In celebration of the 50 years of the Office of Race Relations (ORR), we are featuring the stories of people in the CRC who have been actively demonstrating a passion for multicultural congregations and a commitment to antiracism. We call people who have been exemplifying these ideals, “Champions of Justice.” These “Champions” are the nominees for the Dante Venegas award that will be presented at Inspire 2022 in Chicago next August.
We are proud to introduce Bing Goei as one of these nominees.
Here’s a little more history about Bing and his work:
Bing Goei was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. When he was six years old, Bing’s parents and his five siblings fled Indonesia as communism took over. They lived in the Netherlands for five years, then immigrated to the U.S. and arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan on January 9, 1960 under the sponsorship of the Fuller Ave Christian Reformed church.
Bing served as the first Minority Executive Director of a ministry in the CRCNA as Executive Director of SCORR from 1987 to 1993. He is currently the majority owner and CEO of Eastern Floral and Founder of the Goei Center. Bing has received many awards for his work in Diversity and Racial Justice. His businesses have also received several Local, State and National Awards from its peers.
Bing married his wife, Jean, in 1969 and they have been blessed with 5 children and 17 grandchildren. They have been members of East Leonard CRC for over 55 years. They have served ELCRC in many different capacities including Youth Group Leaders and other youth related ministries. Bing has served as Elder and Deacon as well as President of Council and has taught Bible study groups.
Here are Bing’s personal reflections on his antiracism advocacy work:
It is very evident that God’s plan for my life has been laid out from the very beginning. From being born to Yam Soen Goei and his wife Lian Swan Kno on May 22, 1948, a Christian couple living in Indonesia which at that time had a 97% Muslim population. God also planned for me to live in the Netherlands during my childhood years, 1954 to 1959. During these years I was able to learn the Dutch language and the Dutch culture. This experience God knew would help me in my tenure as God called me to lead the CRCNA in the ministry of the Synodical Committee on Race Relations (SCORR).
God’s plan for using me as a member of the business community was determined when God called on Fuller Ave CRC to sponsor my family as Indonesian political refugees to Grand Rapids in 1960. This was in God’s plan because one of its Deacons was Frank DeVos, the founder of Eastern Floral. And my entry into the flower business world was through the work of Frank who was instrumental in obtaining a job for my father at a local wholesale floral company as a janitor. I was able to work at that business throughout my high school and college years.
The amazing story of God using a young immigrant is too long to describe in this short essay but allow me to share some of the highlights of God’s love for me as he used me to serve Him.
As the Executive Director of SCORR, I was able to convince Synod to establish the Multi-Ethnic Advisors Panel to sit on the floor of Synod and to allow the voices of our Minority CRCNA members to be heard during Synodical Sessions. This was God’s way to bypass the old thinking that only Elders of established churches are wise enough to lead His Church. This groundbreaking decision paved the way for Women Advisors to be seated on the floor of Synod and shortly thereafter, Synod approved the seating of a Youth Advisors Panel on the floor of Synod. Praise be to God that our Synodical representation is more reflective of the beauty of God’s children with a recognition that the CRCNA must continue to grow in embracing God’s inclusive nature.
As a business owner, God has provided me with a platform to speak about the importance of using all people whose God given talents are needed to sustain a Global Economy. Our nation’s abuse of and disrespect for people of color who are created in God’s image, has been and continues to be the sin that the Church must address. Ignoring this sin by God’s people will be the demise of our nation and His Church.
Using God’s gift of my businesses, Eastern Floral and the Goei Center, I will continue to fulfill the calling as found in Micah 6:8. I am truly humbled that God has provided me with the resources to establish programs like the International Center for Entrepreneurial excellence which focuses on growing Women & Minority Entrepreneurs.
Because of God’s influence, my work around racial justice and equity has been recognized by my peers in the business community. These awards have brought light to the darkness of racism and exclusion in our business community, which is now being addressed with greater intentionality.
There are many Bible verses that guide me in my life and service to God. The two main verses that I focus on in my work are found in Rev.5:9-10 and Rev.7:9-10. Whether it is in our work, our church, in our cities or our nation, we must follow the instructions found in Jesus’ Lord’s Prayer, “…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven.”