On January 7, 2020, Pastor Rob Peterson announced his resignation from his role as lead pastor of Thornapple, effective March 24, 2020*. The Council of Elders honors and supports both Rob and Soni as they feel called by God to a ministry of mentoring pastors.

For more information about this transition, we encourage you to read Pastor Rob’s letter to the congregation HERE. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, Pastor Rob extended his time with us until May 24. He started a new position with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Canada on June 1.

In this significant season for Thornapple, the Elders are working closely with Thornapple staff to make sure our communication is clear. In that spirit, we will be updating this page regularly with important dates and information as we go through this process.

If, at any point you have questions, concerns or just thoughts that you want to share, you can reach out via either of the following ways:

Transition Timeline

Below is a general timeline for the phases of this transition period. We will update the timeline with specific dates as they are known.

Good Endings
Appreciating and showing love to Pastor Rob and Soni

Creating a church profile, vision statement and job description. Hiring an interim lead pastor.

Advertising and interviewing potential pastoral candidates; recommending a candidate to the church.

Meeting the candidate as a congregation, congregational meeting and vote.



Transitional Pastor 

Our new transitional pastor, Remy Diederich, will work half-time at his church in Menomonie, WI and half-time at Thornapple through the month of September. He and his wife, Lisa, will be moving to Grand Rapids on October 1, at which time he will begin working ¾ time at Thornapple. We are excited for Remy’s leadership during this transitional period. Learn more about the Diederich’s here.


Senior Pastor Search Committee
The Elders unanimously decided to ask Sue Smith to chair this committee and she has accepted. The Senior Pastor Search Committee includes: Michelle Bennett (staff), Stephanie DeMeester, Todd Drenth, Susan Harrell, Kim Hoekstra, Jim Knight, Brian Peneycad, Beth Read, Jim Smith (Elder), Sue Smith, Andrew Twining and Roy Williams. The committee has begun their work, you can learn more about them and their process here.



Membership at Thornapple

All potential new pastors at Thornapple go through a call process that ends with a vote by Thornapple’s membership. Members at Thornapple are regular, committed attendees who have been through the membership process. Read more about membership at Thornapple here. If you call Thornapple your home church and are interested in becoming a member, our next What is A Covenant Church? two-part series (required for membership; meeting virtually) is scheduled for Sept. 30/Oct. 7 with a Membership Class on Sunday, Oct. 11.