Wijdekerk Teamdag 30 juni 2019.
Anonymous team members
Writing of articles
There are a number of team members who anonymously contribute to Wijdekerk. Due to private circumstances, they cannot appear on the team page with a photo. They are just as valuable to us as any other team member!
Albert van Reenen
Hey, my name is Albert. I live in Barneveld, together with Peter. I am a sheltered housing supervisor in a mental health care institution. We go to church together and we both sing in one of the bands. I had my coming out when I was 24 years old. It took that long, because I struggled with my sexual identity and my faith. We both have experienced the process of policy formulation in our church. Stories and conversations with others have helped me a lot. I like to mean something to others myself and I would therefore like to commit myself to everyone who needs to be able to be themselves. We are all loved by God and let us pass that love on to each other!
Workgroup TafelTijd and multicultural interests
My name is Alexander Noordijk, I grew up in a small idyllic town of Mijnsheerenland in the Hoeksche Waard. I have been living with my wonderful husband Kai for over ten years now. As a child I had the ambition to become a pastor. The way was not easy due to my orientation. Meanwhile I have found my place in Amsterdam IJburg where I want to be an inclusive church. Every person is a beloved child of God, that is my motto! In this way I work step by step on my dream: "a more tolerant society". In addition to organizing TableTime, I want to work for more inclusiveness and equality in churches. This also applies to our multicultural target group.
Administrator of the private Facebook group Wij de ouders, networker
I'm Ali Kersbergen, single mother of 3 sons, from Dordrecht. My church is the Church of the Nazarene. My middle child came out around 20 years ago and had to experience the rejection from his youth ministry. He has also abandoned his faith along with it. I experienced it as a lonely time, that no one really understood unless they had gone through it themselves. That’s why I want to make an effort for all parents of LGBT+ that are going through this right now or have already gone through it, so that we can support and encourage each other. My hope is that wij de ouders (we the parents) will develop into a strong network, in which we build each other up.
The unconditional love of Jesus Christ is the ground on which I stand, and that I want to share. So that no child will ever have to doubt whether he or she is welcome to our God.
Hallo, I am Anita Verwoest. Born and raised in Den Haag. Married to the funniest man in the world and proud parent of two beautiful sons, the youngest one is gay. Personally I did not grow up in a religious family. I found my faith later in life. The last few years I have deepened my faith and LGBT+ christian being. I sought, read, spoke with others and concluded that it is indeed possible to combine those. My heart breaks as I watch so much rejection in churches. Instead of embracing them and showing God’s unconditional love we chase LBGT+ people out of the church! That’s why I want to do my part as a member of the writer’s team of Wijdekerk.
Writing interviews and creative design
My name is Arjanne Burger. I am a creative jack-of-all-trades, with a number of passions. Including my girlfriend, the "faith" and "psychology". Already in my younger years I got to know God and I was studying Christian theology. I have been trained in this for 4 years, which I really enjoyed. My life was not an easy one. Even particularly difficult at many moments. Yet I have been able to turn many of the issues I struggled with into something beautiful. For myself and regularly also for others. Blogging and occasionally speaking, writing and expressing myself in creativity - think of music and art - have become ways of expressing this. See my Ar (t) page. www.arjanneburger.nl/kunst
I am Bert Gijsbertsen and I live in Veenendaal. I'm a real people person and I'm a man who loves to take care of others. I really like gospel music, especially Gospel Country. I've been raised in the Dutch Reformed Church, later on I've been in a Reformed Church for over two years. After that I went to an evanglical church, I love their experience and expression very much. I used to be an organ player, but unfortunately I quit. Next year I want to join the Cliniclowns. I want to do this next to my job as 'Verzorgende PG' (psychogeriatric care/dementia care).
I am Clara Beck and live in Amsterdam together with my son Jonathan and my husband Stefan. I come from Düsseldorf, am Catholic and believe in the all-embracing love of God. That this is not there for everyone I always found incomprehensible. From the joy of the New Testament and the belief that God loves his children, unconditionally, I want to contribute a reconciling era between church and LGBT people. And that everyone becomes accepted and respected for who he or she is.
representation interests of young people
My name is Daniëlle and I hail from Katwijk, but have lived the last two years in Friesland. I work as a caregiver for the disabled. I have also always been involved in youth work in a variety of faith communities. The year 2020 was the year of my coming out. Starting with accepting myself for who I am and sharing that in my community. Luckily I experienced a lot of acceptance, but also rejection. A difficult process was learning to let go of people. I am grateful for the new people I have gotten to know. I also discovered how important it is to be in a place where you can totally be yourself. And throughout this process I have felt embraced in who I am by my Heavenly Father.
