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!
Writing of articles
Anonymous team members
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.
workgroup TafelTijd and multicultural interests
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.
Administrator of the private Facebook group Wij de ouders, networker
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
Writing interviews and creative design
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.
I'm Eelco van der Brug. Living in Rotterdam and working as a pastoral elder in a local community. I was involved with the church shelter in The Hague and I (re)discovered there that there are many prejudices within the church about what belongs to a traditional image of the church. Starting a discussion about what a church should be based on equality with dissenters is a challenge every time. Wijdekerk can be a testing ground for this. Everyone is welcome. Regardless of age, orientation or religious background. I like to talk to people about their life stories and especially how they experience God in them. If we may no longer see God standing, He will always see us standing ... I believe in 'holy'.
conversation and dialogue
Eelco van der Brug
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.
Author of articles
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?
Organiser of events, author of articles
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.
Secretary Wijdekerk Foundation
Esther van Vliet
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.
Webmaster and webdesigner, daily coordination, board member Wijdekerk Foundation
Frank van Reenen
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.
Author of blogs, articles, and interviews and design
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.
My name is Harm Beskers, I’m 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!
External contacts, finances, advisor
My name is Henk Velthuis. I’m married and a father to two daughters. I work as a chemistry teacher at a secondary school. Besides that I write blogs on different topics that interest me, like the relationship between faith and science, sustainable development, environmental issues, social injustice, and inequality. Because one of my daughters came out as a lesbian, I was forced to think about the relationship between faith, church and homosexuality. I noticed that there is a lot of pain involved in this topic, which leads people to feel estranged from God. That’s why I feel responsible to contribute to a safe place in the church for LGBT+ people.
My heart and passion lie with photography. www.henrikenijenhuis.nlI had been wondering for a long time what I could do and / or mean for Wijdekerk. My deepest and greatest wish is that all LGBT+ people are treated equally, respectfully and lovingly everywhere. That everyone may come as they are. That is why, in addition to my blog about my homosexuality and being a Christian, I want to be d.m.v. photography would like to contribute to Wijdekerk. I hope that more and more people dare to come out of the closet carefree and without fear and rejection and become curious about this large united family.
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.
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.
Editorial staff, website administrator
Jan van Doeselaar
My name is Janine, I live in Werkendam. I’m part of this organisation, because I have experienced what it’s like for people who go to church and are ‘different’. I’m currently looking for a fitting congregation and I would like to save others the trouble by putting churches on the map where you can really feel welcome. For me this wasn’t clear during my teenage years and I was full of doubt for a long time and wondered what was God’s way in this. Now I’m allowed to know that I’m bisexual and that God accepts me the way I am. Knowing this is something I want for everyone!
Administration, organising events
Janine van der Stelt
My name is Jordi Noort and since one and a half year I live in Rotterdam, in the Delfshaven crescent. About eleven years ago I came out to everyone in my surroundings. I have been blessed when it comes to the reactions on my coming out. But I also am well aware that it could be a challenge for others. They are met by negativity and rejections because of their sexuality. This motivates me to get involved with Wijdekerk, by bringing music to their national wethechurchday and to also write columns on their website. So that everyone knows they are loved by Jesus our brother.
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.
contacts regarding the events calendar
Jonathan den Boer
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.
workgroup TafelTijd and multicultural interests
My name is Kristi Satjadibrata. I was born in Surabaya (Indonesia) and lived there until my fourth. I grew up in Amstelveen and now live in Amsterdam. At the moment I am a public speaker, writer and activist. But actually I see that as socially acceptable terms for the discipleship of Jesus Christ. I have received a secular / open upbringing towards spirituality and religion from my Dutch mother and Indonesian father, who have been reformed and Islamic upbreded respectively. I started believing consciously at the age of sixteen after a contact with God. I would like to use my religious background at an Indonesian church and an international church from the United States (both evangelical churches), plus my experience within the (bicultural) LGBTQI + community to play a bridging role between groups where I still see removal. That is why there is a working group within Wijdekerk that not only focuses on cultural diversity, but also focuses on migrant and international churches.
