Egg bakes, French toast, pancakes, and coffee cakes graced the Thanksgiving tables at Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Zeeland, Mich., on the American holiday last week. Gathering for Thanksgiving breakfast before a morning worship service is a long-standing tradition that draws 75 to 100 people each year.
“We just get together with a bunch of like-minded people who like to cook, and we have breakfast on for whoever wants to make it to church prior to the morning worship service,” said Dan De Haan, one of the breakfast organizers and cooks. “It is kind of a nice way to just sit down and talk to a whole lot of different people over food . . . and then go upstairs to worship.”
Bethel CRC’s Thanksgiving breakfast began several years ago when the young people’s group used it to fundraise for various SERVE trips and other events. De Haan has been organizing for the past six or so years. “Our congregation is thinning out of young people, but we wanted to keep that old Thanksgiving thing going,” De Haan said. “Lately we’ve just been doing it as a thank-you to the congregation.”
De Haan said the breakfast gathering attracts people from Bethel CRC and their extended families visiting for the holiday, as well as a few others. “We’ve invited people from the community that we’ve bumped into from time to time, and there’s been occasion[s] when some community people have dropped in for breakfast and then stayed for church after,” De Haan said.
Ten to 12 people donate and prepare the breakfast, and the church pays for the rest of the cost. Breakfast is served free to those who come.