The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

VW independent staff 

Pastor Jim Burns and the congregation at the Liberty Baptist Church invites everyone to attend the church’s special Easter Services Sunday morning, April 17, at 501 E. Third Street, Van Wert.  

A “restaurant style” breakfast will be served between 9-10 a.m. in the Blue and Teen Rooms. The menu includes biscuits and gravy, eggs, French toast, blueberry and regular pancakes, sausage patties, bottled water, coffee, hot tea, latte, milk and orange juice.

A crucifixion video presentation is scheduled for 10-10:30 a.m. in the auditorium, followed by Easter services with special music and message at 10:45 a.m. 

There will be a nursery and children’s church, plus gift bags for all children. There will be no Sunday School or Sunday night service. 

POSTED: 04/15/22 at 8:25 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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CONVOY — Easter Week Services are planned at the Convoy United Methodist Church, starting with a Maundy Thursday Worship Service at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in the sanctuary. Communion will be offered to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Disciples. 

A community worship service will be held at 12 p.m. Good Friday, April 15, at Countryside Chapel United Methodist Church, and Convoy United Methodist Chuch will offer a worship service at 7 p.m.  Good Friday.

Easter celebration of the risen Jesus Christ will begin with a sunrise worship wervice at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 17. Breakfast will follow in the fellowship hall, followed by Sunday School for all ages at 8:30. Easter Worship Services will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the sanctuary with special music by Heather McClure and an 11a.m. informal service in the Fellowship Hall.

POSTED: 04/12/22 at 4:55 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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All are welcome to attend the Van Wert County/community-wide Ecumenical Good Friday Service.

A Van Wert tradition for over 70 years will continue this Good Friday, April 15, at First United Methodist Church in downtown Van Wert. The procession of the cross will start at 11:45 a.m. at the YWCA on Cherry Street. Anyone wishing to participate should gather by 11:45 a.m. at the YWCA.

The cross will be carried down Main Street to Jefferson Street and then into the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church. The service will start at 12:05 p.m. There are nine pastors representing 11 congregations involved this year and there will be musical offerings by a community choir, the vocal ensemble, “In Spiritu”, musicians, dancers and dramatists all telling the story of Good Friday from the birth of Jesus being foretold to Mary until His crucifixion and burial.

A liturgical dance with Grace Spieles as Mary and Noah Krites as the boy Jesus is sure to be special moment in the service as the choir sings Joseph Martin’s “Pieta” with Kristen Gillespie playing flute and Scott Turner on the Noehren pipe organ.

A dramatization of Luke 22: 66-71/Luke 23 will also be given along with music being interspersed with scripture, prayer and testimony given by Pastor Thomas Emery.

POSTED: 04/11/22 at 8:37 am. FILED UNDER: Church

VW independent staff

St. Mark’s Evangelical Church in Van Wert has set the church’s Holy Week schedule for the week of April 10.

April 10, Palm Sunday – Worship services at 8 and 10:30 a.m., with the 10:30 service live streamed on Facebook.

April 14, Maundy Thursday – Holy Communion at 12 and 7:30 p.m., with the noon service live streamed on Facebook.

April 15, Good Friday –Tenebrae Service at 8 p.m. with Adult Choir Cantata, live streamed on Facebook.

April 17, Easter Sunday – 7 a.m., Holy Communion Sunrise Service; 8 a.m., Easter fundraiser breakfast to support Raegan Roehm’s mission trip; 10:30 am—Holy Communion Service, live streamed on Facebook; 10:40 a.m., Noah’s Park Children’s Church.

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at the corner of N. Washington and Sycamore streets.

For more information, go to

POSTED: 03/28/22 at 10:07 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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All congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses across the world are being encouraged to begin holding in-person meetings during the week of April 1.

“When I heard the announcement I was super excited,” said Mark Smith of Sylvania, Ohio, who has regularly attended meetings at the Kingdom Hall. “Being able to shake hands and hug – human touch, nothing can replace that. The meetings bring me so much encouragement.”

For most of the last two years, buildings for worship have remained closed globally due to the risks associated with meeting in person. Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.S. also suspended their public ministry on March 20, 2020. Since that time, they have carried on their ministry through letters and phone calls while holding twice-weekly meetings in a virtual format. Average attendance at these meetings exceeded 1.5 million each week in the U.S., even though there are fewer than 1.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in some 13,000 congregations.

“There is a collective shout of joy among Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world right now,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. Spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “While we have prospered in many ways as individuals and congregations using technology to bring us together, nothing can adequately replace being together in person. We have longed for this moment for the better part of two years.”

The move back to in-person meetings coincides with two global events being held in all 120,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The first is a special lecture scheduled in most congregations for April 10, entitled, “Where Can You Find Real Hope?”

Additionally, the annual commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ will be held on April 15, the very day he sacrificed his life 1,989 years ago. Both of these gatherings will be held in person at local Kingdom Halls with live speakers. No collections are ever taken.

“The timing of resuming in-person meetings could not be better,” Hendriks said. “Bringing everyone back together for these special events will have a powerful effect on the worldwide congregation.”

Guidelines for holding “hybrid” meetings have been sent to all congregations in the United States. Over the past six months, many Kingdom Halls have been equipped with the required technology to hold a productive meeting that allows for in-person and remote attendees, all of whom can participate in the discussions. A pilot program was held in October and November in countries around the world to assess how this could be done most effectively. The lessons learned in these pilot meetings have helped form the plan for moving forward with reopening all Kingdom Halls, where the law permits.

