The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018

Regional Gospel artists Trinity will be in concert Sunday, July 22, starting at 6 p.m., at Trinity Friends Church in Van Wert.  This will be a special night as Trinity’s founding member, Gary Adams, welcomes his brother Kent and the Edon United Methodist Trio. The public is invited to a night of music and fellowship. photo provided

POSTED: 07/18/18 at 6:29 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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“Dino Detectives: Digging for God’s Truth” is coming to Van Wert at this year’s Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church.

Dino Detectives (from the front) Kiptyn Mills, Lane Schaadt, Piper Mills, Samantha Klinger, and Kirra and Angie Dey invite all boys and girls to join in on the fun adventure. First Baptist photo

Get ready for the adventure! All boys and girls (ages 4 through sixth grade) are invited to join the “Dino Might” adventure as they dig for “Truth in God’s Word.” VBS will be held from 6:45-9 p.m., July 30 through August 2 at First Baptist Church.

This year’s VBS theme is bound to be the excavation of a lifetime as children take a virtual trip through time to discover a world of Dinosaurs! Kids will also learn timely lessons from the Bible and will experience firsthand what life might have been like before Noah built the ark. Each evening will be packed with stories, music, games, crafts, refreshments, and surprises.

For those living in Van Wert, transportation is available for VBS. Those who need a ride should call the church office at 419.238.0333. First Baptist Church is located at the corner of Jennings and Mendon roads in Van Wert.

Boys and girls eager to learn more stories about Bible heroes can call the church’s storyline at 877.509.3476 to listen to exciting Bible stories. There’s a different story every day.

POSTED: 07/14/18 at 5:45 am. FILED UNDER: Church, Youth

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First United Methodist Church recently said good-bye to Pastor Gus Christo-Baker, who is leaving to pastor another church, and will now welcome new Lead Pastor Chris Farmer this coming Sunday, July 1.

Pastor Farmer is married and he and his wife, Melinda, have two grown children.

New First United Methodist Pastor Chris Farmer and his wife, Melinda. photo submitted

The Farmers share a love for Jesus, the Church, and sharing His amazing life-transforming grace in word and deed. Pastor Farmer loves engaging in conversations about the Bible and applying it to everyday life, while Mrs. Farmer loves all kinds of music, being with family and friends, singing, and participating in women’s ministry.

Pastor Farmer provides leadership for the church by shepherding the congregation’s embrace of God’s grace in worship and hospitality, equipping Christ-followers with knowledge and gifts to fulfill the Church’s mission, and offering the empowerment of the Holy Spirit for life-changing mission all for the sole purpose of evangelizing new persons with God’s message.

Pastor Farmer has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in communications from Asbury University, a Master’s of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and has served as an ordained elder of the United Methodist Church of West Ohio for over 25 years.

The congregation of First United Methodist Church invites the public to meet Pastor Farmer and his wife this Sunday during one combined service beginning at 10 a.m. All are welcome to come and worship.

First United Methodist Church is located at the corner of Jefferson Street and Central Avenue, across from Fountain Park in downtown Van Wert. The church regularly offers two Sunday worship services: a relaxed/blended service at 8:15 a.m. and a more traditional/blended service at 10:45 a.m.

POSTED: 06/30/18 at 8:22 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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The Liberty Baptist Church congregation was presented with a special surprise on Father’s Day, June 17. The church has spent several years waiting and months of fund raising to purchase a new movable baptistery. This dream come true came a week earlier than expected.

Liberty Baptist Church Pastor Jim Burns and members of the congregation pose with the church’s new baptistry. photo submitted

The church’s four trustees and Pastor Jim Burns searched across the country trying to find the best quality baptistery at an affordable price. After looking at three different companies, the church trustees voted unanimously to order a movable immersion baptistery from American Rehabilitation Ministries in Joplin, Missouri. American Rehabilitation Ministries custom builds baptisteries and communion tables for churches and prisons.

“We located a baptistery made by this ministry organization in a church in Celina, Ohio, and it was exactly what we wanted,” Pastor Burns said. “We are very humbled with the way the Lord provided our new baptistery, and honored that a portion of our purchase price will go towards reaching prisoners for Jesus Christ.”

The fiberglass immersion baptistery is incased in a solid oak cabinet that matches the church’s auditorium oak trim. When the lid is placed on the baptistery it becomes a communion table. Liberty Baptist’s new baptistery was paid for by individual donations and special church offerings.

