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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Member Spotlight: Erin van Santen!

1-What is your ‘go to’ bible verse to get you through the day?

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." ~ Colossians 1:17

A year ago, we were in lockdown in the Netherlands, trying to figure out how and if we could still make an international move (and how many suitcases we could fit all of our worldly goods in... (the answer was 10). Frans was in his final and most intense semester in seminary, our house had been sold with no turning back, and a good friend of ours was dying from cancer. We had so many questions not only about this new virus called Covid, but how our future would unfold in the coming months. It was unbelievably stressful.

Looking back, I now see with increasing conviction that God truly does, in some mysterious way, "go before." He holds things together and hands us the right pieces of the puzzle at the right moment to place into the bigger picture and whoops with joy right along with us when they fit.

2-Briefly tell us about a recent fun activity* you and or your family participated in and why.

I love this question. Frans and I recently had birthdays, and my side of the family loves playing games when we are together. One of our favorites is a game we call Telephone Pictionary. You make a circle with everyone who wants to play. If there are 10 players, each player receives 10 small squares of paper (you can use post it notes) and a pen. Each player chooses a short sentence and writes it on the top paper and passes the whole stack of ten to the person on their right. That person reads the sentence, places the top paper at the bottom of the stack, and tries to draw the sentence. The stack gets passed to the right. The next person looks at the drawing, places it at the bottom of the stack, and comes up with a sentence describing the picture. And so forth. It goes all away around the circle. It is hilarious looking through the evolution of the sentences and drawings. My favorite event is any event that has us all laughing together.

3-Do you have a favorite recipe or take-out meal recommendation you would like to share?

As much as I love group games, cooking is not my favorite. Sometimes I wonder if it is the picky eating stage our kids are in. Can you relate? I do love healthy, tasty, colorful food and my favorite is our Friday night dinners. I usually make a veggie tray (the more colorful and varied the veggies, the better). I pop popcorn. There is usually a cheese platter or charcuterie board. Sometimes Frans and I eat sushi. In a pinch or if I am totally out of ambition, I'll make breakfast for dinner: Kodiak chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs with a blueberry banana smoothie. Otherwise, my favorite dish is a one pan dish: a whole chicken roasted in the oven stuffed with a lemon, carrots, onions, potatoes, and asparagus drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled liberally with salt and pepper. Yum.

4- At the start of the 2021 school year, you will be leading Grace Church with a new Children’s Ministry program. How can the church family pray for you as you prepare, launch, and oversee this new ministry?

I am excited to step into this new role. The souls of our children deserve to be nourished and fed just as deeply as our adult ones. Nourishing the souls of our children begins at home. Sundays are simply a continuation of this. I believe that I have been called to Grace to be a source of wisdom and encouragement to our families here.

As you are members of our church family, thank you for praying as we embark on this journey together. Prayer is the way to "invite God to his own party". Please pray for me as I begin to learn more about Grace, get to know its families and for the wisdom to lead this ministry in the way that is most needed in the here and now. It has been such a crazy year. Many of us as parents may be exhausted and some, even burned out.

Since my role as children's minister officially kicks off in the Fall, I am spending the summer months preparing and planning. To start, I would love to meet with Grace parents to talk about our kids. The best way to reach me is my email at I am very much looking forward to getting to know our kids and families here at Grace.

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