her own workplan.


Alberta & Saskatchewan

rsz_lucinda_editedLucinda Klapwyk, Edmonton
Classis Alberta North

Lucinda is a homemaker and spends her day "filing in the cracks" of school, church and community. She enjoys visiting families and seniors, supporting school programs, teaching Sunday school, and participating in worship services. She has served Inglewood CRC as a deacon and continues to stay in contact with several of the community members she met during her term. Her latest gig is holding coffee chats the twice a month for anyone who wants to pick her brain about diaconal work!


rsz_jean_editedJean deBeer, Saskatoon
Classis Alberta South & Saskatchewan

Jean works full time as a practical nurse at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. She has served as deacon at Bethel CRC in Saskatoon and enjoys involvement with refugee families her church has sponsored. Jean's focus is encouraging deacons in their role within the church and local community, and bridging the isolation churches in Saskatoon and Regina can experience.


Jolyn Bolderheij, Calgary
Classis Alberta South & Saskatchewan

Jolyn has a heart for those who are struggling and who are traveling a difficult road in their lives. Her background involves working as an RN in cancer and palliative care and teaching at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Nursing. Through the years she has volunteered with the homeless, helped resettle refugees and served on her congregation’s Safe Church committee. Along with her husband, Jolyn attends River Park Church in Calgary where she has been the chairperson of the deacons for two terms. During that time, she has been heavily involved in refugee sponsorships, benevolence work and visitation. She enjoys exploring how we, as deacons, can best equip ourselves to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our churches and communities.



John Klein-Geltink, Ingersoll
Classis Chatham

John has served 5 times as deacon, 14 years as a Diaconal Coach, and as a board member/volunteer with a local outreach ministry. His passion is to help the Church have a bigger vision of what the local community could become and walk alongside deacons as they lead the local church. He wholeheartedly supports and encourages asset-based community development so that churches can avoid harming the ones they aim to serve. Confused? Ask him about it!


rsz_fred_editedFred VanderSterre, Brussels
Classis Huron

Fred is a member of the Blyth Christian Reformed Church and lives on a farm where he and his wife Henrietta raised five children, who are all out of the house by now.

Fred has served as a deacon several times and as a Diaconal Coach he has been a helpful resource to fellow deacons in Classis Huron for many years.


Marcia Hosmar, Hamilton
Classis Hamilton

Marcia is really looking forward to being a Diaconal Coach. Hamilton has been her home for almost 20 years. Her husband, Jim, teaches at a local Christian school and their three children are completing various levels of education. When family activities don’t consume all of her time, she enjoys biking, reading, and camping - and anything dealing with food creativity in the kitchen.

Marcia says that "being passionate about outreach and hospitality has allowed me to use my gifts as a Deacon at Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster." She is involved in their Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre and enjoys ministry in various capacities.


rsz_1len_editedLen Bakelaar, Lynden
Classis Huron

Len has been a Diaconal Coach for over 10 years. He is semi-retired with lots on the go. He and his wife work as Regional Advocates for Disability Concerns, and are involved in rebuilding projects a couple of times per year with World Renew Disaster Response Services. Len's desire is to motivate deacons so that their meetings are a place where they can confide in each other, inspire each other, and hold each other accountable as they serve their church and community.


Teda Heerema, Thunder Bay
Classis Lake Superior

Teda Heerema belongs to Hope CRC in Thunder Bay, ON. She has served as a Deacon for one term and has come to understand the importance of the deacon role in our churches. Over the years she has also served with Teen Club, Gems, Sunday School and VBS. With her wealth of experience in ministry, she is excited to now serve as a Diaconal Coach!

Teda is married with three grown children and is a grandmother. Her lifelong profession is in Critical Care Nursing. She enjoys sewing and the outdoors: canoeing, hiking, and gardening. "My God and Saviour has helped me through many rough patches in my life and I long for others to have assurance of this in their life as well."

Teda will be serving the churches in Thunder Bay and Emo, Ontario!


rsz_bill (1)_editedBill Groot-Nibbelink, Frankford
Classis Quinte

Bill worked for a number of years for the Ministry of Agriculture & Food out of Brighton, ON, and is now enjoying retirement. He has lived in several parts of the province over the years, and has been a member of CRCs in Cornwall, Mount Brydges, Hagersville, and Frankford. He has served on council in three of those churches and is a graduate of the Eastern Canada Leadership Development Network. Bill's focus as a Diaconal Coach is to encourage deacons in their efforts to further Christ's kingdom in the region.


Eastern Canada

Anita Hogeveen, Stittsville, ON
Classis Eastern Canada (Ontario churches)

“Where’s the strength to keep my hopes up? What future do I have to keep me going? Do you think I have nerves of steel? Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps? Why, I don’t even have any boots!” [Job 6:11-13; The Message]

Anita reminds us that being a Christian means being part of diakonia; to serve among others. The word deacon comes from the Greek word 'diakonos' which means servant, waiting-man, minister or messenger. It is every person’s calling to serve others: to bring Christ’s message of love and acceptance wherever we go. This message comes through words, deeds, listening, empathetic presence, laughter, etc. Predominantly for Anita, it means creating safe spaces whenever it is in her purview to do so. "The tricky part is ensuring a healthy life balance. Prayer is an essential piece in the equation."


Karla Winham, Lower Onslow, NS
Classis Eastern Canada (Maritime churches)

Karla has served as a deacon at John Calvin CRC in Truro, NS and is still an active member of the church's Justice League. She is interested in many issues of social justice, but is especially passionate about encouraging and helping people to love their neighbours in their own communities. Karla is a Speech-Language Pathologist and lives in Lower Onslow with her husband and 3 kids.


Don't See a Coach in Your Area?

Contact our Head office or one of our Field Staff and they will be able to help you out!

Diaconal Ministries Canada
Telephone: (905) 336-2920
Toll-free: 1-800-730-3490
E-mail: dmc@crcna.org

Tammy Heidbuurt - Eastern Canada

Rachel Vroege - Western Canada

Become a Coach

As a Coach, you will help diaconates in your area connect with resources, generate vision, set goals, and fulfill the greatest sense of their calling as church leaders. These part­-time positions come with compensation and full training.

If you are feeling the pull of the Lord’s leading, get in touch with us - we'd love to chat!

Diaconal Ministries Canada
Telephone: (905) 336-2920
Toll-free: 1-800-730-3490
E-mail: dmc@crcna.org

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For general inquiries, please contact
our office by phone or email.

Telephone: (905) 336-2920
Toll-free: 1-800-730-3490
E-mail: dmc@crcna.org

3475 Mainway Drive
PO Box 5070, STN LCD 1
Burlington, Ontario L7R 3Y8



Diaconal Ministries Canada is a partner agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.