Diaconal Coaches are trained and experienced in diaconal work.

They are ready and willing to guide deacons in their role.

Our coaches will work together with you to learn how to engage with your community, promote stewardship in your congregation, live justly and love mercy—and work out your calling in your church and community.

Find YOUR Coach now!

British Columbia

Gary Veeneman, Abbotsford
Classis British Columbia South East

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.

Gary is currently serving the churches in Agassiz, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Langley.


David Hornor, Chilliwack
Classis British Columbia SE & BC North West

Dave is married to Dianne and together they have three married children and five grandkids. He retired from the CRC pastorate in 2022 and wants to use his ministry experience to encourage, equip, walk alongside, and learn from deacons.

Although Dave has never formally served as a deacon, he was very actively involved in diaconal ministry at Peace Community CRC in Houston, TX. Together with the rest of the congregation, the deacons of this small service-minded church helped rebuild homes destroyed by massive flooding during Hurricane Harvey. Restoring shalom and wholeness brings Dave joy!

More recently, he has co-led training sessions for elders and deacons among the Hispanic church plants and organized congregations of the SE Texas region of Classis Rocky Mountain.

Dave and Dianne live in Chilliwack and recently returned to Canada after sixteen years in Texas. They enjoy biking the Vedder Rotary trail and spending time with their kids and grandkids.

David is excited to serve the churches in Surrey and Ladner (BCSE) and Richmond, Maple Ridge, Burnaby, and Vancouver (BCNW).


Classis British Columbia NW

We are currently working hard to find a coach for northern BC (Duncan, Houston, Smithers, Telkwa, Terrace) AND Vancouver Island.

Could it be you? Send us an email and we'd love to chat: dmc@crcna.org.

Alberta & Saskatchewan

Erika Repka, Wabamun
Classis Alberta North
(Edmonton area churches)

Erika is passionate about diaconate work, and believes that the servant-ministry attitude of deacons is the lifelong calling of all Christ-followers. With a high value for community and connection, Erika has a heart for work in the areas of addiction recovery, prison ministry & inmate reintegration, feeding & caring for the homeless, and finding healing from breaking the cycle of abuse.

Erika lives in Wabamun, AB, with her husband Bill, where they love to go for walks and connect with their neighbours over a backyard fire. Erika loves learning, reading, listening to music, and being in nature. Erika served a partial term as deacon at First CRC in downtown Edmonton, where she attended for 28 years.

Erika is excited to explore this new role and hopes her passions and life experience will inspire both the deacons and their congregations of the Edmonton CRC's.


Marg Hoogland, Lacombe
Classis Alberta North
(Central Alberta)

Marg is interested in reading, digital scrapbooking, painting, photography, and travel. She is always ready for the next adventure. She serves as a board member of Northern Alberta Diaconal Conference (NADC), World Renew, and the local Mission Thrift Store. She and her husband, Jake, have lived out-of-country in Bolivia and Nicaragua, working in agriculture and faith development.

Technology enables her, a life-long learner, to participate in seminars about theology, justice, indigenous studies, and a variety of other topics.

Serving as a diaconal coach is a new adventure; one that she hopes will challenge her and the deacons of the churches in Central Alberta.


Jean deBeer, Saskatoon
Classis Alberta South & Saskatchewan & Classis Lake Superior
(Manitoba churches)

Jean is married to Andy and together they are blessed with 3 married children and 7 grandchildren. She retired in 2014 from her career of working as an LPN, most recently at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

She and Andy are members at Bethel CRC in Saskatoon where she has served as a Deacon. She has been involved with several refugee families who were sponsored by the churches she attended over the years (in Saskatoon and Brampton, ON), has served for six years on the CRC’s Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee, and has been a Diaconal Coach (formerly Diaconal Ministry Developer) for almost 15 years. Recently, on behalf of Diaconal Ministries Canada, she connected with many of the past Coaches and found it to be such a rewarding experience!

Jean’s focus is encouraging deacons in their role within the church and local community, bridging the isolation churches in Saskatoon and Regina can experience. She’s looking forward to connecting with the CRC’s in Manitoba (Winnipeg and Brandon) in her “official” capacity as the Interim Diaconal Coach for Classis Lake Superior (Manitoba churches).


Don't see a Coach in your area?

Contact one of our Regional Ministry Developers and they will be able to help you out!

Mark Vanderwees - Eastern Canada (Manitoba - Maritimes)

Rachel Vroege - Western Canada (BC - Sask)


Classis Lake Superior

Teda Heerema, Thunder Bay
Classis Lake Superior (Thunder Bay churches)

Teda 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!


Classis Toronto

Mark Vanderwees, Brampton
Classis Toronto

Mark is currently serving as a deacon in Crosspoint CRC in Brampton, ON. Mark and his wife, Nancy, returned to Canada in 2019 after spending 28 years working with World Renew in Haiti and Nicaragua. He is looking forward to opportunities to use the skills he learned overseas in a Canadian context. Mark and Nancy have five children, three of which are still living at home. Mark is also our Regional Ministry Developer for Eastern Canada (Manitoba to the Maritimes).


Carol Sybenga, Brampton
Classis Toronto

Carol is currently serving as a deacon in Immanuel CRC, Caledon, and has come to truly appreciate the work of Diaconal Ministries in her role as deacon. She is passionate about working with people, especially newcomers to Canada, and has been part of two refugee sponsorship teams from her church and is working on a possible third application this fall. She has also served two terms as an elder, is a member of her church’s Safe Church team and spent eight years as her church’s Youth Ministry Director. Carol retired in 2017 after spending 17 years as the ServiceLink Director at the CRC office in Burlington. In that role, she worked with people and churches across Canada, facilitating numerous mission opportunities and in the last few years assisting churches in best practices for volunteer engagement.

