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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017

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Alex McFarland will be coming to Van Wert for revival services at Trinity Friends Church. He will be speaking daily Sunday, November 12, through Wednesday, November 15.

As a speaker, writer, and advocate for Christian apologetics, McFarland has spoken in hundreds of locations throughout the U.S. and abroad. He has preached in over 1,500 different churches throughout North America and internationally, and has been featured at conferences such as The Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Focus On The Family’s Big Dig, Josh McDowell’s True Foundations events, California’s Spirit West Coast, and many more.

Alex McFarland

He has been interviewed on “Fox and Friends”, the Alan Colmes Show, “The Strategy Room”, Billy Graham’s Decision radio broadcast, by James Dobson (Focus On The Family radio), NPR’s “All Things Considered”, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint broadcast, CBS, Fox, “NBC News”, SRN news, the Associated Press (AP) wire service, Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, the BBC, OK- Celebrity News Magazine, “Prime Time America”, CBN, CSPAN, Bible Broadcast Network, La Vie (France), Christianity Today, Charisma, On Mission, and by numerous other media outlets as well. In a 2009 story, CNN said: “Alex McFarland is an expert on world religions and cults.”

Beginning in 1991, McFarland pioneered apologetics conference formats designed to equip teens and adults to defend their faith. Attendees of all ages began to attend his “Truth For A New Generation” events, eagerly learning from scholars such as Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel, Chuck Colson, and others.

In 2006, McFarland was named third president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and College in Charlotte, North Carolina. He served in this role for five years, during which time the school saw unprecedented growth under his leadership. Prior to this, McFarland had served as Focus On The Family’s first-ever director of teen apologetics.

In his home state of North Carolina, McFarland was named one of “Forty Leaders Under the Age of Forty” by the Jaycees. He is the only evangelist known to have preached in all 50 states in only 50 days, through his “Tour of Truth.” This crusade across America included 64 evangelistic services and became the subject of McFarland’s first book.

He is a nationally syndicated radio host, on air continuously since 2000. His SoundRezn apologetics broadcast was nominated “Best New Show” by the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) in 2010, competing alongside shows by leaders such as James Dobson and Janet Parschal (Parschal’s show “In the Market” won that year, by the way).

From 2011-present, McFarland has hosted “Exploring the Word”, which airs throughout the nation Monday-Friday “live” on the American Family Radio Network.


POSTED: 10/19/17 at 7:57 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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First United Methodist Church, corner of Central Avenue and Jefferson Street, will host its yearly Trunk or Treat event Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Join the church family for an afternoon of games, fun, food, and fellowship. Decorate vehicles to be entered in the most original design drawing, bring a treat bag, and go from car to car.

For more information about the afternoon fun or to register a trunk, contact Teresa Shaffer at 419.238.0631, extension 307.

POSTED: 10/16/17 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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The Read & Review Book Club will meet at noon Thursday, November 2, in the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.

The group will participate in a book discussion of Mercer Girls by Libbie Hawker, to be led by Sally Hangartner.

Drinks and desserts will be provided by Connie Keirns, while a $2.50 offering will be collected for the group’s mission work. All are welcome to participate in this book review.

POSTED: 10/16/17 at 7:28 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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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

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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

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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

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The annual Van Wert First Presbyterian Church Fall Nut Sale Orders have begun. The church’s Council on Christian Education (CCE) is sponsoring this fall nut sale and will be taking orders through the end of September.

Items, in 1-pound packages and “premium” quality, are purchased through the Terry Lynn Company.

Order forms are available from CCE Committee members, the First Presbyterian Church office, or online at Order forms are due back to the church office or any committee member by October 2.  Help support youth programming by placing an order and please print extra order forms for friends and family. The nuts will make great holiday gifts or table accents. Payment is due upon delivery the end of October.

For more information, contact chairman Chris Heizman at 419.238.4554 or the church office at 419.238.3670.

POSTED: 09/16/17 at 8:19 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

The Pregnancy Life Center Health Clinic’s Walk for Life and grand opening will take place Sunday, September 10, at 2 p.m., at the PLC (215 N. Market St. in Van Wert). Everyone is invited to attend this special event and help raise the $45,000 needed. Walk forms can be found at Van Wert area churches and on the PLC website: Shown are representatives of area businesses and churches that sponsored the walk at the gold level. They include (from the left) Sam Scott of First United Brethren in Christ Church; Jan Keipper of Catholic Ladies of Columbia; Robin Farris of P&R Medical Connection and P&R Home IV Service; Beth Cook of John C. Cook, DDS; Marcia German of Century Trading Company; Kevin Laing of Kevin Laing, DDS; Pastor David Ray of Jennings Road Church of Christ, and Trina Langdon, PLC executive director. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 09/06/17 at 8:20 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Lifestyles

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First United Methodist Church, 113 W. Central Ave. in Van Wert, announces the “Cornerstone” workshop. Classes will begin Monday, September 11.

Cornerstone, under the direction of Shanay Taylor, will be studying “The You Plan.” This is a Christian women’s group for a happy healthy life after divorce. The group will meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month from 7:30-8:30 p.m., at First United Methodist Church. The group is open to everyone that has gone through a divorce, not just First UM Church members.

More information can be found at or by contacting Teresa Shaffer at 419.238.0631, extension 307.

POSTED: 08/31/17 at 7:44 am. FILED UNDER: Church