The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, May. 28, 2020

VW independent/submitted information

First United Methodist Church in Van Wert has announced it will be holding worship services on Facebook Live from now through Palm Sunday, April 5. An analysis will be done soon to determine whether regular in-person worship can take place on Easter Sunday, April 12.

By logging onto the church’s page: Van Wert First United Methodist Church, worshippers will be able to enjoy a casual 8:15 a.m. worship service and a traditional 10:45 a.m. service.  It will be a live broadcast at those times, and include interactive singing, prayers, and liturgy as well as Pastor Chris Farmer’s weekly message.

Pastor Chris Farmer and Worship Arts Director Paul Hoverman invite worshippers to log onto the services and receive a blessing, knowing that others are worshipping at the same time. The church’s business office hours remain Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to noon.

All small groups and meetings have also been canceled at First UM Church now through April 5. Fridays at First are going to still be offered from noon-12:45 p.m., when the sanctuary is open for anyone wanting to enter quietly to pray, meditate on their own. The organ plays soft, meditative hymns and spiritual songs.

The Cooperative Food Pantry will be serving clients on its regular schedule; however, volunteers will meet clients at the door rather than inside the building. The Bread and Bowl program, which provides a free meal to those in need on Fridays, will do the same, beginning at 6 p.m. This schedule will continue until further notice. 

The ministers, staff, volunteers, and people of First UM Church continue to pray that both physical and spiritual needs can be met during this challenging time.

POSTED: 03/19/20 at 10:18 am. FILED UNDER: Church

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert’s First United Methodist Chancel Choir has been invited to perform in the National Memorial Day Choral Festival Concert 2020 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.  

The choir will be traveling from Van Wert by motor coach May 22-26, 2020, to Washington to rehearse with a festival chorus under the direction of Dr. Craig Jessop, former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the U.S. Singing Sergeants. The festival chorus will be accompanied by the U.S. Air Force Symphony Orchestra.

First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir

This annual sold-out concert at the Kennedy Center will be held Sunday, May 24, 2020. Additionally, the Van Wert choir will perform at the opening ceremonies of the National Memorial Day Parade on Constitution Avenue on May 25.

“The selection process was made through a submission of recordings of the choir,” said Director Paul Hoverman.  

The choir was also selected to sing at the 2016 Worldwide United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Oregon. “This probably aided in the selection process and eventual invitation,” Hoverman added.

While in D.C., the choir will also visit the Jefferson Memorial, the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial, Korean, World War II, and Vietnam memorials, as well as the Holocaust Memorial Museum.  

Choir members will also participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and attend the National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, that features the National Symphony Orchestra and is broadcast each year on PBS.

The First United Methodist Chancel Choir will give a local concert on May 31, 2020, once it returns from Washington, D.C.  

POSTED: 09/28/19 at 7:49 am. FILED UNDER: Church

First Presbyterian Church Vacation Bible School mission project for the past week was Project Clean: collect laundry soap, dryer sheets, and fabric softener. With the help of VBS explorers and the congregation, the church collected around 60 items during the VBS week. VBS organizers wanted to do something to help support the needs in the community, realizing that laundry supplies are an expensive budget expense, and hopes the mission project will assist families in the area at this time. The items will be delivered to the First Methodist Food Pantry and to the Salvation Army. Shown are Keaten Welch, Kemlynn Welch, Kaiven Welch, Keiley Welch, Grayson Baker, and Ella Crosby. photo provided

POSTED: 08/05/19 at 7:05 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Youth

Members of the Black Swamp Motorcycle Club recently partnered with St. Mark’s Lutheran Church donating $100 to help with the cost of non-perishable food and personal hygiene items for St. Mark’s Blessing Box program. The Blessings Box is located in Van Wert at the northwest corner of Washington and Sycamore streets in the church’s parking lot. This community outreach helps families that may be struggling to make ends meet. Black Swamp Cruiser Club Chapter 6 is a family friendly motorcycle club located in the Van Wert area and is part of the larger group, Cruiser Club USA. Goals of the club include donating time, money, or talents to others. This past year, the club donated items to the Blessings Box and learned how many people have been helped through partnering with St. Mark’s and its outreach program. For more information, contact the church office at 419.238.6336 , visit the church’s website,, or “like” the church on Facebook. Shown are Pastor Will Haggis and Mark Schaberg of St. Mark’s with Black Swamp Motorcycle Club members. photo provided

POSTED: 07/17/19 at 7:21 am. FILED UNDER: Church

VW independent/submitted information

At their recent AWANA closing program, members of First Baptist Church in Van Wert celebrated 30 years of outreach in Van Wert through its Wednesday night AWANA clubs.   

