Van Wert First Presbyterian Church Annual Report



I often think of what the Apostle Paul says when he writes many of his Epistles and how he opens with this greeting.  “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”   The Apostle Paul is thinking always of those he serves.  He wants nothing more than to preach, teach, and aid those instructing all the churches he’s helped begin to thrive for the Lord.

The grace the Apostle speaks about, in his opening Epistles, is what I’ve experienced this year with all those at First Presbyterian Church. You all are a people of God’s grace and peace.   

As we read through our annual report, the peace from God is evident in all that we have done together, in all our endeavors to be the people God has called us to be, to continue to build His church.  Our volunteers have lived into the mantra, “What can we do for our church,” always stepping up. Many have come forward to help serve in ways that prepared the way for our new members in 2015. 

Another spectacular gift, we as a church have been given, is the mission we have with our children in our JAM program, VBS, and Daddy Daughter Dance. We have reaped the benefits of those who have brought their children in, considering, and having joined the church.  Our open hearts together is a mission we must never put aside.  It is a mission that will help us continue to grow in God’s grace. I witness the warmth of the children daily, and witness their growth unfold in worship on Sunday in our church family.

One very important gift I’ve learned our church has is a caring heart.  Our heart of compassion has reached out in ways we don’t realize and has touched those in our community and beyond.  As Jesus stated in scripture, “How you treat the least of mine is how you treat me.”  Our congregation and our governing boards all have warm compassionate hearts.  For that, as your Pastor, I’m very appreciative to our Father in Heaven.  If there is one lesson I’ve learned this year from First, that has been fundamental in moving our church into the joy lived and witnessed, is our heart of compassion. 

Partnering together in ministry for the last three-and-a-half years, with all those at First Presbyterian, we’ve enabled God to work His grace and bestow His peace in the miracles we’ve witnessed.  For surely the Holy Spirit is in our church working with us to help us obtain future avenues in which to display God’s will through all we help.  As we tell our story— of how Jesus has saved us—we fulfill the Great Commission to all—what our Lord has done for us. 

God’s Grace and Peace is surely in this place of worship.  May the Holy Spirit continue to abide in presence.  May 2015 be the best year we’ve ever experienced together as we continue to learn and love together.  Godspeed!  As we endeavor to work out our salvation through another God gifted year. 

In Christ’s Service and Love, 

Rev. Hal  Shafer





Class of 2014:                       Ed Conover, Tracy Baer and Sally Hangartner (one year term)

Class of 2015:                       Nancy Eberle and Dianna Early

Class of 2016:                       Harriet Schaadt, Billy Knoll and Tom Wilkin


The Session met at 12 regular meetings in 2014 and one joint meetings with the Trustees in October.  There were two congregational meetings held in 2014; January 26th was a review of the annual reports and November 9th was to present and vote on Rev. Shafer’s Terms of Call, to elect officers and present the 2015 budget.


The notice of the Session Annual Statistical Report was received and submitted via internet.  A check of our church records was performed September 20, 2014 at the Presbytery office in Findlay. 


Session members open each meeting with prayer and a devotional to be discussed.  Many times the devotional will relate to resent events within our church or world.


Prior to the session meetings, members submit reports from the committee that they represent so that the information can be reviewed prior to the scheduled meeting.  If there are no matters to be brought before the session or no matters that require a motion, then the session moves on to the next committee report.


The session continues to discuss the true mission of our church body.  One suggestion implemented from this discussion was that the Liturgist would greet members at the narthex doors after the service.  Another item implemented was that each session member would wear a name tag on Sunday so that congregation members could identify session members better.  Session continues their discussion on becoming a “church family” in 2015.


In December Session accepted the dates for serving communion throughout 2015; signed up as Liturgist; accepted committee representation assignments; accepted Dianna Early as Clerk of Session; elected Mark White as Treasurer; authorized Rex Fortney to serve communion and authorized communion to be served at Vancrest Health Care on the first Sunday of each month when communion is served at our church.


