New Faces Around the Table

Diaconal Ministries Canada is excited to share about some new faces around our board room table!

The Board of Directors of Diaconal Ministries Canada is responsible for directing, protecting and promoting its work on behalf of the diaconates of the Christian Reformed Church of Canada. The Board exists to act as the informed voice and agent of the Deacons and is accountable to the Deacons of the Christian Reformed Church in Canada. There is one (1) board representative from each classis in Canada.

We are excited to share some new faces that are around our table for the next couple of years:

Meet Peter VanHarmelen, Halifax, NS – Classis Eastern Canada

Peter and his wife, Rachel, live with their four children in Nova Scotia. Peter is a Chartered Professional Accountant and is employed by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada in the role of National Assistant VP, Finance. Born in the Netherlands but raised in Oshawa, Ontario, Peter attended Christian grade school and high school in Oshawa and Bowmanville, respectively. He later went on to Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI where he received a BA with majors in history and music. He then spent a year at Calvin Seminary but decided this was not the right fit. This led him back to Ontario, to Hamilton, where he retrained to become an accountant. From there, they went to Ottawa, ON, Truro, NS and now, for the past 15 years, Halifax, NS.

Peter has been a life-long member of the Christian Reformed Church. He served two terms as an elder (Meadowlands Fellowship CRC, Ancaster & Calvin CRC, Ottawa), two years as the Treasurer of Classis Eastern Canada and then 10 years as the Treasurer of All Nations Christian Reformed Church in Halifax, where he also plays piano and organ. While Peter has never served as a deacon, he feels his experience in the church, both as an elder and as a treasurer, has made him very aware of diaconate work; its challenges and its rewards. Peter believes that the work of the deacon is a key component of building God’s kingdom and showing the love of Christ to the world around us. 

Meet Jeff Robinson, Aylmer, ON – Classis Chatham

Jeff grew up in the Lutheran church in Aylmer and joined the Aylmer CRC congregation when he married his wife Nancy (nee Broer) in 1977. Jeff is an active member of his church and the denomination. Jeff has served one term as an elder and one term as a deacon in Aylmer CRC. Prior to that he worked with others in the congregation to host Athletes in Action Soccer camps for several years for the community through their church. In his time as a deacon, he served as secretary and attended several learning opportunities and meetings in his classis and at Diaconal Ministries Canada’s office in Burlington. While serving as a deacon, his church also hosted a classis-wide Deacon training workshop.  

Jeff is currently serving as a member of the Leading Together Advisory Team of Pastor Church Resources Committee in Grand Rapids. The goal is to develop a toolkit for elders and deacons (anticipated release was Synod 2020) as well as other educational resources. Partly due to his work experience, he worked with his church’s deacons to host Dr. Henry Brouwer for presentations on Climate Change at their church and their local Christian School. (This was through the Climate Witness Project of the Office of Social Justice, a partner agency of Diaconal Ministries). Since retirement 5 years ago, Jeff has been passionate about ensuring his church’s members are aware of the numerous resources available to them, particularly from the CRC denomination. As a member of the Vision 20/20 Committee in his church, he is excited to see his church consider what the future holds and the path to get them there.

Jeff’s 35-year working career was as a Wildlife Biologist for Environment Canada, where he managed a program of protected areas in Ontario for the federal government. This involved many opportunities for community engagement and dialogue. The training they offered in running effective meetings, writing, dealing with the media and managing projects has also served him well both personally and professionally. Jeff has also been actively involved in community youth sports programs, both hockey and soccer, which started when his sons participated. Jeff continues to manage the youth soccer program for over 900 children from the community in partnership with the local Knights of Columbus and numerous local volunteers and sponsors.

Meet Rose Saller, Pontypool, ON – Classis Quinte

Rose has been a member of Hope Fellowship CRC for 15 years. There she has been an active member! Rose served on a committee for the Ladies Ministry for 5 years. A highlight for her was holding day retreats and inviting ladies from the surrounding area to join in worship and song. Rose has also served on a committee for their church’s seniors (Seasoned Souls) for the past 3 years, serving them with a luncheon every Christmas. She has served on the Executive Board of Hope Fellowship, now called the Vision Leadership Board, for 3 years as well. On top of that, Rose served as a deacon, and chair, for 3 years.

Outside of her church walls, Rose has been a supervisor for Durham Outlook (St. Vincent’s Kitchen) for over 10 years! Founded in 1990, Durham Outlook operates the only 365-days-a-year soup kitchen, serving the most vulnerable members of Durham region. 

Rose has been married to her husband for 46 years and they are blessed with 2 children and 5 grandchildren. She and her husband are an integral part of their community and have operated a construction company for 46 years. As well, Rose is also a licenced real estate person.

Diaconal Ministries welcomes these new members to our Board. We are confident that God will use them in this new role so that we can continue to equip and encourage deacons all across Canada as they do their important work in God’s Kingdom.