Commanders Larry and Shirley Lloyd were honored with a plaque for their 30 continuous years serving in the church’s AWANA ministry. According to Martha Bigham, FBC’s Children’s Ministry director, the Lloyds had served faithfully each club year in one capacity or another.  

AWANA Commanders Larry and Shirley Lloyd (center) were recently honored at First Baptist Church’s AWANA closing program recently for their 30 years of faithful service in the congregation’s weekly Kids Club. Shown with the Lloyds are Martha Bigham (left), director of Children’s Ministries, and John Rager, deacon chairman and Christian Education director.
photo provided

“For 25 plus years, Larry and Shirley have been commanders of First Baptist’s AWANA Clubs,” Bigham noted. “Even when they took time off from being commanders, they were still involved with the work. 

“Their dedication in reaching boys and girls for Christ and then training them to serve Him has been a vital part of our outreach in the community,” Bigham added. “Their enthusiasm and love for the youngsters have been such a blessing to all of us over the years.”

The Lloyds said they aren’t planning to “retire” from the work any time soon and already are making plans to serve in next year’s weekly Wednesday night Children’s Ministry for boys and girls ages 3 through Grade 6.  And although the club year has been suspended for the summer months, a new club year will begin Wednesday, September 18.

AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed and is based on the club’s theme Bible verse, 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 

POSTED: 04/30/19 at 5:53 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Youth

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Council 121, Catholic Ladies of Columbia, met December 11 in the Holy Family Room at St. Mary’s Rectory for the annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange.

Shown are CLC members and guests present a $250 check to Deacon Andy McMahon. photo provided

Ashley Showalter prepared a spaghetti pasta bar, with spinach salad and chocolate peppermint poke cake for dessert. Twelve members and nine guests attended.

The gift exchange was “open and take another person’s gift if you want it”. Many laughs were shared during the exchange. As a holiday gift, the group presented a $250 charitable gift to Deacon Andy McMahon, the chair of the local Habitat for Humanity group. The money will go towards the front door of the home being built.

POSTED: 12/19/18 at 12:58 am. FILED UNDER: Church

Members of First Presbyterian Church of Van Wert recently visited the YWCA of Van Wert County to deliver items the congregation collected for the resident store. Items include new board games and gift cards to local establishments to see a movie, go bowling, or have a meal out, as well as other popular items. These types of things are a budgetary splurge for those living at the YWCA; however, through the resident store, they gain access to some these desirable items. Shown are (from the left) First Presbyterian Church members Gloria Parrish and Harriet Schaadt, YWCA Victim Services Director Jamie Evans, and First Presbyterian members Barb Everidge and Michelle White. 

POSTED: 12/17/18 at 9:55 am. FILED UNDER: Church

The Piecemakers of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Van Wert are members of a Thrivent Action Team. Thrivent helped the women purchase batting to make 50 quilts for Lutheran World Relief. Shown (from the left) are Barbara Reichert, Carol Greulach, Joan Holland, Yvonne Leaser, Myra Friesner, Karen Ottenweller, Susan McKanna, Carol Doner, and Lois Linser.

POSTED: 12/11/18 at 12:29 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Lifestyles

VW independent/submitted information

When the members of Trinity United Methodist Church in Van Wert heard about a need in the Van Wert community to help local public school students learn more about God, they jumped in to help

Shown are (from the left) Pastor Kurt Tomlinson and Mary Collins from Trinity United Methodist Church and Cross Over the Hill teachers Myrna Hamrick and Sarah Hostetler.

Cross Over the Hillis a community ministry that offers classes about reading the Bible to the students at Van Wert Elementary School. About 95 percent of students participate in this voluntary, parent-approved, off-property, independently-funded, completely-legal program that helps students learn to read the Bible during their fun, one-hour weekly educational classes.

The program has been so successful that the students needed new Bibles, as the ones they had been using simply wore out from usage. This is where the people of Trinity United Methodist Church stepped in with the purchase and delivery of 28 new Bibles.

“It is such a great privilege to be a part of this important faith-based community ministry helping our students learn the Bible and, in doing so, become better people and grow closer to God,” said Trinity UM Pastor Kurt Tomlinson. “Having this ministry in our community is a unique blessing that we celebrate. They will get years of usage out of these great Bibles.”

Those who would like to volunteer or support the Cross Over the Hill ministry should check out its website at The ministry is in need of volunteers to help kids safely walk to and from the Cross Over the Hill buildings from the school and in other areas.

POSTED: 10/10/18 at 7:03 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Youth

Jesse Eckert, First Presbyterian Church’s coordinator for young life discipleship, presents a donation to Trina Langdon, PLC Health Clinic director, while members of the church’s Mission Committee look on. photo provided

POSTED: 08/04/18 at 7:46 am. FILED UNDER: Church