When someone asks Case Van Kempen if he was born in a barn, he always answers yes, and then says, “Only it was spelled differently.” Case was born in the town of Baarn, in the province of Utrecht, the Netherlands, emigrating to the United States as an infant with his family in 1956. Upon arriving in the states, his name was spelled differently, too. The nickname for Cornelis in Dutch is “Kees,” but at the westside terminals in Manhattan, this became “Case.”
Case attended Seymour Christian School and Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, then attended Hope College in Holland, graduating with a degree in philosophy in 1977. From there he went on to Wayne State University Law School. It was while there that he heard the call to ministry, and enrolled in Western Theological Seminary.
Since Case had never intended to be a seminarian, he needed to take a crash course in Biblical Greek, which is where he met his wife, Leigh (Boelkins). She was also a student in the summer Greek course, and after a brief courtship, they were married in 1981.
After graduating, Case and Leigh moved to the Clymer Hill Reformed Church in Clymer, New York, then to Union Reformed Church in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and from there back to Holland, to serve the Maplewood Reformed Church. While in New Jersey, Leigh was ordained to chaplaincy, serving as the multi-faith chaplain for Northwest Bergen Hospice. She is currently the chaplain for the Resthaven Care Community in Holland, Michigan, a position she has held for 19 years.
After ten years at Maplewood, Case took the training for interim ministry, and has served 16 different congregations in five different denominations all over the upper Midwest. He has also written several books and Bible study guides: Hard Questions People Ask About the Christian Faith; Daniel: Daring faith for Dangerous Times; and I, II, III John: Living in the Light of Love. His latest book, The Jericho Effect: What if We Tried it God’s Way, for a Change, was released this past August.
Case and Leigh have three adult children, all married, and seven grandchildren. Case and Leigh make their home just south of Holland, Michigan, in Laketown Township.