Document Type



Rudolf Kuyten was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, in 1932 and attended Gordon College and Calvin College to study languages in the United States. Kuyten was ordained in 1959 after attending Western Theological Seminary. In 1954, Kuyten married Trina Vander Eems. Vander Eems was born in Haledon, New Jersey, and attended Calvin College to become an elementary school teacher. Rudolf and Trina had four children, one adopted, while in Japan. The RCA accepted the Kuytens for missionary work upon his ordainment, assigning them to Hokkaido, Japan, in 1959. The Kuytens began their ministry by founding a pair of coffee shops and organizing interest through a variety of community activities. Over the next twenty years, the Kuytens proved successful enough to expand their activities even further. In 1979, the Church of the Twelve Apostles was founded by the members of the coffee shop programs, with Kuyten as its first minister. During his time in Japan, Rudolf became a skilled woodcarver. His carvings of religious themes eventually gained some fame, and several of them are housed in museums and universities in Japan. The Kuytens stayed in Japan and helped to expand the activities of the church until 1994, when they retired and returned to the United States. The Kuyten collection consists of letters, photographs, sketches, publications, and video recordings pertaining to the lives of Rudy Kuyten and Trina Kuyten. Materials on the founding and management of both the coffee shops and church are present, with a strong focus on the early years of each organization. By 1980, the focus of the collection shifts to Reverend Kuyten’s carvings, which are the subject of the majority of the photographs in the collection.


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