Second Reformed Church, Kalamazoo
It's perhaps no coincidence that Senior Pastor Kevin Hart lists fishing among his favorite pastimes. Like the New Testament Apostles, Pastor Hart is in the business of casting a wide net for the harvest of souls. Kevin's call to ministry extends back to a decade of co-pastoring with wife Suzanne prior to being hired at SRC in 2008—first at the Federated Church of Kerhonkson in upstate New York, and then at Three Bridges Reformed Church in New Jersey.
A graduate of Hope College, Pastor Hart has a Master of Divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Preaching, visiting and coordinating church ministries comprise the short list of Kevin's primary duties, while sharing God's love is central to all he does. "The more I learn and grow in the depth of my faith," says Kevin, "the more I am absolutely overwhelmed by the love of God." And this testimony is affirmed in his experience serving the congregation: "The people of Second Reformed Church have a deep faith that is not maintained in head knowledge, but continually seeks out new and abiding ways to live out the love of God."
Born in South Carolina, Kevin grew up in Fenton, Michigan. He credits his visit to the Holy Land as one of the most formative experiences that has helped shaped his spiritual insights. "I traveled to Israel and was amazed by how much the land further opened my understanding of the Scriptures," he says. Pastor Hart and wife Suzanne have four children, three grandchildren and a miniature schnauzer named Mia.
Having served as co-pastor with husband Kevin prior to their arrival in Kalamazoo, Pastor Suzanne Hart is SRC's Pastor for Transformational Ministries—a multi-dimensional role that is best described in Suzanne's own words: "My broad task is to help the congregation focus its energies on discerning God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will for us so that we are no longer conformed to the world, but transformed in our corporate life, our worship, and our need to reach out and provide spiritual food to those hungering for the Gospel." She began her formal work at Second in June 2017. Pastor Suzanne works with the congregation to increase SRC's visibility in the community so those in need will know our doors are open and we are eager to serve. Another focus of Suzanne's mission is to strengthen the discipleship of current members. She also oversees SRC’s youth programs and leads the church’s high school group.
Suzanne earned a BA in English from Hope College where she met Pastor Kevin, and like her husband, she holds a Master of Divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
A native of Averill Park in upstate New York, Suzanne lists teaching, worship planning and preaching as activities for which she has a special affinity. For leisure, when time permits, Suzanne enjoys reading, writing, and walking outdoors. Her primary enjoyment, however, comes from spending cherished time with her family including two daughters (Elizabeth and Anna), two sons (Ben and Nathan) and three
grandchildren (Isaac, Elijah and Katherine).
Suzanne affirms the truth of Paul's Letter to the Philippians as a personal call upon her life: "I count everything loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ, my Lord . . ." To Paul's testimony she adds her own: "In a world filled with consumerism and 'me first' messages, we, as a church, long to be radically different. As a pastor, I want to help us live out the call to put Christ FIRST and ourselves second for the sake of the world Christ came to save."
Jim Lester has served as SRC's Church Administrator since 2011. With four decades of sales and marketing experience in the private sector, Jim's superb administrative skills and understanding of church dynamics have helped bring structure and stability to church operations. Jim's duties include overseeing all church finances and payroll while managing special projects as directed by the church consistory. "I like the opportunity my position affords me to share my skills of building consensus and budgeting time and finances," Jim says. "It has been a blessing to see the way SRC has been a part of fulfilling the needs of people in the greater Kalamazoo area, as well as our outreach to the world."
Prior to taking on the position of church administrator, Jim served as vice president of the church consistory, and chair of the pastoral search committee. "Jim deeply invests in people," says Pastor Kevin. "He has a big heart that quietly cares for and supports others. He has a talent for working with all kinds of people."
One of Jim's passions is food preparation. He is a fantastic cook and delights in feeding people. The congregation has often been the beneficiary of Jim's culinary talents.
Born in Tennessee and raised in Three Rivers, Michigan, Jim made his personal commitment to Christ in 1960 while attending a vacation Bible school. Jim's wife Barbara is a substitute organist at SRC. The couple resides in Three Rivers.
Music is an integral part of worship at Second Reformed Church. In fact, we believe music is ministry—the universal language of the heart in praise to God. No one believes this more strongly than our Music Director, Nancy Bonnema. Nancy came to SRC after three decades directing church choirs throughout west Michigan. She has also served as assistant director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival.
With a BA in Music, Nancy furthered her vocal studies at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. Nancy directs our Chancel Choir and Adult Bell Choir giving our music program the quality of performance excellence—a distinction attributed in no small measure to Nancy’s God-given gift of bringing out the best in musical ensembles.
A Kalamazoo native, Nancy and husband John have four children and seven grandchildren—the love of her life. When not doting on her grandkids, Nancy enjoys reading and loves to go camping. Among her cherished musical memories is the time she sang with popular American operatic bass, Jerome Hines who came to a profession of faith at the height of his career. For her own profession of faith, Nancy says, “I am very thankful God has called me his child and assures me that all things are working together for good.”