I am Eleonora Hof, Queer, theologian and pastor in the Protestant Congregation in Ieper. It is my passion to proclaim the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ: We as faithful people form a new family where no one is excluded on the basis of gender identity. I came out of the closet late. This created some turbulence, but I also found many dear people in my neighborhood who have supported me. I like to write, I would like to join you in my own search for an inclusive congregation.
I’m Ellen Kleinlein, and I live with my dog Hugo. I have lived in Arnhem for 30 years and have moved from being a ‘fanatic lesbian’ to a ‘keen Christian’. My coming out as a Christian in the gay scene hasn’t been and sometimes still isn’t easy. Many LGBTs have been rejected by the church and have an aversion to anything related to faith. That’s why I feel it’s crucial to put LGBTs in touch (again) with their faith and with God. I’m very pleased that I get to do this with Wijdekerk.
I organise Tafeltijd (Tabletime) Arnhem. I also organise the occasional activity with a Christian hint for lesbian women.
My name is Ellen Walhout. I was born and raised in Vleuten and now live in Hardenberg. I am married and the mother of two children, one of whom is LGBT. Because of this child I learned so much more about how important it is to be a Christian living out that love.
In addition to my work as a caregiver (private health care services) I meet elderly people who are not hetero. Their grief over their past is an extra incentive for me as mother and caregiver to leave the closet and work with Wijdekerk.
Organiser of events, writer
I’m Ennio Drost and I go through life dancing (I’m a dancer/ dance teacher/ choreographer). I also show my love for God by writing. This way I want to encourage and invite others to come and stand with me and use this position to really see each other and see life. Then you will understand how loved we really are. And then, all you can do is dance, right?
Esther van Vliet
Secretary Wijdekerk Foundation
My name is Esther van Vliet, born in Ter Aar. I’ve lived in Ede since I started studying here and I work in Hilversum. I came out over 9 years ago when I also started my relationship. My whole life, including me, was turned upside down but at the same time it all seemed to fit and something fell into place. God stayed, to my surprise, as I knew Him: full of love. It was a tough few first years, we went through rejection, rudeness and misunderstanding. I’m so thankful that our relationship lasted and that Esther and I are still together despite it all. I want to transform this gratitude into action, because I believe everyone deserves this love. I’m convinced that God and sexual orientation are not opposites.
My name is Floruska Bus and I'm married to Jeroen. We have two daughters and our oldest daughter is transgender. We live in Alphen aan den Rijn. Our daughter was fourteen years old when she came out, and at that moment many things started to make sense. We have gone through this transition as a family, and I started to change my view on a number of things I believed. I had a lot of questions, but there weren't many people around me who understood me. At the Wijdekerk Foundation I met parents who really understood me and that felt good. It's a network where I feel really connected! I'll start as a volunteer with a small task, but I hope it grows into something beautiful.
Frank van Reenen
Webmaster and webdesigner, daily coordination, board member Wijdekerk Foundation
I'm Frank van Reenen and married to Geja. We are parents to two daughters and a son who is gay. Besides that, we are the parents-in-law of a hetero- and a gay- son-in-law. When our son came out, we went through the whole process rather quickly. Before that, being gay was something that seemed far away from me. In this process I experienced a lot of pain and sadness, because of the way the church and others dealt with it. I hope that I can contribute to a safe and accepted place within the church for Christian LGBT members.
Geja van Reenen
Parentgroup Wij de ouders
My name is Geja van Reenen , I'm from Barneveld, and I am married to Frank. We have two daughters, one son, and two sons-in-law. Furthermore, we are grandparents of a grandson. When our son told us, that he was into men, and later on had a relationship with a man, we experienced a lot of rejections and sadness. Within church, it was painful and extreme, the most. You can read more about my process in my book: "Ik zal altijd van je houden!" (which is only available in Dutch). Within Wijdekerk, I want to participate in supporting other parents, and encourage them in the love and name of Jesus.
Speaker, writer, represent refo interests
My name is Gerard. I study Urban Planning and live together with Coen in Breda. I enjoy writing and hope that my articles for Wijdekerk contribute to the acceptance of Christian LGBT. I grew up in a reformed tradition and now I want to use this experience to make Christians and LGBT be more understanding towards one another. I like to engage in conversations to understand each other better and accept each other in love. I believe that Love will conquer all.
I am Gerrit Verhelst, I am married to Linda. We live in the south of our small country, in Terneuzen. We have five children and our youngest is a trans man. I feel involved with people who are not accepted because of their sexual orientation. Therefore I want to contribute to the work of Wijdekerk.
