We are pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev’d Abby VanderBrug as Director of Children and Family Ministries.
In addition to building a thriving children’s and young families program, Abby will be the Chaplain to Christ Church Nursery School.
Abby grew up in Michigan, attended Hope College (Holland, MI), and majored in International Relations. Before seminary, Abby worked at an organic vegetable farm, a yoga studio, and an athletic gear company. She also spent time traveling in Guatemala, India, and Thailand.
After discerning a call to ministry at the age of 25, she enrolled at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University (Atlanta, GA) as a Leadership Candler Scholarship recipient. During seminary, Abby lived and worked in Emory’s undergraduate resident halls as an “Education Fellow,” focusing on creating a positive learning environment in first-year dorms, and she served on the staff of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church for two years. Abby earned the G. Ray Jordan Award, presented to the Master of Divinity senior who demonstrates excellence in integrating academic study with constructive leadership and service.
Abby graduated from Candler in 2017 and has since been working at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI, as Director of Children and Family Ministries. In this role, Abby created a worship space that truly nurtures the spiritual lives of children and provides community for young families. She was ordained deacon in early 2019 and will be ordained priest at Christ Church after her arrival.
In her free time, Abby volunteers as a coach for Girls on the Run, coaching 3rd-5th grade girls in self-respect and teamwork. She is married to Michael VanderBrug, and together they enjoy working in their garden, spending time at the beach, cross-country skiing, and hiking. They also enjoy cheering for New England sports teams, as Michael is a native New Englander. They have two children, Zoe (19) and Pieter (17), and will welcome their first child together this June.
Abby will oversee and direct our Children’s Ministries. Her responsibilities will include revitalizing our Sunday school. She will also be charged with helping us incorporate children more effectively in worship and helping our worship engage children and young families. In addition, Abby will work to help equip parents to be the chief leaders of spiritual formation in the lives of their children. Finally, she will work to gather our wonderful young families in community so that they can get to know one another, form lasting friendships, and raise their families together at Christ Church. As a full-time priest, Abby will also share in pastoral care, liturgical leadership, and preaching.
Abby’s start date will be September 1, 2019.