So you want to know more about us? Explore the sections below to learn
about our beliefs and the denomination we belong to. You can also meet our staff
and our elders, and find out how we’re Always Making Room.

What We Believe

Since 1979, Thornapple Covenant Church has been called to help people find and follow Jesus Christ (John 1:35-51). We believe this to be our main task and by the power of the Holy Spirit we participate in God’s mission that all people come to faith and that all things be made right in and through Jesus our Lord.

But how should we live? What shape does our discipleship take in our daily lives? At Thornapple finding and following Jesus means we humbly commit ourselves to a way of daily living that honors Jesus and winsomely draws people to him. To that end we invite each person to practice the following missional habits.

  • Bless our neighbors with God’s love and the good news of Jesus (Witness).
  • Look to God in prayer at all times and seasons (Pray).
  • Learn Jesus through engagement with God’s word (Word).
  • Share our life with a small group of disciples (Community).
  • Care for the poor and vulnerable as we extend the compassion of Christ (Serve).

Read our full mission statement.

Our Denomination

We are a part of the Evangelical Covenant Church, a denomination of more than eight hundred churches in the United States and Canada. It was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1885 as a voluntary covenant of churches committed to working together to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Covenant churches emphasize the Bible’s witness to new life in Jesus Christ expressed in a day to day walk with the Lord.

For Covenant people, our essential beliefs are summed up in six “Covenant Affirmations.”

  • We affirm the centrality of the word of God.
  • We affirm the necessity of the new birth.
  • We affirm a commitment to the whole mission of the Church.
  • We affirm the Church as a fellowship of believers.
  • We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit.
  • We affirm the reality of freedom in Christ.

Read a full description of the Evangelical Covenant Church and learn more about the affirmations.

View videos created by the denomination that explain each affirmation.

Classes about the Covenant denomination and the affirmations are typically taught twice a year and are a requirement for membership.

Meet Our Leadership

Remy Diederich

Transitional Pastor

Remy is our primary preaching/teaching pastor until our full-time senior pastor is in place sometime in 2021/22.

Andrew Vanover

Associate Pastor

Andrew’s work includes equipping ministries, leading in the areas of administration, implementation of the church vision and adult formation.

Michael Weller

Minister of Worship Arts

Michael prepares for and leads the congregation in faithful, meaningful and engaging worship.

Peter Ek

Minister to Students

Peter oversees ministry to high school students, helping them develop their leadership skills and setting the foundation for Christian faith that will carry them into adulthood.

Linda Winer

Director of Middle School Ministry

Linda oversees our Middle School Student Ministry, including Sunday morning classes and Wednesday evening gatherings.

Lynne McLaughlin

Minister to Children Interim Pastor of Community Life

Lynne works with Lisa Udell to plan and implement all aspects of our ministry to children from newborn through 5th grade and as Interim Pastor of Community Life, she oversees and coordinates adult small groups, women’s ministry and congregational care.

Lisa Udell

Minister to Children

Lisa works with Lynne McLaughlin to plan and implement all aspects of our ministry to children from newborn through 5th grade.

Angel Baum

Office Assistant

Angel works in the front office overseeing many of the details necessary to keep the day to day operations of the church running smoothly.

Michelle Bennett

Communications Coordinator

Michelle oversees communication including website management, bulletin, social media, graphic design and print materials. She is also responsible for welcoming visitors and newcomers to Thornapple and connecting them with the life of our church.

Kimberly Korpak

Pastoral Assistant

Kimberly offers administrative support to the pastoral staff. She also oversees and coordinates our Hospitality volunteers.

Taren Durham

Staff Accountant

Taren is responsible to provide professional bookkeeping and accounting in support of the Associate Pastor, Treasurer and Financial Secretary.

Ron Pleune

Facility Coordinator

Ron takes care of the many details that are involved with the daily care and maintenance of our facilities and grounds.

Sarah DeBaets


Patty Dekker

Elder, Vice Chair

Susan Eastburg


Jeff Guikema


Doug Josephson

Elder, Chair

Gail Mortenson

Elder, Secretary

Brian Rudy


Erin Russell


Jim Smith


Josh Traughber


Mickey Tresh


Rick Kamminga

Financial Secretary

About Our Elders

Thornapple’s Council of Elders are elected to three-year terms from our membership and are joined by the Senior Pastor and Treasurer. They serve as the board of directors and legal trustees of this Church and its property; meeting the third Thursday of every month (summaries of their meetings can be found below).

Our Elders are here to serve. Contact them at any time if you have concerns you would like them to be aware of or ideas you would like to share. Please refer to their contact information in the church directory (available at the Welcome Center) OR leave a note for them in the mailbox in the Copy Room at church.

  • For financial updates, go here.
  • If you would like information and options about how to give financially to Thornapple, go here.
  • Read Thornapple’s Articles of Incorporation or our Bylaws (Part A and Part B).
  • Read a summary of the most recent Council of Elders meeting here.

Always Making Room

Our mission is to make a lasting impact on the community around us with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. We believe that God has called us to invite every person to know Christ and grow as a follower of Christ.

For over forty years, Thornapple Covenant Church has made room in our hearts and lives for those who are far from God. We have always been eager to welcome the visitor, befriend the stranger and reach out to the refugee. We do these things all in the name of Jesus Christ, who calls us to offer hope and life to people, no matter where they are on their spiritual journey. By the grace of God we have made room for others, opening our hearts and lives to embrace all those that God has sent our way.

The Always Making Room building initiative and capital campaign captured our desire to expand the impact of our mission to our community and beyond. The result was a new addition to our facility which includes the Thornapple Community Center – a space that we pray helps us further our mission to help people find and follow Jesus Christ and blesses our community beyond our wildest dreams.

Thornapple Community
Center Use,
The First Nine Months

(Prior to COVID)
  • Community Open House
  • Dedication
  • Church Potlucks
  • School Standardized Testing
  • Church Security Training
  • Hymn Sings
  • LEGO Camp
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Women’s Self-Defense Class
  • Children’s & Student Ministry Gatherings
  • Adult Small Groups, Ministries & Meals
  • Men’s/Women’s Special Events
  • WholyFit
  • Pickleball
  • Community Basketball
  • Wedding Events
  • School Sports Banquets
  • Game Nights
  • MOPS Consignment Sale
  • Fall Fest
  • Youth Workers Conference
  • Thanksgiving Social
  • Family Christmas Parties