Local Face: Remco van den Heuvel

Remco van den Heuvel and his wife Elly moved to Wendover in September 2015 just in time for Remco’s induction as the new minister of Wendover Free Church. Remco and Elly have just finished three years theological study at Regent’s Park College in Oxford and Remco has completed three years as Minister-in-training at Salem Baptist Church in Hillingdon. Remco is now a Newly Accredited Baptist Minister and Wendover Free Church is Remco’s first church as ordained Minister.

As the name suggests, Remco is not originally from England. He was born and raised in the Netherlands and came to England in 2001 for the first time on a placement as part of his engineering physics degree. Remco’s student placement was at the Brunel Institute for Bioengineering at Brunel University, London where he met Elly. Remco and Elly were married in 2003 at Slough Baptist Church and Remco became a UK resident. Remco continued to study first for an MSc in Biochemical Engineering at UCL and then he returned to Brunel for His PhD studies that involved a technique called Counter-current Chromatography which can be used to process pharmaceuticals. Do ask him to explain what that is all about if you are interested! After obtaining his PhD, Remco was employed as a research engineer in Bioengineering at Brunel. During this time Remco and Elly were hosting a home group and very involved in children’s work at Slough Baptist Church. Remco became more and more involved in leadership positions at Slough Baptist and at Brunel University. Having completed a growing leaders course at Slough Baptist Church and tried (and failed) to complete an online Theology degree Remco was challenged by a talk at the Spring Harvest Christian conference to get off the fence and start moving. This made him think about his future and what the best way forward would be. In 2011 Elly and Remco started to explore whether they should enter Christian Ministry in the Baptist Church. As a first step Remco spoke to his minister who said something like “What took you so long!” In 2012, Remco left science behind to start his ministerial training, but remained involved at Brunel by serving as a volunteer chaplain with the chaplaincy team. Elly remained as Research Fellow at Brunel but reduced her working week to three days to enable her to study alongside Remco. After three years of combining study, church ministry and chaplaincy Remco is pleased to be able to focus his attention on ministry and the Wendover community and is hoping to find time to enjoy some painting, music, walking and swimming; hobbies which have been on the backburner since starting training in 2012.

Remco and Elly have received an incredibly warm welcome from the people of Wendover and Wendover Free Church already feels like family to them. Remco has started to become familiar with Churches Together and is getting to know local ministers. He is looking forward to getting to know the people of the village and he plans to visit local businesses and make connections in the community. Remco and Elly love working with children and Remco plans to contact the local schools to find out what help and support Wendover Free Church could provide.

Remco gave up working in scientific research because he felt that building strong communities, drawing on the good news of God’s love was a better way to make a difference in the world. He is committed to being an integral part of the Wendover community and he would love to chat to local people to help him understand what makes Wendover tick.
Do say hello to Remco and Elly when you see them. They would be very pleased to chat with you and get to know you.