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

rsz_gary_editedGary 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

Classis Alberta North (Edmonton area)

This could be you!

Email Rachel today and have a conversation.

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.


rsz_jean_editedJean 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

I am a retired teacher who keeps busy with many activities. I swim everyday, play the harp, read, walk, volunteer for a number of organizations and spend lots of time with my 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. I enjoy being outside so from May to October I spend a lot of time camping at my trailer.

I have been a deacon in our church in Kitchener and now enjoy organizing meals for the homeless in our community. Over the years I have been involved in many groups: Sunday School, worship committee and library. I am also involved in our Classis' Mission Committee.

I look forward to my new role as a diaconate coach and hope to make many connections with the deacons in Classis Huron. I am excited to see what resources I 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
(Greater London area)

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!


Classis Ontario South West
(Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham areas)

We are currently working hard to find a coaches for the south western corner of Ontario!

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

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.


Helen VanBeilen, Ancaster
Classis Hamilton

Helen's passion to see churches equipped to share the love of Christ is what brought her to serve with Diaconal Ministries Canada. She served in her church as the adult ministry coordinator for 15 years and worked as the Lead Debt Coach at Christians Against Poverty (for 5 years).

Helen recently completed New Leaf's Transformational Coaching program. She is eager to empower deacons to build bridges within their own communities, through facilitating conversations: conversations that celebrate blessings and navigate through challenges. Helen's heart is for the vulnerable and marginalized. As churches strive to become missional in their communities, she believes they will experience their own transformation and lead from within that.

Helen lives in Ancaster and is married to her wonderfully supportive husband, Ed and they have launched three adult sons. Helen loves to play the piano, and sit and have coffee with friends. She currently volunteers for Open Homes Hamilton (one of our NewGround partners!), tutors, and loves to work with refugees. For fun, Ed and Helen plan the occasional walking trip in Europe.


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 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

Chris Smid, Brockville, ON
Classis Eastern Canada

Chris lives in a small town in Eastern Ontario with his wife Heather and their four kids and several goats. (Check out Heather's FB page if you would like to see his family and his many animals :)!). He has served as Elder in the Athens Christian Reformed Church for two terms. Currently he is in his fifth year of Calvin Theological Seminary in the Distance Education program and fills the pulpit for many CRC churches in Eastern Ontario.

Further, he works part-time at the local Christian School (HCCS) as a Spiritual Care Coordinator (Coach, friend, mentor) to the students and as a Support Worker for a local organization who supports individuals with intellectual disabilities. Though he is new to the work of the diaconate, he is excited to learn more about this role and begin to network with the deacons in Eastern ON and encourage them in the work that they do.


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