New chaplain installed

Mary Hulst claims role as college’s spiritual leader


Spring 2010

The first attempt to install Mary Hulst as college chaplain at Calvin was postponed when the guest of honor was laid low by a bad bout of what was presumed to be H1N1.

But while the flu slowed Hulst down for a while, she bounced back, and on the second try, she was formally installed during a service in the chapel that she said moved her deeply.

“It was an amazing service and a great gift to me,” she said. “I felt the love of the community. It was a bit of an overwhelming day, but one for which I was very grateful.”

Hulst’s installation included the presentation of a stole created by Cheryl Strikwerda Randall ’83, as an interpretation of Calvin’s motto, “My heart I offer to you Lord, promptly and sincerely.” The stole includes a dove supporting hands, cut from a variety of fabrics, offering up one heart to God. The placement of the heart on the stole lies close to Hulst’s own heart.

Scott Hoezee delivered the message for the service, which was based on Isaiah 42. Hoezee was a pastor at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids during Hulst’s tenure at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church. He is now the director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Hoezee spoke about Isaiah’s focus on “the Servant of the Lord,” both the Messiah, but also others who can and do serve God, including Hulst.

Addressing her directly he said: “My friend Mary, you have taken on a vital role in this place. What you will say to students, your words from the pulpit ... can have a profound shaping effect on future servant leaders in God’s kingdom. Your interactions with faculty peers, with the administration, with the staff are all nestled within the larger mission of this place to equip hearts and minds for the making of shalom."

Calvin named Hulst the college chaplain for her alma mater in March 2009; she steps into a post long held by Dale Cooper, and before him by Bernard Pekelder. Prior to that she had been pastor of Eastern Avenue and then earned a PhD in communication ethics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before taking on teaching duties first at Calvin, in the communications arts and sciences department, and then at Calvin Theological Seminary as assistant professor of preaching, a position she continues to hold.