Representative (Christian) bicultural LGBT+ people and LGBT+ people in migrants and international churches, workgroup multicultural interests
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.
I’m Marjan van der Spek-den Hertog, I live in Zwolle and I’m a member of the CGK. I’ve been married for nearly 30 years to a great man and I’m a mother to four beautiful sons, a mother-in-law to two sweet daughters-in-law and to a sweet son-in-law.
I’m a Dutch teacher at the Greijdanus in Zwolle. I’m also active within our congregation in a parent group (parents to children who came out) and we organise meetings for these parents.
Because of the experience with my own children I’m convinced that we can help young people by setting the example that gay Christians can be full members in the church. I would like to contribute to this.
If you would like to know more, please ask me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also find me on Facebook.
interviewen van mensen, schrijven van artikelen en redactionele werkzaamheden
Marjan van der Spek-den Hertog
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.
My name is Maurits Immink. I live in Driebergen and I'm studying social and legal services in Utrecht and play the piano in a church in Utrecht. I am the first one in my family who talks openly about sexual orientation. I came out when I was 24 years old. Before that, I silenced my feelings for men and my homosexual behaviour, because I was afraid of negative reactions. This (unnecessary?) fear was also because my dad is a pastor. Currently, I'm trying to find balance between my sexual identity and my Christian identity.
I’m Minke Velthuis and I’m engaged to my beautiful wife Nienke. To me, she has been a gift from God and I keep experiencing the fact that God has brought us together. With the many dreams we have, I keep hitting the wall that being a lesbian and a Christian isn’t an easy combination. Sometimes this wall is inside me, sometimes it’s because of someone else. Because I experience that I can’t always speak my mind, I want to help the acceptance of LGBT+ people. That’s why I like writing about this, it’s to create more awareness.
Interviewing people, writing articles, organising events and maintaining contacts
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.
Founder and Chairman Wijdekerk Foundation, maintain contacts, organise events, social media and design.
Miranda Terpstra-van de Kerk
My name is Marieus Mulder, I live in Hilversum and have been married to Marc since 2009. From the age of 17 I was "out of the closet" and it was not always easy in the church congregation to which I belonged then. Perhaps partly because of that I have done my best for years to get rid of God and commandment. In the end that did not work: I am undeniably a religious person without being overly certain.
It is important that you as a person can be who you are. That is why I find it painful and sad that there is so much exclusion within the church. Reason enough for me to make a contribution to Wijdekerk.
interviewing people, writing articles and editorial work
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.
National point of contact and coordinator for Wij de ouders (parents of LGBTs)
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.
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!
Treasurer Wijdekerk Foundation, administration
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.
Blogger, writing articles and interviews
Sa Xi Hamilton
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.
Administrator Instagram and general support
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.
I’m 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.
Simone van Turenhout
My name is Tsjerk de Jong. I live and work in Meppel. I work at Vanboeijen as mentor and coach for special needs people. As a child I was raised in the GKV, and am still an active member of the GKV in Meppel. I’ve been in contact with Wijdekerk for a while and offered small ideas to help people connect. I find it very important to support and care for others. What better way than through creating opportunities for fun activities. I look forward to help organise those events for the participants in Wijdekerk.
Tjerk de Jong
I’m Willian Kroeze, grew up in a small village ‘s-Heerenbroek. My job took me to Harderwijk. During my teenage years I found out I had lesbian feelings and I didn’t know what to do with them. Something like I wasn’t important. I experienced this as a painful and lonely time. But also a time during which God didn’t disappear. I kept everything quiet, because being gay wasn’t a positive label in the reformed world I grew up in. My coming out was gradual, also in the church this led to negative experiences. Now I go to church in a congregation which allows me to be who I am. In God’s love we can see and appreciate others of all colours. I contribute to Wijdekerk, because it stands for all that colourfulness. I hope that Christian LGBTs can find a safe place here and in church.