VanDerVeer, First Executive Secretary of Board of Ministry, Dies

MERCER ISLAND, WA (November 22, 2013)—Earl M. VanDerVeer, retired Covenant pastor and the denomination’s first executive secretary of the Board of the Ministry, died this morning.

VanDerVeer, 94, was born July 30, 1919, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he studied the classics, and from Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul. He was ordained in 1950.

He married Dorothy Huntsperger on June 2, 1948. She preceded him in death.

VanDerVeer served pastorates at Bethany Covenant Church in Stillwater, Minnesota; Elim Covenant Church in St. Paul; Highland Covenant Church in Bellevue, Washington; First Covenant Church in Duluth, Minnesota; and Eagle Rock Covenant Church, in Los Angeles.

He became the first executive secretary of the Board of the Ministry in 1968 and served in that position until 1984.

At the time of VanDerVeer’s retirement, Pastor Norbert Johnson wrote in the Covenant Companion, “Together with his gentle graciousness, Earl has modeled a remarkable patience and kindness, sometimes under extremely heavy pressure. A person more vocal and less patient would easily complain.”

Keith Fullerton, former conference superintendent of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada, wrote, “We as Covenant pastors owe a great debt of gratitude to Earl for pioneering the office of secretary of the ministry for the past sixteen years and making it a position noted for loving concern and fairness.”

Services are pending.



News Obituary


  • Earl VanDerVeer demonstrated what it means to be a servant leader in the truest sense of those words! He was not only a gift to the Evangelical Covenant Church but also to me as a friend and colleague in ministry. Peace to his memory and his enduring legacy.

  • A man of great patience, deep wisdom and a caring heart, Earl VanDerVeer served his church and his colleagues in ministry always with a pastor’s heart. Peace to his memory.

  • Shortly after my marriage to Mary Ruth, Earl was our Pastor at Elim Covenant in St. Paul. We were fellow students at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul. When Earl left Elim to take the Pastorate at Highland, I was called to serve the next seven years as Pastor of Elim. Earl and Dorothy were not only our Pastor, but very close friends. During part of the time Earl served at the Covenant Office, I was Superintendent of Pacific Southwest Conference and worked very closely with Earl. He was a great man of God who was loved and respected. He will be greatly missed by us all in the Covenant.

    • I am deeply saddened by the passing of a dear friend. I cherish the memory of a kind, and gentle man who led by a wise mind and a loving heart. After his retirement his daughter Terri anticipated his yearly visits and often shared with me her father’s zest for life and his daily trips around his community on his bicycle which continued until recently. He will be deeply missed by his daughter Terri and also his immense circle of friends who would say,
      Tack for Alt.

  • A Tribute to a Prince of Pastors

    He wore a smile not a crown,
    but this man was a prince.
    A quiet man who spoke the truth
    with words he wouldn’t mince.

    This prince of pastors served the Church
    unseen (much like a pearl).
    And though we never called him prince,
    he owned the title Earl.

    It’s true! We all looked up to him
    although he wasn’t tall.
    This giant in The Covenant
    helped many find a call.

    Earl served Christ’s Kingdom with much grace.
    A gentle man, yet strong.
    Behind a pulpit or a desk,
    he filtered right from wrong.

    To be Earl’s chaplain at the end
    was God’s great gift to me.
    To pray with him as he prepared
    to face Eternity.

    This man I cherished as a friend
    for thirty-five long years
    has left us one grand legacy.
    Much thanks, Earl VanDerVeer!

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