Bethany Christian Services Co-Founder Dies at Age 93

Mary Vanden Bosch, the co-founder of the nation's largest adoption agency, passed away Monday. She was 93.

Bethany Christian Services, which Vanden Bosch (then Mary DeBoer) and Marguerite Bonnema established in 1944, reported on Vanden Bosch's death Wednesday and announced plans for the funeral at Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Wyoming, Mich., scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m.

The agency did not reveal the circumstances of Vanden Bosch's death but said it "is a sad time in the history of the agency."

"Bethany would not be a global ministry today without the vision and calling of two strong Christian women to serve vulnerable children," said Bill Blacquiere, CEO of Bethany Christian Services. "As a co-founder, Mary played a vital role in starting a ministry that continues to grow.

"Our prayers are with the Vanden Bosch family," he added.

Since starting humbly in Grand Rapids, Mich., as Bethany Christian Home, Bethany Christian Services has grown to include 81 offices in 31 states and international ministries in 17 countries.

The Christ-centered adoption and orphan care agency, which last year placed 1,694 children with their adoptive families, provides pregnancy counseling, family counseling, foster care programs, and an infertility ministry.

The agency was named "Bethany" because, in the words of the founders, "Bethany was a place where Jesus was welcomed into the home of Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary.

"It was earnestly hoped that Bethany Christian Home would always be a place where Christ's presence could be felt and where His blessing would be sought and enjoyed," Vanden Bosch and Bonnema had explained.

Vanden Bosch is survived by five children (four daughters and one son), nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband and one granddaughter.

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