The alumni H-Club at Hope College will
present its "Hope for Humanity Award to the Rev. James W.
Baar of Holland on Saturday, Oct. 10.
The award, first presented in 1990, recognizes
Hope athlete alumni for service to others, transformation of
Christian values and consistency of commitment. The H-Club
will recognize Baar during its annual Homecoming luncheon,
which will be held in the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.
Baar's career in ministry spanned more than 50
years. Most recently, from 1986 to 1997, he served as an
assistant for adult ministries with Fellowship Reformed
Church in Holland.
Baar graduated from Hope in 1942, and from Western
Theological Seminary in 1945. He was a chaplain with the
U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946.
He was pastor at Maplewood Reformed Church in
Holland from 1946 to 1953. The ceremony will include a
tribute from the Rev. John R. Kleinheksel Sr., who from his
experience as a young parishioner at Maplewood was
ultimately inspired to go into the professional ministry
"He came as a young pastor full of enthusiasm, and
I definitely looked up to him as a model," said Kleinheksel,
a 1960 Hope graduate who was an ordained pastor in the
Reformed Church in America (RCA) for 25 years and is
presently associate pastor for membership and nurture at
First Presbyterian Church in Red Bank, N.J. "He was very
formative in my views about how to live my life as a
Baar subsequently served First Reformed Church in
Denver, Colo., from 1953 to 1961, and Second Reformed Church
in Wyckoff, N.J., from 1961 to 1968. From 1968 to 1971, he
was assistant director, promotion, with the Reformed Church
in America in New York City.
Other pastorates included Fellowship Reformed
Church in Lombard, Ill., from 1971 to 1976; Trinity Reformed
Church in Grand Rapids from 1976 to 1979; Aberdeen Reformed
Church in Grand Rapids from 1979 to 1982; and Garfield Park
Reformed Church in Grand Rapids from 1982 to 1986. He also
worked part-time in human resources at Herman Miller Inc.
for eight-and-a-half years.
His other activities include serving on the board
of the Geneva Camp and Conference Center; the board of
Western Theological Seminary; the RCA Chaplain's Commission;
the RCA Board of North American Missions; the board of
Christian Health Care; and the board of Children's Retreat.
Baar is a past president of "Temple Time" (now
"Words of Hope") radio, and has been a volunteer at Holland
Community Hospital. He was recognized for his central role
in the fund-raising efforts for a gymnasium for Southern
Normal School, an RCA preparatory school in Brewton, Ala.
As a student at Hope, he was a member of the men's
golf team and football manager, in addition to being a
member of the Cosmopolitan Fraternity, Drama Club and Blue
Key honorary society, and vice president of the senior
class. He has been an active patron of Hope activities,
including athletic competitions, arts events and lectures.
He and his wife, Eunice, have five children:
James H. Baar of Holland; Timothy J. Baar of Pella, Iowa;
Deborah E. Baar of South Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Miriam
D. Baar Bush of Muskegon; and David J. Baar of Evergreen
The Hope College Alumni H-Club consists of Hope
alumni who were athletic letter winners and other honorary
letter winners as approved by the H-Club's Board of
Directors, and currently has more than 2,800 members.
The previous recipients of the "Hope for Humanity
Award" are: Ekdal J. Buys of Holland, a 1937 Hope graduate
(1994); Robert N. DeYoung of Holland, a 1956 Hope graduate
(1995); Mary Dykema of Holland, a 1973 Hope graduate (1992);
Jack Klunder of Hopkins, a 1974 Hope graduate; the late
Herman Laug of Coopersville, a 1929 Hope graduate (1990);
George Moger of Fort Gratiot, a 1978 Hope graduate (1991);
and Ross Nykamp of Fennville, a 1980 Hope graduate (1993).