TRAVERSE CITY — Pastor Jon Otto DeBruyn, 64, passed from this world on Saturday, June 22, 2013. He was in his home surrounded by his loving family.
Jon was born on Feb. 21, 1949 in Sioux Falls, S.D. to Joanne and Cornelius DeBruyn. He grew up in Grand Rapids and northwest Iowa with his parents, two brothers and two sisters. He graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. in 1971. While at Calvin College he met the enduring love of his life, Maellen DeYoung, whom he married on Aug. 28, 1970 in Redlands, Calif.
Upon graduation from college, he worked as a home-bound student educator for the Kent Intermediate School District in Grand Rapids.
While still working as a teacher, he began seminary the year his first son, Michael, was born (1975) and graduated with his Masters of Divinity in an incredibly short three years in 1978, the year his second son, Kevin was born. In 1978 he received his first church assignment to the Christian Reformed Church in Rudyard, Mich., where he built some life-long relationships and where his daughter, Sara, was born in 1980. While leading the congregation in Rudyard, he accepted God’s call to plant New Hope Church in Kincheloe, Mich. with seminarian Norm Thomasma who went on to lead the Kincheloe church for many years.
In Nov. 1982, he accepted God’s call to plant a church and moved to Traverse City, Mich.
Three months later Fellowship Church had its first worship service, and he grew, prospered, and shepherded the church for 26 years.
In 2002 he received a significant grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation and went on a six-month world-wide sabbatical in which he visited and prayed in many countries and built a deep knowledge of praying churches around the country and world.
After retiring from Fellowship Church, he committed full-time to the gift and passion the Holy Spirit fostered in him through his sabbatical and participation in PRMI’s Dunamis, the Deeper Journey retreats, and global mission work.