Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Obituary Bert Boer , 1 February 2009

After a period in which he was seriously ill, Bert Boer died at home on Sunday 1 February at the age of 63 years. For many years, with great energy and sharp insights, he dedicated himself to Mission, World Service and Ecumenism, both in his home country, the Netherlands, and abroad. We got to know him as a strong personality who, with great expertise, was able to give substance to the work and, in at times difficult situations, acted resolutely in shaping policy.

Bert Boer was called in 1970 to serve as a missionary pastor of the Netherlands Reformed Church (Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk) in Indonesia, where he was attached to the Theological College of the Moluccan Protestant Church in Ambon. After his return to the Netherlands, he was given responsibility for promoting the contacts with the Moluccan community in the Netherlands and especially with the Moluccan churches. From 1981 to 1988, he was head of the department for World Service of the General Diaconal Council (GDR) of the Netherlands Reformed Church. From 1988 to 1999, Bert was general secretary of the GDR and, from 1997 to 2007, head of the department for Global Ministries of Kerk in Actie.

Bert was active in numerous fields. He had close ties with South Africa and, as part of the World Council of Churches, was closely involved with the Programme to Combat Racism. In Europe, he worked with Eurodiaconia and Aprodev. As chairman of the Joint Dutch Aid Agencies (Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties, SHO), he provided leadership to the collaborative effort to aid victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and other disasters. He also acted as spokesman of the SHO. After retiring as head of Global Ministries, he served as an advisor to the board of the Churchwide Services Organisation of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.
We remember with gratitude his commitment to the Gospel and its translation into practical deeds. Our heartfelt wish for his wife Veronica de Lange and the other family members is that God’s comfort may give them strength at this time of sorrow.
Further details about the funeral arrangements will follow.
Haaije Feenstra,
Director, Churchwide Services Organisation of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands
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