The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018

VW independent/submitted information

The First Baptist Church of Van Wert announces that Dr. David Warren will be interim pastor of the church.  Pastor Warren is currently filling the pulpit at the church until a new senior pastor is in place. He is no stranger to FBC, serving as an interim pastor 28 years ago and filling the pulpit on numerous occasions since.

Dr. David Warren

Pastor Warren was born and reared in Taylor, Michigan, and graduated from Cedarville University (1964) and Dallas Seminary (1968). He has been involved in four ministries: as pastor of Champion Baptist Church in Warren (eight years); an instructor at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa (four years); instructor at Cedarville (Ohio) University (18 years); and a state representative for the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches (18 years).

He and his wife, Pat, have authored three publications for Regular Baptist Press. They reside in Cedarville.

The Warrens have four grown children (Janice, Cheryl, David, and Mark) and 13 grandchildren. They retired after 48 years of full-time ministry, but continue to enjoy “temporary assignments” the Lord gives them.  They have embraced and sought to live out Warren Wiersbe’s description of ministry: “Ministry happens when divine resources reach human needs through loving channels.” They believe that such ministry is a privilege, not simply a responsibility, and happily seek to fulfill opportunities the Lord continues to bring their way.

Pastor Warren will be preaching each Sunday morning service at 10:30. Drew Gardner, former pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Paulding, will be ministering on Sunday evenings at 6:30, speaking on topical subjects such as Biblical counseling and marriage and family.

The deacon board of First Baptist Church is actively searching for the next senior pastor and seeking the Lord’s will and timing. The deacons cordially invite those seeking a church family to come and be a part of the solid preaching and teaching of the Word at First Baptist Church.

First Baptist Church is located at the corner of Jennings and Mendon roads in Van Wert. For further information about the church and its service times, visit the church website at or email To contact the church office, call 419.238.0333.

POSTED: 02/17/18 at 12:36 am. FILED UNDER: Church

The First United Methodist Preschool, 113 W. Central Ave. in Van Wert, will be hosting an art show and fundraiser at Wassenberg Art Center, 214 S. Washington St. in Van Wert, on Thursday, February 22, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Preschool students are working hard on several masterpieces that will be available to their families by donation. There will also be many items donated by local artists that will be available to the public by silent auction. The event is open to the public. For more information on the art show, donating, or preschool, contact Administrator April Ellerbrock at 419.238.0631, extension 308, or email at photo submitted

POSTED: 02/12/18 at 8:09 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Youth

VW independent/submitted information

Pastor Steve A. Robinson recently retired as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Van Wert after ministering at the church the past 15 years (since January 2003).

Pastor Steve Robinson and his wife, Ethel. photo submitted

Pastor Robinson has been in full-time Christian ministry since 1971 and has more than 45 years of ministry experience. He says that, although he will miss serving as pastor at First Baptist, he is looking forward to what God has for him and his wife Ethel in the future.

Both Pastor Steve and Ethel Robinson were born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma.

Pastor Robinson graduated from Grand Rapids School of Bible & Music with a diploma in Christian education, received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Grace College and went on to attend Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana, where he obtained his Master of Divinity degree. He also received a diploma from the Institute of Holy Land Studies while in Israel. He has also pastored several other churches during his tenure of ministry.

The membership at First Baptist recently held a farewell service for the Robinsons and hosted several special guest speakers for the day who have been closely affiliated with the Robinsons over the years.  Guests speakers included Joe Goodman of Ethnos 360 (formerly New Tribes Mission), Chris Brown of Life Action Ministries, Deacon Dale Magee of First Baptist Church in Burnettsville, Indiana,  and the Robinsons’ son, Ben, who is the director of correspondence and constituent services in the Alaska Governor’s office in Juneau, Alaska.

Rev. and Mrs. Robinson continue to reside in Van Wert for the time being. Ethel Robinson is currently employed at Ameriprise, and, in the days ahead, Pastor Robinson hopes to have occasional opportunities preaching for churches that need help with pulpit supply ministry.

POSTED: 01/18/18 at 8:51 am. FILED UNDER: Church

Ten youths were recently confirmed at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert after attending classes with the Rev. Gus Christo-Baker. Mentors from the church assisted the students with their studies. First UM Church is located at the corner of Jefferson Street and Central Avenue in Van Wert. For further information, visit the church website at or phone 419.238.0631. photo submitted

POSTED: 01/15/18 at 8:57 am. FILED UNDER: Church

Submitted information

First Friends Church is offering help to those who want to change their lives for the better. The church membership is here to listen to people, and to talk with them about their concerns or problems. There is absolutely no cost and everyone is welcome regardless of their history or current situation.

The church’s main purpose is to help people get their lives straightened out.

The current program was motivated by the loss of lives due to drug overdoses in the community, as well as the whole country. Let the program help people “get on track” with their lives.

The First Friends program plans to meet the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at the church, starting at 6:30 p.m. First Friends Church is on the corner of Franklin Street and Central Avenue in Van Wert.

For more information, call 419.749.1143.

POSTED: 11/06/17 at 4:35 pm. FILED UNDER: Church

Submitted information

First United Methodist Church Youth Group is conducting a shoe drive fundraiser from now through November 17 to raise funds for our youth mission trip.

The youth group will earn funds based on the total weight of the pairs of gently worn, used, and new shoes collected, as Funds2Orgs will issue a check for the collected shoes. Those dollars will benefit First United Methodist Church.

