George was born in Zaandam, NH, The Netherlands and came to Alberta in 1954 with his parents and 4 siblings. An older, married sibling had come in 1953. George met his wife, Shirley, at church in Calgary where she graduated from Nursing School and George from the University of Calgary with a B. Ed in 1967. They married and headed for Medicine Hat, Alberta where both had positions waiting for them, one at a hospital and the other at a High School, teaching English.
Since then, George served Eastern Ave CRC in Grand Rapids, went to Calvin Seminary, served Vernon CRC in B.C., Canada, Manhattan CRC in Montana, Ivanrest CRC in Grandville, MI and retired from Visalia CRC in 2012. Shirley employed her nursing credentials in a variety of ways wherever we were. George used his last sabbatical to finish his devotional book, "Walking in the Word". After some serious reflection as to where to settle in retirement, they bought a “condo/duplex” in Byron Center, MI and are there about half time due to George's Interim Pastoral work in Alameda, Calgary, Manhattan (twice) and now San Jose.
They have been blessed with four sons who married four wonderful women, resulting in eleven grandchildren. Dan & Dawn with their three children live in Visalia, CA. Dennis and Francine live in Calgary, AB with their two children. Dean and Tina live the closest to George and Shirly in Byron Center, MI with their four. Their youngest, Rob and Pam live in Caledonia, MI with their two, one who’s our youngest grandson at 16 months. They are the reason for their decision to retire in Michigan.
George and Shirley's travels have included their Dutch “roots,” as well as Moscow where George taught pastors and evangelists from all over the former USSR. He has done similar work in Burma and Vietnam.
Rachel Vander Veen
Children's Program Director
Rachel currently serves as the City of San José Housing Department’s Administrative Officer and has been in that position for five years now. She began with the City in 1999 as the Housing Department’s Budget Analyst in the Administration Division just one month after graduating from College (Grand Rapids, Michigan), with a B.A. in Economics and minors in Mathematics and Psychology. She then moved on to the Policy Division for two years and the Executive Office for an additional two years. This led her back to the place she began, as the current manager of the Administration Division. She always strives to balance her career with her young family – Husband Scott, seven-year-old Geoffrey, four-year-old Aaron, and nine-month-old Alexis.
In her spare time she enjoys volunteering at church where she leads the Kid's Life program and serve wherever she is needed. Something you may not know about her is that she is a “PK” – preacher’s kid. And this has a lot to do with another interesting fact – she has lived in seven states including: Washington, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Indiana, and California (in that order).