Since retiring, Carol has served on the Classis Toronto Safe Church team and has enjoyed some travelling. Carol loves photography, spending time with friends and family and daily morning walks where she tries to capture the beauty of God’s creation on her camera. During the Covid winter of 2021, she took the challenge of virtually walking the Camino de Santiago trail, completing the 780kms in three months.

Carol’s focus as a diaconal coach is to encourage deacons in their role and helping build their capacity in serving as Christ’s hands, feet, heart and voice.


Classis Huron

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.


Jane Vander Velden, Kitchener
Classis Huron

Jane is a retired teacher who keeps busy with many activities. She swims everyday, plays the harp, reads, walks, volunteers for a number of organizations and spends lots of time with her 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. Jane enjoys being outside so from May to October, she spends a lot of time camping at her trailer.

Jane has been a deacon in herr church in Kitchener and now enjoys organizing meals for the homeless in her community. Over the years she has been involved in many groups: Sunday School, worship committee and library. She is also involved in her Classis' Mission Committee.

Jane looks forward to her new role as a Coach and hopes to make many connections with the deacons in Classis Huron. She is excited to see what resources she can learn about and share with diaconates.

Email: janevandervelden5318@gmail.com

Classis Ontario South West (formerly Chatham)

John Klein-Geltink, Ingersoll
Classis Ontario South-West

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 people they aim to serve. Confused? Ask him about it!


Anita Plat-Kuiken, London
Classis Ontario South West

Anita is a Local Mission Leader for Resonate Global Mission and an Outreach Ministry Developer for Classis Ontario SW. She believes being a Diaconal Coach will be a good fit as it provides another opportunity for her to be in regular contact with the churches in her Classis.

Anita is a member of Talbot Street Church in London with experience in youth ministry & worship leading and was also their local mission team leader for several years. She formerly taught at London Christian Elementary and London Christian High and is a certified spiritual director with a special interest in working with dreams.

Anita lives in London with her husband plus a dog, and is in the 'revolving door stage' of three children ages 18-23 moving out and then back in again.

Anita looks forward to hearing stories of ministry and encouraging diaconates in showing God’s love to their communities.


Classis Niagara

Pastor Erick Schuringa, Grimsby
Classis Niagara

Erick has been a pastor for 30 years and has always seen a strong connection between diaconal ministry and the mission of the church. He presently works with the deacons of his own congregation, considering himself a teaching deacon. While new to this role himself, he hopes to bring his broader ministry experience to help the deacons in Niagara thrive in church and community ministry.


Classis Hamilton

Alicia Hamming Navarrete, Brantford
Classis Hamilton

Alicia currently lives in Brantford, ON and works remotely as the Director of Mission Advancement for the Nehemiah Center, Nicaragua. As well, Alicia does consultant and coaching work with non-profits seeking to strengthen the effectiveness of their board of directors, develop clear and innovative strategic plans and enhance their organizational capacity.

In 2020, Alicia, her husband, Maynor and two kids moved to Canada after 13 years in Nicaragua. Alicia is a member of First Hamilton CRC. In her free time, you can find Alicia hiking the Bruce Trail with her kids.


Classis Quinte

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.


Classis Eastern Canada

Ontario Churches

Winston Visser, Prescott, ON
Classis Eastern Canada (ON & QB churches)

A believer rediscovering his First Love, accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack in the background: Bach, Bryan Adams, John Coltrane, Corb Lund, Led Zeppelin, Lennie Gallant, Midnight Oil, Stan Rogers, U2, and more. A faith influenced by reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henri Nouwen, Kosuke Koyama, Randy S Woodley, Viktor Frankl, Anne Lamont, and others. A pragmatic Christian perspective shaped by growing up on a farm and being a long-haul trucker for seven years. A writer playing with words. A walker of trails, plus a labyrinth on their acreage. A builder of free-standing rock walls. A father of four adult children. Supposedly, a door-person for Ace, the black cat. And a helper in his spouse’s cut flower business.

Served as a deacon well before a lateral move to becoming an ordained minister in 2006. So, Winston identifies with Stephen in Acts as both a deacon and a preacher. He is the Local Mission Leader with Resonate Global Mission in Classis Eastern Canada. As well, within his Classis, he serves as an interim pastor and helps with pulpit supply.

Believes these denominational and ministry roles dove-tail nicely with serving as a Diaconal Coach, supporting deacons, who are on the front lines of God’s mission within their communities, backing up faith with works.


Maritime Churches

René Wall, Lower Debert, NS

Classis Eastern Canada

René has worked for the Province of Nova Scotia for over 25 years as a Web Application Developer and Business Analyst. She serves as a deacon at John Calvin CRC in Truro, NS. She has been the coordinator for the Maritime Day of Encouragement (also known as SPARK!) for many years and is passionate about leadership development and making sure people have the tools they need to lead effectively. René loves to sing, craft, read and take naps with her cats. She lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Jamie, where they raise vegetables, chickens, guinea fowl, and the occasional pig!


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

Mark Vanderwees - Eastern Canada (Manitoba - Maritimes)

Rachel Vroege - Western Canada (BC - Sask)

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