Rev. Dr. Nathan HartRev. Dr. Nathan Hart

The Rev. Dr. Nathan Hart, an experienced pastoral leader with a deep love for Hope College, has been appointed the college’s Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel following a national search.

Hart is currently senior pastor of Stanwich Congregational Church in Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut, a nearly 300-year-old congregation that under his leadership has expanded into a multi-site church with regional influence. Across more than two decades in the New York City area, he has served in many other arenas, including domestic and international missions, youth ministry, interfaith education and hospital chaplaincy.  A 2001 Hope graduate, he has been a member of the college’s Board of Trustees since 2017.  He will start on July 30.

“Throughout the interview process, Nathan’s unwavering passion for following Jesus and serving others shined through,” said 鶹Ƶ President Matthew A. Scogin.  “He will provide exceptional pastoral leadership for our community as he guides our thriving campus ministries program. We can’t wait for Nathan and his family to join our community later this summer.”

Fellow Trustee the Rev. Michael Pitsenberger noted that he is excited that the campus community and students in particular will benefit even more directly from the qualities that he has observed as he and Hart have served together on the board.

“It truly has been a joy to serve with Nathan Hart on Hope’s Board of Trustees for the past four years. I now rejoice in God’s selection of Nathan as Hope’s newly appointed dean of the chapel,” said Pitsenberger, who is lead pastor of Overisel Reformed Church. “Nathan loves the Lord and the people he is called to serve.  Centered in Scripture, Nathan is a gifted messenger of God’s sacred Word, and spiritually wise beyond his years.”

As Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel, Hart will serve as Hope’s campus pastor, providing leadership for the spiritual formation of the community, offering pastoral support, and leading the Campus Ministries program and staff.  The program’s activities include morning Chapel services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and a Sunday-evening “Gathering” service, all in historic Dimnent Memorial Chapel; small-group Bible studies led by students; and immersion mission experiences throughout the U.S. and in the Caribbean during spring break.

The deanship was endowed in 1993 by the late Max and Connie Boersma.   Max Boersma was a member of the college’s Class of 1946, and a longtime member of the college’s Board of Trustees, and Connie Boersma was a member of the college’s Class of 1949, and the daughter of the late Milton L. “Bud” Hinga, who was at Hope for 29 years as a professor, coach and dean.

Hart succeeds the Rev. Dr. Trygve Johnson, who served as Hope’s dean of chapel for the past 18 years.  “Trygve served with faithfulness and integrity as the Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel, and left an indelible mark on the faith formation of our campus community,” Scogin said. “We are grateful for his deep and meaningful impact on students and our campus through his leadership and preaching.”

Hart noted that he is excited to return to Hope and give back by helping provide to new generations of students the experience that made such a major difference to him.

“At Hope, I was transformed intellectually in the classroom, relationally in the dorms and activities, and spiritually in the chapel,” he said.  “That transformative experience was a gift, and I’ve been living the last 23 years as a grateful response to the good deposit — in the words of 2 Timothy — that I received from God at Hope College.  I’m looking forward to returning and repaying it as the college prepares and sends out lifelong givers, worshipers and community leaders, like ships from the harbor bringing Hope to the world.”

Hart majored in religion and communication at Hope, earning the Van Ess Award from the Department of Religion and a Distinguished Artist Award in Theatre.  Throughout his years as a student, he participated in theatre productions and in Campus Ministry activities, including spring-break immersion trips across the U.S. and abroad.  He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he received the Jagow Award in Homiletics; and a Doctorate of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts.

During his seminary years, he worked for the New York Yankees chaplain and conducted “boardroom Bible studies” for Wall Street men.  Since that time, Hart’s ministry has remained amongst the Wall Street demographic in the greater New York City area, including a pastorate for two years at Brookville Reformed Church on Long Island and six years as the New York City director of FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools).  Hart began serving Stanwich Church as pastor of equipping in 2011, and was appointed senior pastor in 2018.

In addition to his time on 鶹Ƶ Board of Trustees, which is concluding in conjunction with his appointment as dean of the chapel, Hart’s volunteer activity on behalf of education has included serving on the Board of Trustees of The Stony Brook School on Long Island and the board of The Stanwich School.

“I am excited for Nathan to lead our Campus Ministries program,” said Dr. Matthew Wixson, vice-chair of the Board of Trustees, who is an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “His service to 鶹Ƶ has prepared him well to understand the nuances of higher education, and his deep faith and servant leadership will enrich our campus, especially the faith formation of our student body.”

Hart and his wife, Nancy, have two teenage children at home. His mother, Wilma, was a member of the Hope staff for several years, serving until retirement as assistant to the director of student life and coordinator of volunteer services at Hope.