First United Methodist Church Youth Group members with shoes already collected. (photo submitted)

Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used, and new shoes at 113 W. Central Ave. in Van Wert.

All donated shoes will then be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of micro-enterprise (small business) partners. Funds2Orgs works with micro-entrepreneurs in helping them create, maintain and grow small businesses in developing countries where economic opportunity and jobs are limited. Proceeds from the sales of the shoes collected in shoe drive fundraisers are used to feed, clothe, and house their families. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti even earned enough to send her son to law school.

“We are excited about our shoe drive,” said Youth Leader Teresa Shaffer. “We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets they would like to donate to us. By doing so, we raise money for our youth mission trip to Haiti next summer and we have the chance to help families in developing nations who need economic opportunities. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

By donating gently worn, used and new shoes to the First United Methodist Church, the shoes will be given a second chance and make a difference in people’s lives around the world.  Tell friends, neighbors, and family members and help pass the word and reach the goal of 300 bags of shoes.

About First United Methodist Church Youth

Middle school and high school students meet on Sundays at 5 p.m. for bible lessons, games, fun, food, and just to “hang out”. Students in grades 6-12 are invited to attend.

POSTED: 10/16/17 at 7:27 am. FILED UNDER: Church

Submitted information

It’s that season again!  More than 4,500 locations around the country will serve as collection sites this year for the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child — the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind.

One of those locations is Trinity Friends Church in Van Wert. Trinity has been serving as a collection and packing site for over 12 years and is excited to be a facilitator for this program again this season.

During National Collection Week, November 14-21, anyone can donate shoeboxes — filled with school supplies, hygiene items, notes of encouragement and fun toys, such as a doll or soccer ball — for Operation Christmas Child to deliver to children in need around the world. This year, people around the United States, including Van Wert residents, hope to contribute 9.5 million shoebox gifts toward the 2017 global goal of reaching 12 million children.

“The shoebox gifts donated throughout the country at these drop-off locations will shine a light of hope to children living in poverty overseas,” said Randy Riddle, director of Operation Christmas Child in the United States. “Anyone is welcome to pack a shoebox and help a child facing difficult circumstances to feel loved and not forgotten.”

“It’s exciting to see people everywhere coming together to fill the needs of these children,” said Linda Bostelman, Trinity Friends’ Samaritan’s Purse project director. “It’s exciting to see it happen and to be part of making it happen. Of making the Light shine. We welcome anyone who wants to help.”

More than 150,000 volunteers, including families, churches, and other groups, are linking arms across the country to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2017, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 12 million children, with 9.5 million coming from the United States.


POSTED: 10/16/17 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: Church

Submitted information

First Presbyterian Church of Van Wert announces that Cheryl Gigler has been hired as the new Chancel Choir director.

Gigler, a soprano, is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Her advanced vocal studies include work with Lili Chookasian of the Metropolitan Opera, Armen Boyagian, and Edwin MacArthur, as well as Vincent La Selva of the Juilliard School.

Cheryl Gigler

Gigler has sung professionally with the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, as well as in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Heartland Chamber Chorale of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She also has been a featured soloist with the Sterling Forest Renaissance Festival, Waldwick Symphony, and Rockland Symphony, as well as the Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne.

Gigler has also performed various roles with regional opera companies in the New York metropolitan area, including the New York Grand Opera.

In addition to performing, she is a certified music educator in Indiana, New York, and New Jersey. Gigler has directed and developed graded English handbell and choral programs in both public school and church settings, and has also served for many years as an adjunct professor of voice at Nyack College, Nyack, New York.

She is also a trained Stephen’s Minister and a certified life coach specializing in ADHD.

Gigler and the church extends an open invitation to all singers, age high school through adult, who enjoy singing to participate in the 2017-2018 Chancel Choir season.

All those involved share a love of bringing glory to God through music and Christian fellowship. The only requirement for participating is a desire to sing and be present for any Wednesday night rehearsal held at 7:15 p.m., and to perform with the choir during the 10 a.m. Sunday service.

The Chancel Choir performs regularly throughout the entire calendar year and frequently has guest soloists, instrumentalists, and ensembles during its Sunday morning worship services.

To learn more about First Presbyterian Church of Van Wert, its choir season, and how to participate, contact the church office at 419.238.3670 or

POSTED: 09/23/17 at 7:47 am. FILED UNDER: Church

United Way of Van Wert County Executive Director Vicki Smith made a presentation to the Convoy United Methodist Women’s group on Wednesday, September 6. She discussed the upcoming Day of Caring and the new “Community Hero” campaign theme. The group then donated $250 to the 2017 campaign. Without donations, United Way would not be able to affect its community the way it does. Shown are (from the left) Mary Ann Hall, Convoy UM Women treasurer; Smith; and Shelly Holden, Convoy UM Women president. (United Way photo)

POSTED: 09/09/17 at 8:03 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Lifestyles

Patti Cox

Submitted information

First United Methodist Preschool welcomes back Patti Cox as one of its pre-kindergarten teachers.

Mrs. Cox was hired in 2015 after teaching first grade at Lincolnview Local Schools for 37 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education, as well as a master’s degree in teacher leadership. Her education, combined with her experience, bring invaluable expertise to the First United Methodist Preschool team.

Those who would like to register a child for preschool can contact Administrator April Ellerbrock at 419.238.0631, extension 308, or register online at

POSTED: 07/30/17 at 10:39 pm. FILED UNDER: Church, Youth