NBTS Alumni are having an impact in their communities and around the globe. Alumni have the opportunity to honor each other by nominating your fellow graduates who meet the following criteria:
1784 Legacy (RCA) – Is awarded to a NBTS graduate of four decades or more who has given dedicated service to God and God’s people in the Reformed Church in America. This alumnus will have exemplified dedication to the church, faithful service in ministry, deep pastoral care, a sincere commitment to life-long learning.
Chaplaincy (PC&C) – Is awarded to an alumnus whose public practice of ministry reflect an extraordinary model of effective ministry, significant service, and contributions to communities served by chaplains. This alumnus will have completed at least four units of CPE. This person graduated at least 5 years ago.
Global Ministry – Is awarded to an alumnus with a heart for global ministry who graduated at least a decade ago. This person has demonstrated a commitment to holistic ministries of justice and compassion in the world and walked alongside the people who are in need of a compassionate heart and the love of Christ.
Prophetic Ministry – Is awarded to an alumnus whose exceptional leadership and unique contributions to community engagement reflect genuine empowerment, creative collaboration, and spiritual outreach. This alumnus is committed to a prophetic theological understanding and will have graduated at least 5 years ago.
|1784 Legacy Award: Rev. Alvin J. Poppen (1957)|
For over sixty-four years, Rev. Poppen has been living a legacy through his model of service. Al served the RCA significantly as a missionary, in parish ministry, and as a denominational administrator. He encouraged and mentored many people in various forms and fields of ministry along the way.
Al loved to study and learn. He graduated from NBTS with a Bachelor in Divinity degree in 1957. He served in many roles within the RCA including associate pastor at the Community Church of Glen Rock, NJ, a missionary to Hong Kong, a teacher at Tainan Theological College in Taiwan, pastor of Clover Hill Reformed Church, then coordinator for Human Resources and later director of Ministry and Personnel Services for the Reformed Church in America from 1969-93 and 1993 to 1999 respectively. During that time, he was responsible for the placement of almost every minister in the denomination. Additionally, he and the late John R. Young share a scholarship and lecture, aimed at supporting research in Reformed worship. A faculty office, room 220, is dedicated in Al Poppen’s honor at NBTS.
Rev. Poppen earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Union Seminary in NYC, before studying at Hong Kong University, Princeton Seminary, and Columbia University. He and his wife have two children and three grandchildren.
|Chaplaincy Award: Rev. Martisha Kanard-Dwyer, LSW, LCADC (2013)|
Rev. Kanard-Dwyer fell in love with chaplaincy at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, N J, while completing the seminary field education requirement. Before completing 4 CPE units under ACPE, she created and was hired as the RWJUH Trauma Community Chaplain. In this position, she provided continuity of care from the Emergency Room to community support resources. Under the direction of Dr. John de Velder (NBTS graduate of 1965), Clinical Pastoral Educator and Director of the Pastoral Care, at the hospital, Martisha supervised and engaged in educating new chaplain interns.
In this supervisory role, Martisha expanded the number of African- American, Hispanic, and global student participants in the CPE program. She encouraged hospital staff members and leaders from local congregations to take a CPE unit. She developed a community extension of chaplaincy, which placed CPE students in local community-based programs to support the spiritual needs of those with mental illness. She connected community leadership and hospital staff to improve patient and family care during a crisis.
Martisha has been active impacting the life of others. She has worked with NBTS faculty in developing the DMin program in Pastoral Care and Counseling. For two years, she served as the Eastern Region Representative for REM (Racial Ethnic Multicultural Network) of ACPE again seeking to increase the diversity within chaplaincy and the organization. She worked as a chaplain for Matheny Medical and Educational Center with individuals with complex physical and neurological disabilities. And, as a member of a working group of New Brunswick leaders and houses of worship, with various agencies to mitigate homelessness in Middlesex County.
Rev. Kanard- Dwyer continues to help communities by serving on several board. She proudly undergirds the ministry of HOPE Church in Bound Brook, NJ. As a licensed MSW, she works with vulnerable individuals integrating spirituality into treatment models. She and her husband have three adult children and one teenager.
|Global Ministry Award: Rev. John Hubers, PhD (1982)|
Dr. Hubers served the Arabian mission of the RCA prior to attending NBTS, then again after graduation for many years. For forty-five years, he has been working to shine the light of Christ both home and abroad.
