harris16Rev. Harris Hoekwater
Senior Pastor


What do you love about your role as Senior Pastor of St. Joe First UMC?

I love the excellent staff that I have the privilege to work with, and I really love the positive and upbeat people of the church. This is a great place to be!

What is your favorite Bible verse?

For years, whenever someone has asked me to sign a Bible or share my favorite verse, I have always turned to 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come." To me, it encapsulates the transformative power of the Gospel.

What is your favorite book or movie?

I enjoy most books, but I have read an inordinate number of Clive Cussler's action/adventure novels. I also enjoy the unique weirdness of Stephen King. As with books, I hesitate to name a specific film as my favorite -- I rarely watch any movie more than once. I do, however, prefer certain genres, such as action/adventure and espionage-type films.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my family... I also enjoy hunting, target shooting, and related outdoor sports. I like to ride my old motorcycle, too.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

For the last several years, we have visited various places along the Mexican shoreline, and we have always loved the hospitality and the scenery. We also have a vacation home up north that we enjoy every minute we are able to be there.

What type of music do you like?

My musical tastes are very eclectic. I grew up listening to and loving "classic" rock and roll, and I have enjoyed every era of popular music, right up to the present moment. I also love classical music and all of the great composers -- everything from chamber music, piano concertos, and string quartets up to full orchestras. When I was a kid, I hated country music, but after living and working in an agricultural setting for a while, it became another of my favorites! In the church, I have no preference for one genre over the other; I love contemporary music as much as I do the old hymns. Having said all this, when I catch myself mindlessly humming some tune to myself, it is almost always one of the familiar old hymns of the faith.

What is your favorite thing about St. Joe First UMC?

As I said earlier, I think the people are the best thing about St. Joseph First UMC. This is a great family!

Tell us about your family.

Jane and I were married in 1981. We have three children: Deanne, Sarah, and Kenneth -- Sarah and Kenneth live in Kalamazoo. Deanne is married to David Barry (son of Rev. Gordon and Susan Barry, who many know from their time at Stevensville UMC) They live in central Wisconsin, and they are parents of our grandchildren, Felix, Eleanor, and Atticus.

Share one random fact about yourself.

My first visit to St. Joseph and St. Joe First UMC (as a guest of local friends) was while riding my bicycle around Lake Michigan, in 1973.

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