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.
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
Lucinda is a homemaker and spends her day "filling 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! Read about it here!
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 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.
Jolyn works primarily with the churches in Calgary and High River.
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!
John Klein-Geltink, Ingersoll
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!
Helen VanBeilen, Ancaster
Classis Hamilton & Niagara
Helen's passion to see churches equipped to share the love of Christ is what brought her to serve with Diaconal Ministries Canada. She has 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.
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.
Peter Timmermans, Guelph
Peter is currently serving as a deacon in New Life CRC in Guelph, ON. He is a community and organizational development consultant with 25 years of experience, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Peter worked for World Renew for 15 years and is looking forward to opportunities to use his skills learned overseas in a Canadian context.
Peter loves facilitating processes that discover and address the complexity of social change. For him, being a Diaconal Coach means helping deacons, organizations and groups navigate towards their biblical mandate to be relevant and effective in the communities in which they exist.
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 currently self employed and studying to be a personal finance counselor in his spare time.
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.
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 worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist for 20 years before returning to school to do an MBA in Community Economic Development and pursuing her passion for nonprofit organizations. She serves as a deacon at John Calvin CRC in Truro, NS. Karla is energized by helping diaconates dream about the possibilities to show God’s love in their own communities and connecting them with resources to put their dreams into action. She thinks the sooner we realize we’re ALL called to diakonia, the better! Karla 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
Ron Vandenbrink - Interim 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