Session is grateful for the staff and volunteers who continue to give their time, talents and treasure for our church and our church’s service in our community and beyond.


Respectfully submitted,

Dianna Early – Clerk of Session




Committee Members: Tracy Baer, chairperson; Rev. Hal Shafer; Anna Baker; Jo Conover; Diana Creekmore; Dewaine Johnson; Harriet Schaadt.


The Worship Committee works to maintain and guide the structure of the worship service.  Liturgists are assigned by the month through session members. Servers for communion are also coordinated with session and other ordained members of our congregation.  The communion dates are set by the Worship Committee and approved by the Session.


The annual church calendar is set through the Worship Committee. This includes scheduling special Sundays and times of services.  The committee makes recommendations to Session for worship order, duties of the liturgist, and scheduling of events.  We work closely with the music department to help coordinate their needs for music in our services. We also make recommendations to Session for approval of baptisms and weddings. 


 This year, the church had three weddings and three baptisms.

Weddings for 2014 were:

November 7 - Jamie Evans (Renewal of Vows)

December 6 - Drew & Katie Creekmore

December 20 - Nate & Jolynn Simson

Baptisms for 2014 were:

June 29 - Oliver Conrad Heizman and Peyton Charles Heizman

August 3 - Grayson Baker


Confirmation class began in October, 2013 and was completed on June 1, 2014 with Confirmation Sunday when we welcomed three young people into our congregation.


The Worship Committee’s currently project is the purchase of new hymnals for our church.  As of December 31st we have collected $1,276.28. We would like to thank everyone for their generous donations and ask for your continued support for this project.


As committee chair, I would like to thank all who served on the committee this past year, Session, Trustees, Deacons, CCE, Missions, and Presbyterian Women for your support of our projects and the needs of this committee.  It has been a pleasure to work with all of you.

 Respectfully Submitted,

Tracy Baer 



Members of the Committee:  Tim Purmort, Trustee; Joyce Harrow, Deacon; Harriet Schaadt, Session/Chair; Louis Crow and Pastor Hal Shafer

The committee met six times during the year continuing the 2013 program and worked with the Budget Committee to develop the 2015 budget.  This was then presented to the Session and congregation for approval.  Weekly stewardship quotes were printed weekly in the Sunday church bulletin and stewardship reminders written monthly for the Presby Tidings.  October was designated Stewardship Month, a special banner was flown, and a letter with a financial pledge card mailed to every member of the congregation.  At the end of the calendar year, 46 pledge cards totaling $108,893 were returned.

Part of the Stewardship Committee's responsibilities is the supervision of the disbursement of the Fryer Fund (account 930) established by Leroy and Marguerite Fryer.  It is managed the Presbyterian Foundation and designated to benefit the youth of the church.  All requests must be submitted in writing to the Stewardship Chair then approved in writing by the Session Clerk, Worship Chair, Session Moderator, and Stewardship Chair.  During 2014 two requests were submitted by the Christian Education Director and approved.  The current balance as of December 31, 2014 is (see printed version for details.)

Respectfully submitted,

Harriet S Schaadt, Chair of 2014 Stewardship Committee




The Mission Committee was hard at work in 2014.  We were able to be successful in many ways due to the generosity and help given by the congregation!  The following is a list of our projects:


One Great Hour Of Sharing

Peace Offering


127 Garage Sale

JAM Meals 408 meals served so far

Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. 1,619 meals served by our team Christmas Cookie Sale The Angel Tree gifting 3 women and 9 children Christmas Shoeboxes 100 completed Gideon Bible Donations Sock It To Me  Almost 300 pair donated


We could not have been as successful without the great support we received from the congregation!  Thank you and bless you!


We welcome anyone who would care to join us.  We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 5pm in the library.  Any questions?  Ask Fred Early, Ed Conover, Louis Crow, Lyn Warren, or Pam Purmort.




