The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023

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Join us for Van Wert community’s very first Handel’s “Messiah” Sing-Along to be held on from 7-8:30 p.m. Sunday, December 17, in First Presbyterian Church of Van Wert’s beautifully decorated sanctuary. The doors will open to the public at 6:15 p.m. Come to sing with us or come just to listen. There will be Messiah scores to borrow for anyone who would like to sing in the choir. If you would like to bring your own score, we are singing from the Schirmer/Spicker edition.

A “Messiah” Sing-Along, also known as a Scratch “Messiah” or The People’s “Messiah” is an informal performance in which the audience serves as the unrehearsed chorus, supported by a prepared core group. It is a come-as-you-are, casual evening of spiritual, historical and truly meaningful music.

The chorus will be seated in the front pews in their respective vocal groups while listeners may sit anywhere in the pews behind the chorus. Mr. Joel Trisel, Celina native and Bowling Green State University alumnus will be the director for our “Messiah” Sing-Along. Joel holds a master of music in vocal performance, a bachelor of music in music education and for the last eight years, has been the choral director for Celina City High School.

Familiar choruses such as, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born”, “Glory to God in the Highest”, and others will be sung throughout the evening with several featured soloists and ensembles that you won’t want to miss. In addition, organist Carol Zimmerman and pianist David VanTilburg will open the sing-along by performing the bombastic Messiah “Overture” and in the middle of the program will play the beautifully tranquil, “Pifa”- The Pastoral Symphony. We will end the sing-along with the famous, “Hallelujah Chorus”.

Featured soloists for the evening are: Shay Bolton, Sheila Chilcote-Collins, Mary Ann Falk, Kirsten Fuelling, Dee Hartsock-Fisher, Hannah Jones-Dresher, Mia Keirns, Anna Reichert, Joel Trisel, and the 16-member “In Spiritu” Women’s Ensemble.

FYI – There will be no stopping and/or re-starting choruses as it will be a “hold on to your hats and sing with wild abandon” night of glorious music. All are welcome. This is a wonderful way to celebrate and remember the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of our Lord, Christ’s passion and His promise of eternal life.

POSTED: 12/07/23 at 2:46 pm. FILED UNDER: Church

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Paul and Annette Hoverman will be ministering Christmas music with their musical talents and instruments at the Liberty Baptist Church, 501 E. Third Street, Van Wert, at the 10:45 a.m. worship service on Sunday, December 10.

Paul and Annette Hoverman

Paul and Annette have blessed hundreds of people in Ohio and other parts of our country with over 30 years of Paul’s church choir directing and trumpet performances along with Annette’s piano solos, accompanying choirs and singers. Paul has been actively involved in years of music education and Annette has operated a piano studio and instructed 100’s of students in piano for over 39 years.

The Liberty Baptist Church is located five blocks east of the Van Wert County Museum in the former Horace Mann School building. The public is invited to this event and it is free.

The church’s Senior Pastor, Jim Burns will share a brief Christmas message during the service.

For more information visit the church’s Facebook page.

POSTED: 12/07/23 at 2:37 pm. FILED UNDER: Church

VW independent staff

Churches around Van Wert County are encouraged to submit information about Christmas Eve services, including times, to The deadline is Monday, December 18. A list will be compiled and published on both the News and Church pages on Wednesday, December 20.

POSTED: 12/06/23 at 4:36 am. FILED UNDER: Church, News

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The 25th annual Live Nativity Drive-Thru celebrates its quarter-century as it returns to the Van Wert County Fairgrounds.

Colorful first-century costumes, lively stations that include centurions, tax collectors, a marketplace, shepherds, the manger and everyone’s favorite, live camels.

This year, enter Gate No. 4 (125 Fox Road) at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2. The drive-thru will be open from 6-9 p.m. each night. There is no cost, but donations will be accepted if offered.

At gate 4, you can go directly to the Live Nativity Drive-Thru or go through the 4-H Exchange Club Holiday Light Show first. The Van Wert CERT team will be on-site to help you find the way you need to go.

