2023 Thornapple Year-in-Review

Annual meeting forms
can be downloaded
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A Note from Pastor Andrew

When I think back on 2023, the phrase that comes to mind is “deep breath.” We collectively got to inhale deeply of God’s goodness and grace. Some of the pressures we have felt in recent years have lightened. We have relaxed in the love of God a bit more.

We also took a “deep breath” as a church in the sense that there is work ahead of us. The Spirit continues shaping and sending us into the world as ambassadors of the kingdom of God. Like a diver about to descend, we are taking a big gulp of air in preparation for our task of living God’s grace and truth. 

Both these “deep breath” meanings are embodied in our “broken and beautiful” vision. We gasp in horror at seeing the sin within and around us. And we inhale in awe at God’s craftsmanship in making all humans. The world and we the church called Thornapple are both loved by God in our broken and beautiful state.

We finished the year of “lamenting the gap” between heaven and earth with a visual representation of how the God works with the fragments of our lives. We began the year of “remodeling relationships under Jesus.” We look to Jesus as the model and seek Jesus’ help to change our relationships.

In Genesis 2, God breathes into the dust and creates the earthling. In John 20, Jesus breathes on his frightened disciples and gives them the Holy Spirit. God is creating a people by the same Spirit who live the way of Jesus in Cascade and beyond.

May we be known as good news people in 2024, Thornapple!

In Christ,
Pastor Andrew

Ministry Updates

Children's Ministry Highlights

  • 175 children at VBS with 80 volunteers  (60 were HS and MS students)
  • Summer Fun: Pool Parties, Craig's Cruisers and Bowling
  • Birthday cards throughout the year
  • Fall retreat at Portage Lake Bible Camp
  • Family Lunches twice a year by grade
  • Sunday morning: averaging 53 kids each week with 22 adults and 25 HS students teaching/leading groups
  • Nursery: averaging 10 kids per week with 30 volunteers
  • Trailblazers: 20-25 kids with 6 adult volunteers  

Student Ministry: Middle School

Middle School Student Ministry has had a busy year with some changes made along the way! First of all, our NextGen team did some praying and discerning and changed the grades for middle school to 7th and 8th. The 6th grade students remained a part of Children’s Ministry. And now Sunday morning is called Ignite; it is our prayer that our students will be ignited with a faith and love for Jesus that will carry on for the rest of their lives. We are studying the Bible together using the Covenant Rock Solid Curriculum.

Our Tuesday night ministry is now called Refuel. We pray that we can refuel our students with Jesus in the midst of their school week. Our students are bringing their friends not only to the fun outreach events but to Refuel and Ignite. The love and knowledge of Jesus is going out to our community!

A highlight of our year was the TSM Service Adventure. We partnered with Sheryl Baas and ICCF Family Homes to spend three days serving in the Grand Rapids area. We slept at Thornapple, were blessed to shower at the Mary Free Bed YMCA and spent our evenings having fun together at pools and bowling. During the day we did yard work, painted, cleaned homes ready to be occupied, etc., along with playing with some kids. The students were amazing workers and enjoyed serving together.  

The awesome ministry team of Kevin Read, Mike and Stephanie Taylor, JB and April Hunt and Tom Winer share the love of Jesus and model a life of faith to students. 


  • MS Refuel (Tuesday evening ministry)
    • Coke Clubs (Small Groups)
    • Games in the Gym
    • Pizza
    • Jesus
  • MS Ignite (Sunday morning ministry)
    • Rock Solid
  • Fall Retreat at Portage Lake
  • Crossover for 8th grade into HS
  • Fun Activities and Outreach Opportunities
  • Tubing at Cannonsburg
  • Pool Parties
  • Cedar Point
  • The Hunt

Student Ministry: high School

Each year we find new ways to GO, GROW, and SERVE!

Whether reuniting on Sunday nights in our newly remodeled high school room for Huddle, meeting in each others' homes for Supper Clubs, visiting college ministry worship services, dashing around town in the Amazing Race, recentering during our annual retreats, or exploring on our Colorado Adventure Trip, we are grateful to GO journey together!

Within these experiences are mountaintop highs and valley lows, providing us new ways to take hold of the soundtracks God has rewritten for us and to remodel our relationships under Jesus Christ. We have been blessed to GROW together in our new efforts of student-led Huddles, moving in concert with the larger church teaching and vision, and opportunities to focus less on answers and more on wrestling through questions together.

In the midst of going and growing we have also embraced a posture to SERVE. Taking Huddle on the road to rehab properties for ICCF Community Homes, provide gifts for families in need through “Grinch Night”, or taking a “we over me” approach to Sunday mornings by serving with our Childrens’ Ministry, Tech, and Worship teams, God continues to be revealed as we join in his redemptive work!


