The Rev. Dr. Han van den Blink
St. Paul’s Church, Troy
You trace my journeys and my resting places,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
I am not an American native. My place of birth in 1934 was Mojowarno, a small village in East Java, Indonesia, where my father was principal of an elementary school run by a Dutch Reformed missionary society. Aside from my parents, the most important person during my first years of my life was a Javanese woman who had a profound influence on my early formation.
She was a Muslim woman and, like most Indonesians, her faith was heavily influenced by an underlying animism which sees the world as divinized by spirits, not only good but also bad ones. This sense of the sacramental nature of the world stayed with me and had much to do, I believe, with my life long difficulty in adjusting to a more rational Protestant faith and also with the way I resonated so strongly with the sacramental theology and practice of the Episcopal Church.
Since the time I was born I have been on many journeys. Some of them literal travels, at first related with my father’s work. Other journeys were metaphorical and even spiritual ones. Journeys from country to country (Indonesia, the Netherlands and the US), from one language and culture to another (Dutch, Malay, and English), and later from being a practicing psychologist to ordination as a priest, to name a few of the important ones.
A number of my journeys were undertaken to flee from danger. Others for purposes of education and professional training. And yet others to find greater personal fulfillment and a safe place, a home. A few were pilgrimages, journeys of faith, and sometimes, only seen in retrospect, a search for God.