POSTED: 06/30/18 at 8:19 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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The U.S. Route 127 Yard Sale will be held from August 2-4 this year. First Presbyterian Church on South Washington Street in Van Wert will rent out vendor spaces in the parking lot. A food tent with seating will also offer food and drinks for sale during sale hours.

Busy South Washington Street makes this an ideal location to set up a space and sell. Those interested should contact the church office for rental details at 419.238.3670. Office hours are 9:30-11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.

POSTED: 06/30/18 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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CIRCLEVILLE — Pastor Bill Watson and Bob Lippi from Turn Right Go Straight and Pastor Paul Hamrick of New Hope Recovery from Van Wert attended the Epidemic of Hope event in Circleville.

Local residents who attended a Circleville Epidemic of Hope presentation include (from the left) Pastor Paul Hamrick, Darryl Strawberry, and Pastor William provided

The local residents joined more than 500 area community leaders, law enforcement officers, church leaders, and concerned family members who listened as Darryl and Traci Strawberry, Recovery Specialist Pastor Greg DeLaney, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Pastor Jack O’Brien of Harvest Ministries, and others talked about the opiate crisis that is devastating the state, counties, and communities economically, socially, and spiritually. Not only did they share the magnitude of the disaster that Ohio is presently facing, but also communicated that — across Ohio — the call is “enough is enough”.

It is time Ohioans come together as a united team: the faith community, law enforcement, courts, and probation, business community, mental health, recovery services, and state and local government, to bring together resources to defeat this darkness that is robbing people of their future and the lives of young adults. Ohio has become the epicenter of opiate overdose deaths in America, while Dayton has been reported as the No. 1 drug city in the U.S. today.

But there is hope if Ohioans determine to work together to give the state, counties, and communities a better future than they are facing now. Hope is the reason the Van Wert County Ministerial Association and area churches have determined to be pro-active against the opioid/drug crisis. No longer can people have their heads in the sand or ignore the tragedy that is soon to become a tsunami sweeping the nation, state, communities, and homes.

The Ministerial Association is excited to bring The Epidemic of Hope event with Darryl and Tracie Strawberry and others to the area on April 15 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. From 4 to 5 p.m. will be youth event while Darryl will be speaking, we will be bringing a prevention specialist to share from 4-5 pm youth leaders, coaches, and families. At 7 p.m. will be the Tri-County Main Event evening program at the NPAC. This is ticketed event (people must have a ticket to attend).

The Ministerial Association wanted to have as many people as possible attend, which is why the event is free. The group is receiving donations from churches, community minded businesses, and individuals to underwrite this event.

For more information about the Epidemic of Hope, contact Pastor Hamrick at 419.771.9378 or call Trinity Friends Church at 419.238.4506 to become a co-sponsor or donate to the event.

POSTED: 03/13/18 at 8:36 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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Even though the weather was not hospitable, the second Van Wert County Ministerial Association Countywide Prayer service was well attended. Once again, the focus was to bring God’s intervention and blessing to the area as churches and individuals came together in oneness of heart to seek the face of God. The promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” was central in the hearts and minds of those in attendance.

Pastor Greg Rice, pastor of Trinity Friends Church, welcomed and opened the February prayer service.  Trinity Friend’s anointed worship team led believers from across the county into a powerful, intimate time of worship in preparation for united prayer. Pastor Bill Watson shared a compelling video by Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, on preparation for prayer. Closing the evening in prayer, individuals across the sanctuary gathered in small groups lifting family members, neighbors, and friends, seeking for God’s love, mercy, and grace to be poured out across the county.

The prayer service was followed by a time of refreshments and fellowship. In addition, the upcoming Tri-County (Paulding, Van Wert, and Mercer counties) “Epidemic of Hope Weekend” with baseball All Star and World Series team member Darryl Strawberry was also a focus of prayer.

The Van Wert Ministerial Association is organizing 6-8 powerful and cutting-edge events for the weekend of April 13-15 across the tri-county area, along with Strawberry, in response to Ohio’s current opioid/drug crisis. For more information on upcoming events, contact Pastor Paul Hamrick at 419.771.9378

The next countywide prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 11. Pastor Bill Watson of Pentecostal Way Church will be hosting the March prayer service at 1213 Leeson Ave. in Van Wert. The church is located just east of the airport.

These events are part of the 2018 Van Wert County Ministerial Association’s mission of FUN (Fellowship, Unity, Networking) for a better tomorrow.

POSTED: 03/06/18 at 9:03 am. FILED UNDER: Church

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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

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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