External contacts, finances, advisor
My name is Harm Beskers, I’m 40 years young, gay, married and with a living faith in Jesus. I’m horrified when people or institutions keep people away from Jesus and make them believe that Jesus is only there for ‘good’ people. That’s the reason why I became involved with Wijdekerk. I’ve been in the Christian-gay-world for a while now. What resonates with me in Wijdekerk? That we are more than just this, we are also His church!
My name is Ineke Kappers-Mitchell. After retiring I moved back to Ermelo, after living in the USA for 42 years. I studied theology and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1982. Because of juggling 2 careers, my husband and I moved around quite a bit. I found my calling as intentional interim and served both individual congregations and judicatories. I also served as a faculty member of the Interim Ministry Network for 18 years. The last 8 years of ministry I was joined by General (a fully trained service dog) whose ministry of love enhanced my own vocation. I am glad to join the translation team of Wijdekerk. I have been an LGBT ally for many many years and so look forward to getting to know many of you.
Parentgroup Wij de ouders
My name is Jacqueline Riedijk. I'm married to Egbert, and I'm a proud mom of three great sons, and two of them are homosexual. I share out of the colours of my heart and use this in my coaching practice where we seek everyone's unique colours of their heart.
As a mother of a non-average family, I know what it's like when your children come out of the closet which can bring some struggles with it. Through Wijdekerk I can contribute to a colourful church, in a beautiful way and to be there for each other. Because His love is so colourful, we can live and share the 'unique colours of our hearts!'
Jan van Doeselaar
Editorial staff, website administrator
I’m Jan van Doeselaar, married to Henny. We live all the way in the south of The Netherlands, in Terneuzen. I have five children from a previous marriage. I feel connected to people that for one reason or another are easily judged by some fellow Christians. I have experienced this during my divorce and when a friend came out as a lesbian. There seems to be a lot of ignorance and sometimes also unwillingness to sympathise with someone else’s feelings and/or reasons.
I grew up in the reformed tradition, that was traumatic for me, but I went through a big change in my faith. God’s love is for everyone!
Because I know you can long for understanding and acceptance, I like to contribute to the work of Wijdekerk.
Jonathan den Boer
Newsletters and mailings
My name is Jonathan den Boer and I live in Amsterdam. I am currently doing my Masters in Econometrics & Operations Research at VU University in Amsterdam. As a gay person, I grew up as the son of a preacher in an environment where homosexuality was unaccepted and almost invisible. I want to contribute to creating a safe environment for young people who grow up in similar conditions. Through the work of Wijdekerk, we can show them that it is okay to be yourself amongst other Christians, in the church, in Christian communities etcetera. I hope that in this way, we can show God’s unconditional love to all Christian LGBT+ persons.
Workgroup TafelTijd and multicultural interests
My name is Kai Yung. I live and work in Amsterdam. I once promised God to commit myself to Him. Unfortunately I could not realize this in my previous church, because of the enormous struggle with my orientation. As a lost son I finally left this church. I never thought I would be married years later to my dear husband Alexander, who is a pastor of a PKN church in Amsterdam. God never left me, He just carried me when I went through the valley. In the end I accepted my homosexuality and that is a huge release. God loves LGBT+ people and I want to make this known to everyone in various ways with my husband. At TableTime I am part of the multicultural group, because I was born in Hong Kong and know what it's like to have a different culture.
Linda en Jan Willem Evers
Parentgroup Wij de ouders
We are Linda en Jan Willem Evers, and we live in Rhenen. One of our children is homosexual. We lead a parent circle of Wijdeouders in the middle of the Netherlands, and also want to listen to other parents who need it.
My name is Linda Verhelst. I’ve been born in Terneuzen and I have grown up there. My life hasn’t Always been easy, but I am who I am now, also because of the struggles. My husband Gerrit and I have five children. Luke, our youngest son, is transgender. Luke and we also, have experienced a lot of rejection. We have learned a lot and we are very happy with Wijdekerk. Wijdekerk shows to everyone that you can be who you are, and that God loves you regardless your sexual orientation. I think Wijdekerk is doing great work and I want to contribute to that. I want to be there for LGBT+ people who don’t have a safe place to be.