Serving meals on the fourth Wednesday of each month during 2014 volunteers from our church have served 1,619 meals. Our congregation has donated 46 bags of clothing, and 20 bags of food items, plus personal hygiene items.

Thanks to the generous response of our church family to the “Sock It To EM” sock drive we delivered close to 300 pairs of winter socks to the Soup Kitchen.  THANK YOU!

Volunteers serving from our church during 2014 were:  Louis Crow, Jennifer (Crow) Doctor, Rachel Doctor, Andrew Doctor, Susan Darrah, Dianna Early, Fred Early, Rex Fortney, Susan Gates, Lois Harrow, Joyce Harrow, Mary Kay Purmort, John Purmort, Leslie Wilkin, Dottie Zabicki and Jerry Agler, Cherrie Evans. Also serving with us on the 4th Wednesday are volunteers from the Lima Market Street Presbyterian Church.

The Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen on Central Ave in Lima continues as an outreach ministry of 50 churches in the area surrounding Lima. The ministry feeds both body and  spirit of people in our area.  Cooks, servers, maintenance, clean up, are all volunteers. Some of the volunteers have served daily for over 10 years. Servers for each meal are volunteers from the supporting churches, youth groups, and community.

We serve the noon meal and take supplies over to the soup kitchen on the 4th Wednesday of each month. 5 or 6 volunteers from Van Wert each month is the need, which has been readily met. Thank you.


Fred Early, Missions Committee



The Wednesday Evening Family Fellowship meals served during the 2014 winter, spring, and fall after the Wednesday JAM programs have been quite enjoyable for the attending church family members, kitchen volunteers, JAM kids and parents.

During 2014, a total of 751 meals were served with a weekly average of 50 meals served.  22 church members have joyfully worked in the kitchen and serving tables, with a weekly average of 11 workers. 

We start cooking at 3:30PM. Kitchen volunteers enjoy stories, laughter, and fellowship while preparing the meal.  Meal serving time is 5:15pm to 6:30pm or later.  The very generous donations of food, supplies and funds from our church family members have been wonderful.  Thank you!

Compliments and comments of appreciation received from families tell us that our mission to joyfully witness Jesus’ love, support, and comfort to all with our hearts and hands, is working.   The Fellowship meal mission has resulted in a couple families visiting and attending Sunday worship services. One family joined the church.

We look forward to increasing numbers of church and JAM families enjoying the Wednesday evening free meals and the welcoming, warm, comforting fellowship of our church family in the coming year.

Respectfully submitted,

Fred Early & Ed Conover
Missions Committee




Members of the Personnel Committee:

   Sally Hangartner, Chairperson

   Rick Eberle

   Rhonda Mohr

   Rev. Hal Shafer

The role of the Personnel Committee is to provide support counsel and evaluation of the paid staff of our church.  The Committee consists of one Elder, one Trustee, and one member-at-large.  The Committee works closely with the Pastor to establish and maintain accurate job descriptions and procedures that impact the staff in their daily work.

The committee met eight times in general meetings as well as additional meetings required in the hiring of a new Office Manager, whose employment began July 29th 2014. 


The Pastor’s job evaluation was completed in April and the rest of the personnel evaluations were completed by November 15th


The annual budget was submitted to the Budget Committee by August 31st.


It has been a pleasure to work with this Committee during a very busy year.  I thank them for their hard work and service.


Sally Hangartner, Chairperson



The Trustees had a challenging, but overall successful year.  With long time stalwart, Cherrie Evans retiring and bringing  Shultz, Huber, & Associates in to help with financials, to bringing along our new Office Manager, Donna Long (who has done a very nice job by the way), it was a fast paced year. 

Here are a few of the major projects we completed this year. 

