The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 20, 2022

Community Good Friday service info listed

VW independent/submitted information

A community Good Friday service — a Van Wert tradition for more than 70 years — will continue this Friday, April 2, at First United Methodist Church in downtown Van Wert.  


The service will start at 12:05 p.m. and features the story of Christ’s crucifixion. Guest pastors participating in the service are the Rev. Jim Burns of Liberty Baptist Church, Dr. Tom Kinnan of Trinity Friends Church, the Rev. David To of Trinity United Methodist, the Rev. Bill Watson of Pentecostal Way Church, and Rev. Chris Farmer of First United Methodist.

A procession of the cross will start at 11:45 a.m. at the YWCA on Cherry Street. Anyone wanting to participate in this should gather there by 11:45 that morning. The cross will be carried down Main Street to Jefferson Street and then into the sanctuary of First UM Church.

Guest musicians sharing music in the service include Scott Turner on organ/clarinet, Michelle Amstutz on flute, Annette Hoverman on piano/keyboard, the First United Methodist Handbell Quartet, and vocalists Sheila Chilcote-Collins, Mary Ann Falk, Eric Hurless, Jacob Hoverman, and soloists Jake Schaufelberger of Dayton and Joel Trisel of Celina.

Schaufelberger is a graduate of Wright State University with a degree in Music Performance and Education.  He is a graduate of Van Wert High School and the grandson of former VWHS and First United Methodist choir director L.W. Schaufelberger. Trisel is a graduate of Bowling Green State University’s School of Music and is director of choirs for Celina City Schools. They will both be featured in selections from Dubois’ “Seven Last Words of Christ” during the service.  

The service will depict the story of Jesus’ arrest, journey to Calvary, and His eventual crucifixion as explained by the Gospels. Music will be interspersed with scripture, prayer, and dramatization. 

A community Good Friday service has been a tradition in Van Wert dating back to the 1950s. Then, downtown businesses would close at noon and the ecumenical service would begin at 12:05. Services were held at First United Methodist Church, an easy walk for businesspeople, most of whom were located in the downtown business district.  

Historians say the service would last until 3 p.m. in days past, compared to this year’s approximately one hour service. 

All are welcome to attend and continue this Good Friday tradition. Covid-19 precautions are observed at First Church, which is located at 113 W. Central Ave., across from Fountain Park. There are three entrances: one on Jefferson Street and two on Central Avenue.  

POSTED: 03/29/21 at 11:30 pm. FILED UNDER: News