Administration Twitter and Instagram
I am Luz Bosua. Born in Columbia, but have been in the Netherlands since I was two. My job is driving special education students and people dependent on transportation. I came out of the closet when I was 14. That created faith struggles in my family and my church. I love helping Wijdekerk
My name is Marleen Dijksterhuis. I live in Arnhem. My background is evangelical where I learned that homosexual is something you can be, but not practice. After an intensive process I began to think about this very differently. Shortly thereafter my little brother came out of the closet. I believe God has a hand in that. Often you hear the reverse. I really identify with the LBGT community since this happened. The worst you can do to yourself (or others) is judge who you are and what you feel. I want to be available as a listening ear and an open heart. I grant everyone the inner freedom to be themselves.
Mart van de Kamp
Coordinator Wij de ouders of transgender children
My name is Mart, born in Dordrecht, living in Gouda. Together with Rineke, my wife, are parents of four children who have all flown from the nest. As parent with a trans daughter I found community at Wijdekerk. In Gouda I am connected with LGBTIQ+allies within the Rainbow Alliance Gouda. As far as church Goes, I was raised in the “Reformatorische” corner of the Dutch Reformed community and find myself at home there. But the wide and broad vision of Wijdekerk is very attractive for me. Maybe the way I describe myself: connected where possible, sharp where it is needed, Grace filled and above all: (just) human.
My name is Maurits Immink. I grew up in Driebergen but have recently moved to Woudenberg. In addition to my study of social legal services, I almost weekly play piano in a church in Utrecht. In my family I am the only LGBT+ person. Or at least the first one openly admitting I am one. I left the closet when I was 24. Before that time I was silent about my preference for men and my homosexual behavior. I was really afraid of the negative reactions. Particularly because my father is a minister. I am trying to find a balance of my sexual identity with my identity as Christian
represent refo interests
Mijn naam is Micha Bos and I was born in 1988 in Purmerend. For the last 8years I have lived happily with my friend Sonja in the beautiful city Kampen. I work as a (regional) care provider in a rehabilitation center, and I really enjoy my job. Because of my past I feel very connected to Wijdekerk. For the first 30 years of my life I lived as a woman in a reformed community. Discovering my identity was no easy journey. When, as a woman, I met my partner Sonja I “escaped” the town where I was born. Together we entered into a lengthy process to find a home within an evangelical community. Unfortunately the faith community could not hold on to us. There was no room for two women in a relationship. And so for a few years we have experienced homelessness in God’s realm, and together we have gone through my transition from woman to man.
I am grateful for Sonja’s continued support. This has strengthened my faith and trust in God. I know that I am known, loved and lifted up by God, my father. On a personal level I no longer feel connected to the church as a system. The spiritual freedom I have experienced outside the organized church I very much appreciate. For me “being the church” means: walking together without judgment, eating together, sharing bread and cup as we meet at the cross where Grace overflows. Through Wijdekerk I hope to contribute by offering a safe space for LGBT+ people in the (reformed) tradition. To show my face and to share my personal story and making connections through love.
Mike van Ballegooijen
Hi, I am Mike Van Ballegooien and I live in Wageningen. That is where I studied Bilology I have finished my studies there. In addition to my fascination with nature I find myself buried in books. I am a bookworm. I also enjoy being love being creative. I am gay and have a wonderful friend. I think It is important For the church to make room for LBGT+ people. I am offering a challenge that Faith and LGBT+ goes together well. As part of the writers team I will write about themes that personally touch me and are important to me.
Miranda Terpstra-van de Kerk
Founder and Chairman Wijdekerk Foundation, maintain contacts, organise events, social media and design.
My name is Miranda Terpstra-van de Kerk. I'm a mother of two young men and married to Ivo. I feel called to do justice to (the out-of-home) Christian fellow brothers and sisters who identify themselves as lhbt +. I'm grateful that I can contribute to this and that people may preserve their God given dignity. I'm grateful for the trust given to me by people when they share their life story, pain and also regular fear of God. I desire that every person should feel welcome, safe and equal in ecclesiastical Netherlands, because together we are the church.
So nice to meet you, I’m Natasja Schreuder and I live in Velsen and in Ede. I work part-time as an agogic employee for mental health at the Salvation Army. I’m also a full-time writer, I really love language and I write stories on www.mensenverhalen.com.
Since I was 21 I’ve been an active believer. I express this in a love for theology, which I connect to our daily life by living, communicating and making choices guided by my faith. I had my coming out after I ended a heterosexual marriage of 12 years. For me it was a profound quest for my personal image of God, love and identity, but also in a more general sense. The most important thing I have learned, is that the answer to ‘What is the image of God, love and identity?’ depends on the person you ask this question.
I am happy to be part of the writers team of wijdekerk. Because I believe it’s worthwile to put different beliefs regarding in perspective, especially when this is done in a respectful and loving way. Because only by these 2 things we get closer to each other.
