Beginnings Family Services

Board of Directors

Beginnings is governed by an elected Board whose members serve 3 year terms and are responsible for:

  • Herman Praamsma, BA, BD
    Herman Praamsma, BA, BD M.Div - Chair

    Herman attended Calvin College and Seminary.  He holds ordination in the Christian Reformed Church and served churches across Canada – in Waterdown, Toronto, Edmonton, Toronto, Brampton and Holland Christian Homes prior to retiring in 2010.   Herman has served as Campus Chaplain at York, as a Prison Chaplain at Ontario Correctional Institute, an internship at Sunnybrook Hospital, and was approved/certified by the Ontario Interfaith Committee for Chaplaincy, and held Advanced Standing with Canadian Association for Pastoral Education.  Herman was Editor of the M2M newsletter, and a contributor to the Christian Courier. He has also worked for both Classis and CRC Denomination in a variety of capacities throughout his career. Herman is the father of 4 adopted children and eight grandchildren and brings his wealth of pastoral experience to Beginnings board.

  • Reverend Arie Gideon Van Eek, B.A.
    Reverend Arie Gideon Van Eek, B.A. M. Div - Founder/Past Chair/Board Member Emeritus

    Arie is a founding member of Beginnings and active volunteer in the organization since its inception in 1985. He received his Master of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids Michigan in 1957. As an ordained minister of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA), he has served the denomination in both pastoral and administrative leadership roles. He retired from the CRCNA in 1999 as Executive Secretary of the Council of Christian Reformed Churches. Since then has dedicated his time to many worthy causes, including World Wide Christian Schools, Shalem Mental Health Network, and his home church of Bethel CRC, Waterdown.   He currently holds the position of President of the Beginnings Board of Directors.

  • Lisa Gonnering
    Lisa Gonnering

    Lisa has over 25 years fundraising experience in the not-for-profit sector in Hamilton.  She has worked in Gift Planning for 10 years; most recently at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation and currently in her role as Manager of Estate & Gift Planning at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation.  Lisa has served on the Executive of the Niagara Golden Horeshoe’s Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) since 2005 and is currently serving as Past Chair.   Lisa is a long-standing member of West Highland Baptist Church and has served in many capacities including junior high teacher, worship arts and various small group ministries.

  • Hendrik (Hank) Bylstra
    Hendrik (Hank) Bylstra

    Hank was born in the Netherlands in 1952 and emigrated to Canada that same year.  His family settled in Hamilton where hegrew up and was part of the Paradise Road Reformed Church.  He attended Hamilton District Christian High School and later lived for three years In the Netherlands for study purposes.  Hank attended McMaster University in Hamilton for his Bachelors degree in History.  He attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky for his Masters Degree in Divinity.  Hank is married to Connie and they have two adopted Children and now three grandchildren.  He spent ten years as a Pastor in the Free Methodist Church in Southern Ontario before going to Mississauga in 1996 to serve for seven years with two small Reformed Churches in the GTA.  Hank took a 2 year course of studies in Conflict Management at Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo and has served since 2003 as Pastor/Chaplain at Holland Christian Homes in Brampton.  Hank enjoys reading, photography, travel and family times.

  • Ann Stocker
    Ann Stocker

    Ann has been an associate of the Institute of Family Living for several years working with families, couples and individuals. Ann holds a Bachelor in Religious Education and a Master of Divinity with a major in counselling.  Her background includes over 20 years of work in marginalized communities and 6 years in tourism.  She has been facilitating a support group for young teenage mothers for the past 8 years, and a family group in her local church for the past 12 years.  She has also been active in facilitating workshops in the areas of mental health, parenting, relationships, grief and contemplative spirituality, as well as organizing seminars and conferences.  When she has the time, Ann enjoys exploring the city, spending time with family and friends, playing with her two cats, sailing, photography, knitting, watching films and reading, as well as some current writing projects.

  • Heather Kuipers 
    Heather Kuipers  BA Hons, MSW

    Heather is the creator and owner of Ella Minnow children’s bookstore in Toronto. Founded 9 years ago, Ella Minnow recently moved into a larger space, noteworthy in today’s bookstore climate of closures and industry challenge. Heather earned a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier university, where her focused area of study was adoptive families. Heather lives in Toronto with her husband and three teenage kids. Heather is an active volunteer: teaching parenting to street involved youth through Yonge Street Mission’s Evergreen program; participating in both the Children's Ministry and Refugee Sponsorship and Support Steering Committees at Little Trinity Church; serving as a jury member for the Canadian Children&’s Book Centre Norma Fleck non-fiction prize; and fostering feral kittens.  Heather is interested in a wide range of handcrafts and always has many projects on the go.

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Support the Beginnings family in a range of wonderful ways.