John is presently the RCA Global Mission partner with the Mekane Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to that role, he was a religion professor at Northwestern College for nine years, focusing on intercultural studies and Christian mission.
From 2001 – 2006 he was the Supervisor of Reformed Church in America’s Mission Programs in the Middle East and South Asia as well as the Stewardship Coordinator for the Synod of the Heartland. From 1996 to 2001 he served as the New Start mission pastor with the University Reformed Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. From 1991 to 1996 served as Missionary Pastor of the National Evangelical Church in Manama, Bahrain. From 1989 to 1991 he was the Missionary Pastor and Co-chaplain of the Protestant Church in Oman in Muscat, Oman. Between 1986 and 1989 he was the Missionary Pastor of the English Language Congregation of the Salalah Christian Center in Salalah, Oman. Between 1982 and 1986 he was Pastor of the Hawthorne Reformed Church in Hawthorne, New York. And between 1976 and 1978 he was the English Language tutor at the American Mission School in Manama, Bahrain.
Dr. Hubers is the author of several articles and essays on missions. He is also the author of, I Am a Pilgrim, a Traveler, a Stranger: Exploring the Life and Mind of the First American Missionary to the Middle East, the Rev. Pliny Fisk (1792-1825), published in 2016.
After graduating from Northwestern College, with a degree in history, he earned an MDiv from NBTS. Dr. Hubers received his Master of Theology and Ph.D. in World Christianity and Global Mission from Lutheran School of Theology. He and his wife have two children and two grandchildren.
|The 2019 1784 Legacy Alumni Award is awarded to Rev. Dr. Leonard Kalkwarf. (Class of 1956)|
|Ordained in 1953, Rev. Kalkwarf has served congregations in New York and the International Congregation in Kuwait. Before serving for 34 years as the pastor of the Reformed Church of Willow Grove PA from which he retired in 1991 and was named pastor emeritus. After retirement, he served on the staff of the Abington Presbyterian Church in PA. Rev. Kalkwarf has also served on the Boards and Agencies of his denomination and was elected to the office of President of the General Synod of the Reformed Church In America. Rev. Kalkwarf is the author of multiple articles and six books. Rev. Kalkwarf is still involved in leading worship and ministry for the residents in the senior housing where he resides.|
|The 2019 Chaplaincy Alumni Award is posthumously awarded to Rev. John R. de Velder. (Class of 1968). Linda Walvoord de Velder received the award.|
|John de Velder served over 30 years as Director of Pastoral Care at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick until his death in 2015. His distinguished career as a clinical pastoral educator, interfaith leader, international teacher and visionary. He was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from New York Theological Seminary in 2003. Under his leadership at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center, he supervised over 1,000 individuals in clinical pastoral education and chaplaincy training. As a leader in indigenous clinical pastoral education, he supervised and taught in seminaries mentoring clergy in Israel, Korea and Malaysia.|
|The 2019 Global Ministry Alumni Award is awarded to Rev. David Alexander. (Class of 1980)|
|Dave Alexander recently retired from 39 years of missionary service through the work of RCA Global Mission. Inspired by the work of NBTS alumni, his first mission assignment was to help start a student ministry center with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Later, he was assigned first to local parish evangelistic work and then to publishing for the Taiwan Church News, where he translated, edited, and wrote a weekly column, published in Chinese. His last assignment in mission began in 2004, at Tainan Theological College, where he administered the international students’ program and taught language and practical theology courses until retirement in 2018. In July of 2018, just weeks before he retired, the government of Taiwan made him a full citizen.|
|The 2019 Prophetic Ministry Alumni Award is awarded to Rev. Dr. Patricia Singletary. (Class of 1995)|
|Rev. Patricia A. Singletary became the first female Minister of Word and Sacrament in the 300-year history of the Elmendorf Church. The Church’s Historical Society rediscovered its African burial ground from 1664 under the 126th Street Bus Depot, which had been forgotten, built upon for almost 200 years. Reverend Singletary with the aid of the NY Council Speaker formed a group of community members, city agencies, archaeologists, urban planners, architects, historians—to create the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force. The purpose of the task force was to properly memorialize the church’s burial ground. Due to the coordinated work of various stakeholders, in 2017 the City Council voted to fund a project which will also include the memorial, a mixed-use development component with affordable housing, businesses, and community space that supports the East Harlem community.|