  • Sunday Night Huddle & Small Groups
  • “Supper Clubs” Small Group Dinners at students’ houses
  • Fall Retreat *Do-over* at Gull Lake (37 students and 12 adult leaders)
  • “We Love TSM Brunch” fundraiser
  • Winter Retreat at PLCBC (23 students and 6 adult leaders)
  • March Madness watch & play party
  • Huddle visits Hope College & GVSU Campus Ministry Chapel
  • Huddle serving with ICCF Community Homes
  • Senior Banquet and Senior Say-So Huddle
  • Students participating in GVN Program
  • Students serving Sunday mornings in Children's Ministry, Tech Team, Worship Band
  • VBS Volunteering
  • Senior High Camp at Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp
  • Upperclassmen Leadership Night at Nesburg’s
  • Summer Training Hikes & Pool Parties
  • Colorado Adventure Trip (46 students and 15 adult leaders)
  • Student Reflection Sunday & Worship Band
  • Cedar Point Trip
  • HS Room Makeover
    Amazing Race: “Career Edition” in Rockford (68 Students = 40 regulars and 28 invitees! With over three dozen adult volunteers!)
  • Student-led Huddle
  • Fall Retreat at Camp Geneva (33 students and 12 adult leaders)
  • “Grinch Night” Huddle: buying gifts for families in need through ICCF
  • Huddle Kick-off & Christmas Parties
  • Alumni Supper Club (24 alumni and 9 adult leaders)

Adult Ministries

  • 58 moms and their 99 kiddos attending this year with 8 Mentor Moms and 13 MOPPETS volunteers

Women's Bible Studies
  • Two morning groups and one evening group are meeting with approximately 60 women participating; the studies are providing connection, biblical study and application, as well as prayer support.

Men's Small Groups
  • Four groups with 44 participants have studies three books ("Not In It To Win It", "Your Are Only Human" and "The Divine Conspiracy."
  • Three Men's Breakfasts with speakers: Peter Ek, Julia Sandstrom and Rob Peterson; averaged 50 men per breakfast.

College & Young Adults
  • Four Sunday post-church brunches
  • Handed out exam study/treat bags in the spring and winter
  • Attended the church fair at Calvin University
  • Sent notes and gift cards to Thornapple's recent high school grads

pastoral care

Stephen Ministry
  • We have 21 Stephen Ministers, including 6 newly trained Stephen Ministers
  • We’ve had 5 or 6 care receivers at any one time. We would love to see more people at Thornapple take advantage of the gift of having a Stephen Minister.
  • “Cancer, Now What?” books to people diagnosed with cancer 
  • Grateful the leadership team who leads and did the training this year - Marian Hunt, Barb Hoogeboom, Cheri Fox, Sam Woolpert, and Joyce Zaagman

Grief and Loss
  • Supported families and spouses with Journeying Through Grief books, personal notes, and calls throughout the first year of loss and beyond.
  • Blue Christmas service in December

Care Ministries
  • Meals to families and individuals in times of crisis, illness, or grief
  • Helping find rides for people as needed
  • Regular visits to Thornapple members in assisted living, independent living, and living alone.
  • Meeting with people as needs arise and just to check-in
  • Prayers of the People each week and easy access to give prayer requests on the app
Pine Rest Church Assistance Program (CAP)
  • We had one workshop on emotions in January of 2022. We look forward to more in the upcoming year.
  • Thornapple people used 30 sessions of counseling , financial assistance, legal assistance, and the hotline through the CAP this year. We hope there are even more in the future!
  • The CAP is available to all individuals who attend Thornapple in some way and includes 3 free counseling sessions per person per issue, financial advice, legal advice, and an online library full of resources.

Love Mercy Do Justice

  • Family Promise Partnership - temporarily housed and fed nearly 20 families in crisis this year over 4 weeks, over 100 Thornapple members were involved, invited Keystone Community Church into the hosting work
  • Glenn VanNoord Summer program expanded beyond Thornapple for the first time, allowing additional youth from our community to serve at and connect with GR urban organizations.
  • Provided hands-on opportunities to serve meals via Degage, cards for prisoners, blood drives, and hands-on work days with ICCF, Habitat, and Family Promise.
  • More than 200 gifts were provided for the Degage Christmas Store in less than 2 weeks
  • Hosted a multi-generational very well-attended housing and homelessness simulation
  • Financially support 6 ministries in Grand Rapids and abroad
  • Began the process of honing our team focus for 2024 and beyond

international missions

  • Ongoing support of 10 mission partners, including new support for our own Mitchel Strawser and for Satya Maharjan and Johnson Rajen.
  • The International Missions team met regularly in 2023, including meeting with several Thornapple members to learn about their individual passions and are working on a vision to help enable the church body engage with missions, as well as working more closely with our "in country" brethren at Love Mercy Do Justice
  • Partnered with Keystone and Cascade Fellowship churches for the Cascade 6K for Water
  • Visits this year from the Hirts, Misras, Ziegelbaurs and Groots
  • Incorporating mission partners into our worship services in various ways.


Proxy Form

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Please complete a proxy form and return it to the Secretary by mail or email PRIOR to the start of the meeting.

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Absentee Ballot

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Pre-Read Packet

Download a copy and review it prior to the Annual Meeting on Feb. 25. If you need to have a hard copy mailed to you, please contact Kimberly Korpak.

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Forum Recording

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