Darlene Hammer has the valued experience of being the longest-serving member of the SRC team. Hired in the summer of 1981, Darlene serves in the vital role of Ministry Assistant . Her responsibilities are varied and match her diverse gifts and talents. Whatever needs to be done to ensure the daily operation of the church office finds Darlene multi-tasking an assortment of duties. Whether it's responding to daily email inquiries, maintaining the church calendar, overseeing requests for the use of church facilities, preparing the bulletin and visual aids, proofreading, or assisting with the organization of staff meetings, Darlene is front and center.
While completing business courses at Davenport College, Darlene answered an SRC job posting and was readily hired. Her congenial personality is one of her best assets in working with the public and helping the pastoral team serve the daily needs of the congregation. Having previous experience as a nurse's aide, waitress, and foster parent, Darlene's people skills have been well honed. Adding further to her sensitivity to the needs of others, she is currently a co-leader of a local grief support group. "It's rewarding to watch the process of healing in people's lives," she says.
Born and raised in Portage, Michigan, Darlene grew up in an active church family and accepted Christ at the age of six."I didn’t know everyone’s life wasn’t centered around Christ and church until high school age," she says. "I am thankful to have grown up realizing that the Christian life is one of growth in Christ and every day God is teaching us something through our experiences." Darlene and husband David have a son and daughter and three grandsons. They enjoy family camping and are true dog lovers. They have a Shih Tzu named Gabriella.
If you call Second Reformed Church during the day, you'll likely be greeted by the friendly and helpful voice of Beth Johnson. For Beth, assisting in the work of the church is a labor of love, and a life-time calling. Beth came to Second Reformed Church in 1989 having worked in a church office since high school. Her commitment to Christ, however, came at the early age of seven through a neighborhood Child Evangelism Bible Club. Arriving home from Bible Club one day, she approached her father, a local pastor, about the Gospel message. "He took me aside," she says, "and showed me how I could become a believer in Christ and give my life to Him." Beth and her husband Steve (also a pastor) have committed their lives to full-time ministry. In her experience serving the church and the Kalamazoo community, Beth offers this testimony: "Internal peace, joy, and assurance in one's personal life is a big need and can only come through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ."
Beth was born in South Bend, Indiana and moved to Michigan at age 15 when her father was called to pastor a church in Fremont. As SRC's Ministry Assistant, Beth's many duties include helping prepare the Sunday bulletin and slide presentations, maintaining membership records, scheduling, and assisting with Prime Timers—SRC's program for church retirees. And then there are special tasks and assignments . . .
Beth and Steve have two daughters and seven grandchildren. Beth enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, sewing and reading. She and Steve share a special affection for their Goldendoodle named Mack who weighs over 80 pounds and thinks he's a lap dog. And for those who don't know, a Goldendoodle is a cross-breed between a Poodle and Golden Retriever.
Dennis Marsman is SRC’s Building Supervisor. He joined the church staff in 2003 with a background in sales. Dennis oversees the maintenance of the church building and grounds and is responsible for special events set-up and purchasing of supplies. His other duties include carrying out the directives of the church security team.
Affirming the old proverb “cleanliness is next to godliness,” Dennis says, “my goal is to provide a clean, safe environment, so no matter what reason brings you here—from sports to worship—you are able to feel at home.” And home for Dennis is Kalamazoo—born and raised.
Dennis and his wife Marjan have two daughters, and when not keeping an eye on the church building facilities, Dennis enjoys reading mystery books, and working with stained glass. He also keeps an affectionate eye on his pet dog, Tobi. Dennis’s stewardship ethic stems from his personal calling: “I seek to do God’s will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!
An abiding love for children is the passion that drives Dianne Gill's work with Kids Hope—a national mentoring program for at-risk kids. As SRC's Kids Hope Director, Dianne coordinates our church's partnership with Kids HopeUSA to meet the needs of students at Kalamazoo's Northeastern Elementary School. Dianne joined the SRC staff in 2013 and is responsible for recruiting, training and scheduling Kids Hope mentors. Equally important, she enlists prayer partners to pray for each mentor and student.
A native of Valley Stream, Long Island, New York, Dianne received her associate's degree in clothing design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and a bachelor's degree in clothing and textiles from the University of Southern Mississippi. Her varied work experience includes being a children's clothing designer in New York City, and employment in the non-profit sector, most notably here in Kalamazoo as executive secretary to the Director of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and Gilmore Keyboard Festival office manager.
Dianne's interests have always involved her love of painting, designing and decorating, and especially her joy in encouraging children to explore the arts. "Teaching children in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School," she says, "has always been my love, and now I can share the arts with children at Northeastern."
Dianne met husband Americus (Mack) Gill at West Point, New York. As a U.S. Army officer, Mack's assignments took them around the world in 14 separate moves. They finally landed in Kalamazoo where Mack was assigned as Professor of Military Science at Western Michigan University. Dianne and Mack have been married 52 years and have four children, 18 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and an adorable West Highland Terrier named Winnie.
