HOF097: Arie Van Eek

Arie Van Eek is a former Minister of the Word with the Council of Christian Reformed Churches of Canada. As a child, he grew up in the Netherlands. As a young man, he immigrated to Canada with his family in order to escape the atrocities of the Second World War.

Like many Canadians in the 1970s, Arie and his fellow church members were very concerned about the plight of the SouthEast Asian refugees. As former immigrants, they wanted to help them. He and his colleagues were invited to attend a meeting organized by the Canadian Council of Churches of Canada where they learned about the possibility of sponsoring refugees wishing to settle in Canada. Soon after, the Board of the Council of Christian Reformed Churches appointed Arie as coordinator of its Sponsorship project.

Arie  worked closely with the 250 congregations of Council of Christian Reformed Churches across the country. He approved requests by the congregations to sponsor refugees in their particular communities. The congregations were expected to sponsor families for at least one year, andwere asked to find housing, organize language training and assist the refugees with the search for employment. In several instances, members of the congregations from large farming communities hired many refugees.