“It has been heartwarming to see the peace and unity among Jehovah’s Witnesses during this very divisive time,” Hendriks said. “We know resuming in-person meetings will bring us even closer together. We’re anxious to see one another again.”

“I just can’t wait to hear singing voices at the Kingdom Hall, that beautiful sound fills me with a sense of unity,” Smith said. “I will again get to feel the love of being in the presence of our congregated group.”

As of now, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no plans to resume their public ministry, though their “alternative” ministry continues. In fact, since the start of the pandemic through November 2021 in the U.S. alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent more than 400 million hours in virtual Bible studies, writing letters of comfort to their neighbors and making phone calls. They have released 77 new language translations of the Bible and held two global virtual conventions in more than 500 languages.

“No time was wasted in the past two years,” Hendriks said. “Our congregants have been busy and productive helping each other and their neighbors through this most challenging time. That’s what love and unity are all about.”

For more information on Jehovah’s Witnesses go to

POSTED: 03/28/22 at 9:57 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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The sounds of gospel music will soon fill the Family Life Center at Trinity Friends Church in Van Wert as the 21st Annual Southern Gospel Music Expo kicks off on April 1. 

Gary Adams, Cheryl Burk and Kim Mason make up the gospel group Trinity and it was their vision to bring a singing convention to Van Wert back in 2001. After attending similar events in other areas, the trio began to pray about it and then approached Trinity Friends Church for the venue. It began as a one night sing but has grown to a four and then back to three-night event. 

On Friday, April 1 the music will begin at 5 p.m. with gospel groups and soloists from Ohio Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. A gospel group or soloist will take the stage approximately every 15 minutes throughout the evening. All of the ministries will have product tables set up around the gymnasium where you can chat with your favorites, purchase their music or book them for an upcoming service or event. 

On Saturday, April 2, music will start an hour earlier, at 4 p.m. 

The group Trinity will bring their music to Van Wert this weekend. Photo provided

The grand finale will be Sunday, April 3 with Trinity and The Guardians. The doors and food court will open at 4:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 6:30 pm. Dean Hickman, John Darin Rowsey, Pat Barker and Scott Mullins, collectively known as The Guardians, are a southern gospel quartet with a unique sound, tight harmony and a passion for sharing the gospel through their music. 

With two Dove Award nominations, multiple No. 1 songs and Fan Awards, the Lord has blessed The Guardians with an incredible journey since their inception. They currently have the No. 1 song in the country with “Still Good News” and have been nominated for several 2022 Singing News Fan Awards. Each member of the Group brings a sincere commitment to glorifying Jesus Christ. Therefore, their mantra remains echoing John the Baptist’s words in John 3:30: “He must increase but I must decrease.”

All three nights of the Gospel Expo are free, the food court is open each night and there is plenty of seating and parking. 

For a schedule of artists and times, please visit Trinity’s Facebook page at TrinityMusicMinistries.

The Guardians will team up with Trinity for the grand finale on Sunday, April 3. Photo provided

POSTED: 03/28/22 at 8:57 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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Karlo Broussard will present “Religion: Why Should I Care?” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at Delphos St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

Broussard is a dynamic and gifted Catholic speaker for Catholic Answers.

It’s often said that what people need (especially teenagers and young adults) is not Aquinas’s Five Ways for proving God’s existence but a reason to care about religion in the first place. How do we pique the interest of those who are apathetic to the big questions that religion says it has answers to?

In this talk, Karlo suggests that the key is to help people identify the one thing that every person cares about: happiness. And inasmuch as happiness is linked to religion, it becomes clear why religion matters.

This event is free and open to the public.

POSTED: 03/22/22 at 1:41 pm. FILED UNDER: Church

VW independent staff 

Mark and Cindy Maynard, 2019 Mountain State Gospel Awards Duet of the Year winners, will perform at Grover Hill Zion United Methodist Church during the morning worship service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 3. 

The Maynards have just made a new album and look forward to sharing it with worshippers. 

The church is at 204 S. Harrison St., Grover Hill. 

POSTED: 03/22/22 at 8:16 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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The Apostolic Church of Van Wert welcomed Rev. Aaron McGranahan and family as their new pastor during an installation service held Sunday, March 6. 

Rev. McGranahan is a native of Oran, Missouri. He has over 25 years of ministry experience. He is an ordained minister of the United Pentecostal Church International. 

Rev. Aaron McGranahan is the new Pastor of The Apostolic Church of Van Wert.

He has served on the Missouri District Youth Board, traveled as an evangelist, served as a sectional secretary in the Arkansas District and has pastored in Arkansas and Indiana. 

Rev. McGranahan also has years of experience in radio as an on- air talent, talk show host, manager and program director. 

He and his wife are the parents of three daughters. Olivia 22, a senior at the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri, and Kandra, 14, and Kara, 13, both attending Van Wert Middle School. 

POSTED: 03/16/22 at 8:33 am. FILED UNDER: Church

A preschool open house will be held at First United Methodist Church from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10. Parents will also be able to register, tour and meet the teachers.

The church is located at the corner of Central Avenue and Jefferson Street, across from Fountain Park. It offers a half-day program from 8:30-11:30 a.m. two, three or four days a week. The curriculum is guided by the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Learning Standards and incorporates Christian principles daily.

Preschoolers participate in monthly field trips, theme parties, progress monitoring and assessments, weekly Chapel, Christmas and Spring programs and much more. The goal is to prepare children for Kindergarten in a loving Christ-centered environment.

For more information please contact Administrator Marilyn Agler by phone at 419.238.0631 ext. 308, by email or register online at

POSTED: 03/01/22 at 10:19 am. FILED UNDER: Church