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Authors

Rev. Thyra VanKeeken is the Pastor of First Christian Reformed Church of Toronto. Thyra is a native of Edmonton, Alberta, a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary, and a former intern at the Office of Social Justice. Currently Thyra serves on the committee that supports the Centre for Public Dialogue in Ottawa. 

Gary vanLoon is a retired but still active prof (Chemistry and Environmental Science) at Queen’s University. A member of Westside Fellowship CRC, he participates in a number of ‘justice’ and multi-cultural activities through the church, in the community and Canada-wide. A long standing interest in development-related issues, particularly those connected with agriculture and the environment still finds fulfillment through applied research along with colleagues in this country and abroad. Gary is married to Asha and they have three children and three grandchildren, living in Ottawa, Guelph and Vancouver.

Chantel Varnado has worked as a Worship Arts Director overseeing many areas in church music ministry including worship teams, drama, specialty arts, choirs, and creative arts. She has been a worship leader and a speaker in various denominations for church services, conferences and retreats. As a gifted singer and songwriter, she expresses her love for God and effectively leads others in a deeper experience of worship. Chantel has been featured on many worship projects and has just recorded her first worship album, Kingdom United, scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2019.

Chantel currently serves as the Worship Arts Director at Grace and Peace Church in the Austin area of Chicago, IL. She is invited to lead in worship, train and equip, and share her story across the country.

Laura Veenema is a Reading Specialist and former Language Arts teacher with a B.A. from Calvin College and an M.A. from Saint Xavier University. She has an incredible husband, and they live in the Chicago area with their beautiful baby boy. She now works from home as a mom and literacy tutor.

Victoria Veenstra is the Justice Communications Team Coordinator for the CRC, working for the Centre for Public Dialogue, Office of Social Justice, and Canadian Indigenous Ministries Committee. She holds a masters of arts in history from Trent University. She used to work for the Canadian Canoe Museum as their Programs Registrar. She was also part of Faith Formation Ministries Emerging Leaders Cohort as well as a panelist at Inspire 2017. Victoria is one of the editors of Do Justice.

Martin Vegt emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands at the age of 14, and worked as a professional photographer for 40 years. He is a graduate of Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and has served as Elder at East Hill Community Church in Vernon, British Columbia for many years. Martin shares 4 children and 8 grandchildren with his wife of 45 years, Frances. Now retired, he spends his days caring for laying hens, tending a large plot of raspberries, and advocating for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine.

Terry Veldboom leads the Finance & Administration team of the CRCNA in Canada. He is also a gentleman-farmer in Niagara, Ontario where he resides with his wife, Yvonne. Together, they have five daughters and two grand-children, who thoroughly enjoy getting their hands dirty.

Joel Veldkamp is the head of international communications at Christian Solidarity International. He holds a PhD in history from the Geneva Graduate Institute, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago, and a BA from Dordt University. His research and work with CSI have taken him to fifteen different countries in the broader Middle East and North Africa. A lifelong CRC member, he is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland

Cindy Verbeek is a Do Justice columnist and board member for Diaconal Ministries Canada. She has worked as a volunteer and board member and has been a staff member of A Rocha Canada since 1996. A Rocha is an international conservation organization working to show God’s love to all creation. She is now working as the Northern British Columbia representative and community mobilizer. Cindy volunteers as a stream-keeper, and manages the Buck Creek Canfor Hatchery, an A Rocha project raising coho salmon, providing environmental education and participating in habitat restoration projects. She attends Houston CRC, where she coordinates the church’s community garden, and she is the regional Climate Witness Project contact for British Columbia.

Rachel VerWys recently moved to West Michigan after living many years in Southern California. Her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Ryan, and their four kids, Malachi, Abram, Ezekiel, and Selah. She volunteers as the Board President for Communities First Association, a national organization committed to asset based community development. She also serves on the the board of Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders, an organization that invests in emerging youth and adult leaders. She studied social work at Calvin College and the University of Southern California, where she focused on community organizing, planning, and administration. She worked in community development in Southern California for 14 years through Kingdom Causes Bellflower. She is passionate about engaging in conversations and work that advance shalom in people’s lives, along neighborhood sidewalks, and in local institutions.

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