Jan and Ken Luchies serve as group leaders for mid-high youth from fourth to eighth grade, affectionately called the “Middlers.” They meet at the church on the first and third Sundays from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
“Based on Biblical teachings provided in a secure setting, we engage youth who are on the verge of leaving childhood,” Jan says. “We provide Scripture application to life experience, socialization skills, and fun and recreation in a safe setting.” Jan and Ken’s education and life experience have sensitized them to the needs of today’s youth. Jan has a Master's in Social Work with 25 years in the field of child welfare and mental health, while Ken has been a wraparound service worker for a severely disabled teen. And for group trips, Ken’s professional driving experience comes in quite handy. The Luchies’s collective volunteer experience includes Sunday School teaching, operating a small homeless shelter, establishing and running a “Loaves and Fishes” food pantry, and tutoring dyslexic children.
Jan and Ken were both raised in Christian homes and both made their professions of faith during their teen years. Always a team, they have served as elders on SRC’s consistory, and share an abiding faith in Christ: “Listening and following the call of Jesus Christ to minister to those he places in our path has been a central theme of our life together.”
West Michigan natives, Jan and Ken have two grown sons, four grandchildren, and a beloved Brindle Boxer named Scout. Jan is an avid quilter and seamstress, and an amateur cellist. Ken loves to read and re-purpose recycled items.
SRC’s Middler Youth Group was launched in 2017 and is open to children and grandchildren of the church and the Kalamazoo community at large. It is an inclusive group for youth making the adjustment to the mid-high years. It is also a comfortable place for those experiencing sensory issues, and/or high anxiety. For further information on this empowering youth program, we invite you to call our church office at (269) 382-6600.
True to our commitment to be an open door for area college students, Second Reformed Church partners with Young Life College Ministry in providing office space, and prayer and personal support for campus Young Life leaders. We are pleased to have Jordan Palladino as part of our extended Second family. Jordan is the Director of Young Life College at Western Michigan University (WMU), and Co-Pastor for the International Campus Ministry at WMU. Jordan was hired by Young Life College in 2011 and came to Kalamazoo in 2016. A Kalamazoo native, Jordan grew up in Holland, Michigan and earned a BA from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) with a double major in International Relations and Public/Nonprofit Administration.
Jordan characterizes his work on campus as one of building relationships. “I believe I’m called to walk with college students and help them navigate this new experience that’s college,” Jordan says. “Jesus wants a personal relationship with all his children, and I try to help students see that and come to Jesus when they are ready. I love Kalamazoo and the people here, and I love college students and serving at WMU. I think the Holy Spirit is moving in powerful ways on campus and I’m so excited to be a part of it!”
A true sports enthusiast, Jordan loves to play tennis, golf, frisbee golf and ultimate frisbee. He also loves to geocache, hike, travel, go exploring, and play the guitar.
Prior to coming back to Kalamazoo, Jordan was the Young Life College Intern at GVSU for two years, and a church partner with Young Life in Midland, Michigan. He also served as Youth Pastor at Midland’s Trinity Lutheran Church for three years. Jordan and his wife, Marcae, live in the Kalamazoo area.
After many years directing the International Student Fellowship at Western Michigan University, Pastor Ron De Young has transitioned into a new role ministering to students at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) with a new title—Pastor of Campus Connections. Since the spring of 2018, Pastor Ron has been assigned the task of developing a new SRC ministry to KVCC students—one that takes a holistic approach to the challenging needs of campus life. The goal is to help students be successful in their social, academic and spiritual life, meeting them where they are and at their point of need, helping them develop skills that will empower them for life. Participating in a Bible study with students and learning about community college life has opened multiple opportunities for Ron to positively impact the lives of KVCC students. Pastor Ron holds a Master of Divinity degree from Calvin Theological Seminary and has recently pursued studies in Life Coach Training to better help him connect today’s college student with the positive message of new life in Christ. Ron has earned an Excellence in Coaching certificate.
Born in Hammond, Indiana, and raised in South Holland, Illinois, Ron grew up in a Christian home. He made his commitment to Christ while in college after a period of questioning. He gives this testimony: “I know I have been forgiven of all my sins through the blood of Jesus Christ and have received the gift of eternal life. My goal is to live as an active witness of the gospel, and to both experience and share the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus.”
True to his calling as a campus minister, Ron has a keen sense of the impact the popular culture has on young people today: “We live in a world of chaos and confusion,” he says. “There are so many people living with multiple needs and so many areas where we can lend our help. With a little bit of friendship and guidance, their lives can open to a whole new way of thinking and living. As Christ followers, we have an awesome opportunity to journey with them and serve them in the name of Christ.”
Ron and his wife Fran have three grown children and six grandchildren. We are pleased to have Ron help us launch a new ministry sharing the light and life of Christ with students at KVCC.
Now that you have met our church staff, please don't hesitate to call our office at (269) 382-6600 if you have a question or need assistance. Our office is open from 8:30 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. , Monday thru Thursday.