Treasurer Wijdekerk Foundation, National point of contact and coordinator for Wij de ouders (parents of LGBTs)
I’m Paula Blokhuis. Married to Fred. Mother of four children and grandmother of several grandchildren.
We have a lot of conversations at home, also with other people. This can be about anything. Fred is a vicar. I have given up my daytime job to have more of these conversations. Because I know from experience how tough it can be when your child comes out, I want to contribute to wijdekerk. And I try to let my love for Jesus guide me. That’s where everything begins and ends.
I am René Wichers and I live in Overijssel. I'm an engineer and I work with high voltage installations. I have nearly finished my study to become a 'theologian by hobby': I am studying at the baptist seminary at the track called 'sprekersroute'. I speak in churches sometimes and I do bible studies. I'm dreaming of a church where we know God hugs us, where we hug each other and where we talk with each other in love and respect.
Board member Wijdekerk Foundation, administration
I'm Rosanne Veldwijk and I live in Zwolle. I work as a project manager for a great company and I love music, singing, family, friends and special beers. Wijdekerk resonates with me, because it’s a unique platform with a practical approach: it makes it clear where you can be as you want to be. I enjoy contributing to this cause!
My name is Rosanne Wijnsma and I live with my dog in Amsterdam. I came out of the closer when I was diagnosed with autism and accepted that I was different. I also discovered that many people diagnosed with autism belong to the LBGT+ Community. Experiencing Tafeltijd was a wonderful discovery because I could be totally myself. I now belong to Tafeltijd IJberg. I write a blog “ikbenrosanne.nl. Explains what it means to live with autism. I write for Wijdekerk about faith and LBGTI. I also am a psychologist and researcher.
Sa Xi Hamilton
Blogger, writer and interviews
My name is Sa Xi Hamilton. I’m a nursing student. I wasn’t raised in a Christian household. I have known from a young age that I was also attracted to women. From my 16th I got to know God in a Chinese evangelical church. I searched for the meaning of my feelings and my thoughts about God for some time. I found Him. The acceptance and the love that I receive from Him and that I feel for myself have become my joy. My purpose as a writer for Wijdekerk is to give everyone I meet the same feeling I feel for God and for myself. It’s the foundation from which I write.
Administration Instagram and representation interests of young people
My name is Savitri Grolle. I am a young woman from Ede. I'm a student of financial administration. I work in a logistics company in Ede. I grew up in a Christian environment. I came out of the closet in 2015 and notice that the faith has been given a place in my life. I like reading, traveling, visiting gigs and photography. Why Wijdekerk? Because I am convinced that together we can make a difference for the Christian LGBT people.
My name is Sija Schorel Hillebrand. I have a reformed background and I’m now a deacon and a member at the PKN BMvier in Rotterdam. As an advisor for the elderly at the PCOB and in friendships I have been in touch with the LGBT community. Many are struggling because they don’t feel accepted. Also because of my disabled son I know how it feels not to be accepted. I give a portion of my time to Wijdekerk, because as people we shouldn’t judge about what’s right or wrong. We are all children of God. I hope that the congregations that still reject people, will one day show that they are welcome as full brothers and sisters.
Simone van Turenhout
I am Simone van Turenhout and I’m married to Dik. Mother to a daughter and a son. Both children had their coming out. It’s very important to me that LGBTs are welcome at God’s. That His church is an inclusive church. Within the prayer team of Wijdekerk I want to do my part to contribute to the cause.
Timo van Hemmen
Coordination interests of young people and administration Instagram
Hi everyone, I am Timo van Hemmen, I work with special needs people. I am the middle child of 5 kids. I grew up in Barneveld in the Vrijgemmaakte Church. I came out of the closet when I was 18. I never believed my identity means that I am a sinner. I believe that God created me just as I am and I am very grateful for that. Boy, I could be straight! Why do I offer my services to Wijdekerk? Because I believe that Christians often exclude other Christians if they don’t fit a certain image. Color, identity, what you look like should not make a difference in the Church of Christ.
Tsjerk de Jong
My name is Tsjerk de Jong. Living and working in Meppel. I work as a personal supervisor at Vanboeijen in a severely multiple limited group. From an early age I grew up within the GKV and I am still a member of the GKV in Meppel. I have been in contact with Wijdekerk for some time now. More and more I came up with small ideas to be able to meet each other. I think it is very important that people look after each other. And how can you do that better than meeting each other through fun events. I would like to dedicate myself to organizing events for everyone who wants to be involved with Wijdekerk.