Vande Zande becomes new pastor at UCC in Hackensack
Union Congregational Church in Hackensack has a new pastor, Torri Vande Zande.
Vande Zande grew up in Waupun, Wisconsin, on a dairy farm. As the youngest of eight children she learned to adapt to different personalities and that "you don't always get your way."
She attended North Central University after high school and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in youth ministry. She spent the next nine years in Waupun working for Youth for Christ doing family and youth ministry.
In this job Vande Zande helped start a youth center to help get kids off the street. The program took an unused middle school and used it for the youth center providing activities for children in middle school and high school.
Later, while working at Christ Family Church in Davenport, Iowa, Vande Zande felt called to seminary. She enrolled at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, earning a Masters of Divinity.
About this time Vande Zande began to wrestle with the conservative beliefs she had been brought up with and that she had focused on at Bethel. After two years of searching for her "place" she found herself at the doors of a UCC church and knew she was where she belonged. Vande Zande loves the UCC focus on extravagant welcome and social justice, and that "God is still speaking" and has more to say to us.
Before being called to Union Church, Vande Zande was working as a co-pastor at a new UCC church called The Table in Davenport. There she worked to create worship services, outreach events and family ministry.
In the work of starting a new church, Vande Zande has shown that she is comfortable and successful in challenging ministry contexts. She loves to preach, enjoys getting to know people and has a deep love for animals. Her dog, Caesar, is an important part of her work as she ministers to others.