The Jennings Road Church of Christ is a contemporary, non-denominational church can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

POSTED: 11/29/23 at 4:40 am. FILED UNDER: Church, News

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The Piecemaker Quilt Group at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church recently reached a new milestone by completing over 300 quilts for donation to Lutheran World Relief. Lutheran World Relief in turn sends these quilts wherever needed, here at home and around the world. Depending on the need, these quilts are not only used for warmth but also for shelter.

Pictured are just a few of the weekly volunteers (left to right): Nancy Wolverton, Lisa Merkle, Joan Holland, Karen Ottenweller, Carol, Dot Burley, Cindy Gardner, Carol Greulach, Jo Holman, Kathy Staley and Carol Doner. Photo submitted

St. Mark’s Piecemakers have been in existence for over 40 years. Members from the congregation as well as women from the community meet most Tuesdays for quilt making and fellowship. They work with donated fabrics, sewing the quilt tops, layer in batting, adding backing and finishing by tying all layers together. The quilts are then boxed for shipping. Once a year they assemble the boxed quilts, load them onto a trailer for delivery to a Lutheran World Relief warehouse and final processing. This year was especially notable as it’s the first time the total surpassed 300.

The group invites interested persons to join them from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays. Sewing skills are not required. The church is located at the corner of N. Washington St. and W. Sycamore St. in Van Wert. For more information, please contact the church office 419.238.6336.

POSTED: 11/12/23 at 3:25 pm. FILED UNDER: Church

The Black Swamp Cruiser Club recently donated food items for the Blessings Box at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Food and personal hygiene items are made available to anyone in need through this box located in the church parking lot on the corner of N. Washington St. and W. Sycamore St. in Van Wert. St. Mark’s would like to thank the Cruiser Club for their generous donation and encourage other groups to consider this as part of their community service projects. Pictured are club members Bob Cozad and Sharon Dowler and the Blessing Box. Photos submitted

POSTED: 11/12/23 at 3:24 pm. FILED UNDER: Church

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Trinity Friends Church will be hosting a community-wide Thanksgiving service to be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, November 19.

Pastors from all around the area will be participating in this special service. The Trinity Friends Church Praise Band will be providing music as well as a volunteer choir led by Paul Hoverman.

Please join us in giving thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All are welcome.

Trinity Friends Church is located at 605 North Franklin Street in Van Wert.

POSTED: 11/06/23 at 11:14 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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The Seattle 2024 Mission Team will be hosting a “Tagless Tag Sale” in the Family Life Center at Trinity Friends Church, 605 N. Franklin St., Van Wert, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, November 11 and 18. Come check out a multitude of gently used household goods, Christmas items (even artificial trees), crafting supplies (including beautiful silk florals), and light furniture, among other things.

All items are as-is and freewill donation based (thus, the tagless). 100 percent of the proceeds go toward funding for service projects and travel expenses for the team as they serve at a homeless shelter for teens and young adults in Seattle, Washington, next spring.

POSTED: 11/06/23 at 11:12 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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Trinity Friends Church is hosting a presentation on the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict by author and pastor Dr. Tom Kinnan, from 6-7:30 p.m. Sunday, November 12, at the church at 605 N. Franklin St. in Van Wert.

The event is open to the public at no charge. There will be an opportunity to give a voluntary love offering to Jews for Jesus.

POSTED: 11/06/23 at 11:09 am. FILED UNDER: Church

A Fall Fun Festival will be held from 5-8 p.m. Sunday, October 29, on the front lawn of the Liberty Baptist Church, 501 E. Third St., Van Wert. This is a free community event and everyone is welcome to attend. The church is offering a campfire, S’mores, chili, hot dogs, hot chocolate, cider, a hay wagon ride, bouncy castle, and several games and prizes. The church is located five blocks north of the Van Wert Fire Department or five blocks east of the Van Wert Historical Museum. For more information, please see the church’s Facebook page. Photos submitted

POSTED: 10/24/23 at 3:19 pm. FILED UNDER: Church