Some New Faces at Diaconal Ministries!

We’re excited to welcome three new people to our awesome team! Here is a little bit about them to help you get to know them better…

Eastern Canada Regional Ministry Developer

Mark V.

We welcome Mr. Mark Vanderwees as our new Eastern Canada Regional Ministry Developer (formerly Ms. Tammy Heidbuurt). Mark is currently serving as a deacon at his church, Crosspoint CRC in Brampton, ON, and he was also serving as one of Diaconal Ministries’ Diaconal Coaches for Classis Toronto since February.

Mark and his wife, Nancy, spent 28 years working with World Renew in Haiti and Nicaragua before returning to Canada in 2019. Mark’s extensive work with Asset-Based Community Development and his ability to lead and coach others will benefit the churches and diaconates he will work with. 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 currently studying to be a personal finance counselor.

Mark will oversee the churches from Manitoba to the Maritimes. He began in this new role on Monday, May 17th and his email address is Reach out to him with your questions – he’s ready to help!

NewGround Program Coordinator

Karla W.

We welcome a familiar face to the role of NewGround Program Coordinator – Ms. Karla Winham! Karla was one of our Diaconal Coaches for a number of years and is currently our Stewardship Pilot Project Coordinator.

As some of you may already know, 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. 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. We think this makes her a perfect fit for this new role with NewGround! Karla currently serves as a deacon at John Calvin CRC in Truro, NS. She lives in Lower Onslow with her husband and 3 kids.

Karla has already begun work in this new role and was eager to connect with our current partners to check-in and offer coaching and support. Her email is

New Diaconal Coach for Eastern Canada (Maritimes)

Rene W.

René will be taking over the Maritime churches from Karla as their new Diaconal Coach. René has worked for the Province of Nova Scotia for over 25 years as a Web Application Developer and Business Analyst. She also 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.

On a personal note, 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!

Her email is if you’d like to reach out to her.

Please welcome these lovely people to our team and pray that God will work in them and through them as they serve and bless the churches we serve in Canada!