Steve and Nalini Poelman, India
Steven Poelman was born in Grand Rapids on October 11, 1954. In his late teens he became interested in 'new age' Hinduism philosophies. After some years, God brought him back to church and in 1984 he began studying at Moody Bible Institue. There he joined with a group of students who started a street ministry in downtown Chicago.
Nalini (Nanda) Poelman was born in southeast India to Christian parents. Her father was a high school principal and Baptist pastor, who started LCM, an organization that planted churches, trained pastors, ran an orphanage and widows home and a nurses training school. Nalini grew up devoted to her education. After graduating with a law degree she was invited by some Christian friends to visit the United States. She went to Chicago and met Steve one night while he was out doing street evangelism with his classmates.
Steve and Nalini were married on June 20, 1987. A short time later they traveled to India where Steve helped his father-in-law with the LCM ministry.
The Poelmans returned to the states in 1989 and had their first daughter, Surekha. In 1991 their second daughter, Sarala was born. The family moved to Denver where Steve enrolled in the Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary (which he found was not conservative). After two years, a friend (also a member of Dutton URC) convinced Steve to transfer to Mid America Reformed Seminary. While in Iowa, Sundhya, the Poelman's 3rd daughter, was born.
In the spring of 1996, the Poelmans joined Cornerstone United Reformed Church, where their children were baptized. After Steve graduated from seminary, he was ordained and called to be a teacher by Cornerstone and commissioned to assist in the LCM ministry in India. Nalini's father had signed a statement indicating that he was wholeheartedly committed to the three froms of unity. So in 1996, the Poelmans moved to India. However, after a time it became apparent that the Nanda's were not committed to the Reformed faith. Many dissagreements arose in the family over how to run the ministry. After consulting with the Consistory at Cornerstone, Steven separated his ministry from LCM and began a seminar teaching ministry called "The Eternal Covenant." He taught pastors the the truths of Scripture as communicated by Reformed Christians. His seminars were very well received and a group of pastors began meeting monthly to study Reformed doctrine.
In 1999 the Poelmans left India to return home on leave. His visa had expired and he could not get it extended there. Over the next two years, Steve traveled to India multiple times to conduct seminars. The Poelmans 4th daughter, Supriya was also born during this time. As they prayed for God's guiding in their lives, their hearts remained in India.
In 2001 Steve was invited to be interim pastor of a small Reformed congregation in Davao City in the Philippines. 6 months into their stay there, 9/11 occured. The area in which they were living in the Philippines was heavily consentrated with Muslim people so the Cornerstone Consistory called the family back to the States. Steven Mark Poelman, the last of the Poelman children, was born that year.
Steve was invited to be a visiting teacher at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Dehra Dun, in North India. While plans were being made for a return to India, he served as interim pastor at the Muskegon URC church plant.
The Poelman family left for India again on January 1, 2003. God has blessed Steve's teaching and his teaching role continues to expand. During the summer and other school breaks, he continues to travel about the country conducting his seminar ministry especially in Southern India where a number of Reformed congregations have been formed. A group of small churches called the "Covenant Reformed Ministries" has progressed to the point that they have adopted the three forms of Unity and a Church Order patterned after the United Reformed Church Order. Several pastors in this group desire seminary training. Recently he has also become involved with a number of churches in northern India
At this time the Poelmans plan on returning to the U.S. for a furlough in 2007.
COVENANT REFORMED ASSEMBLY
A denomination was set up to organize the churches that complete the process of forming church governments under Steve Poelman's instruction. The process of joining the CRA works like this:
1) A church establishes a list of genuine (communicant) members; 2) The pastor takes classes in covenantal interpretation of Scripture; 3) The pastor demonstrates that he is teaching Reformed doctrine, is receiving nominations for prospective elders and is training these men regularly for an elder's examination; 4) The elders of the CRA conduct an oral examination when the pastor has determined that the men in training are knowledgable in: Bible, Creed, Church Order and Practicum; 5) If satisfied, the CRA elders call a business meeting where the congregation may ask questions of the prospective elders and then cast their votes; 6) An ordination service is held where the chosen men are installed as elders, signing the form of subscription; 7) At this point the church is officially organized and immediately proceeds to vote to accept the Reformed confessions, the Church Order of the CRA and a new name if desired.
HOW TO CONTACT THE POELMANS:
In order to protect the Poelman family who live in a religiously tense environment, we ask that all correspondence be sent to the Poelmans via Don VanDyke.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgAddress: 4296 Oakview Dr Hudsonville, MI 49426-9355 (616) 669-6932
Please send donations to:Cornerstone United Reformed Church 6442 36th Avenue, Hudsonville, MI 49426