Respectfully Submitted,

Tim Purmort





“Your standing as a Scout does not depend so much on the skills of your hands or the badges on your merit badge sash, as in the spirit in your heart-on what you are willing to do for others, on whether you are doing your very best to live the Scout Oath and Scout Law.” - Boy Scout Handbook, 6th edition.


Cub Scout Pack 35 . Cubmaster: Jodi Wollenhorst, Committee Chairman Doug Speer

46 Cub Scouts, their families and leaders enjoyed a fun filled, busy 2013 -2014 program year. . Each month the cubs and families were busy with educational fun family outings, weekly work on skill badges, and character building projects. The Cub Pack leaders and parents worked well together planning the program themes and activities well in advance. Several Webelos Scouts completed the requirements for the Arrow of Light Award and graduated into Boy Scout Troop 35.  Tiger Cubs, Wolf’s, and Bears completed their rank and badge requirements. 

In addition to the weekly den meetings, monthly Pack meetings, and family outings, highlight activities of the year included:

Some of the winter and spring activities included our Scout Sunday Worship Service, the annual Pinewood Derby race, the Scouting for Food Drive,  the annual Blue and Gold awards and recognition Banquet. Webelos Scouts who had completed the Arrow of Light Award crossed over into Boy Scout Troop 35 in a special ceremony.

Summer activities included marching in the Peony Parade with an award winning First Presbyterian Church Cub Scout Pack 35 float and a busy schedule of family and scout camping activities, “Mom & Me weekend”, Dad & Lad weekend, Webelos Camp, and Hawthorn District Day Camp.

In September Cub Pack families enjoyed weekend camp out with our Boy Scout Troop 35 at Camp Lakota.

Sunday, November 9th the Cub Pack cooked and served a pancake & sausage brunch for the congregation following the worship service.

During November and early December they collected winter coats, blankets, mittens, gloves and hats for distribution to those in need through a local organization.

A “Polar Bear Camp In” program was held in the Fellowship hall Dec 12-14.

During the early fall of 2014 the Cub Pack enrolled 18 new cub scouts and their families.

The cubs completed the fall popcorn sales fund raising project with over $5,600.00 in sales. The funds will provide for much of the program costs but not all. Other money raising projects throughout the year.


Scout Troop 35. Scoutmaster Donald Lippi; Committee Chairman Larry Taylor

Venture Crew 35, Advisor Teresa Lippi; Ass’t Advisor John Swaney


The 27 Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members along with 15 Adult leaders and Committee members enjoyed an action packed 2014. Each month of the year contained weekly meetings and purposeful weekend outings.  Monthly program themes include outdoor skills, vocation and avocational skills, leadership skills, conservation, personal fitness, service to others, citizenship education and experiences.

Troop 35 earned the highest level of the National Journey to Excellence Award. Requirements include: program quality, leader training, scout advancement, and troop activities.

Sunday August 17th, we celebrated 90 years of our church’s scouting program with a special afternoon program in the church involving ceremony, presentations by Rev. Hal Shafer, past and present scouts and leaders, and Black Swamp Areal Council officers.

The winter and spring activities included, the Black Swamp Area Council Klondike Derby completion, Scout Sunday Service, snow tubing at Mad River Mountain, and Junior Leadership Training weekend, Hocking Hills orienteering hike, and the service projects of cleaning trash 400 miles of Van Wert County road sides, and helping with the spring landscaping of the church.

Summer activities included, week long summer camp at Camp Lakota, white water rafting in West Virginia, trip to Charleston S. C. staying on the Aircraft Carrier York Town where they enjoyed historical tours, and earned the Oceanography merit badge.

Scoutmaster Donald Lippi and Venture Crew members spent a week at the B.S.A. Caribbean Sea Base, crewing on a sailing ship.

Fall activities included, fund raising projects of county fair parking, football game parking, and popcorn sales.  Programs of pioneering skills camp out, Primitive camping skills, Polar Bear camping weekend. A fall service project in partnership with the Orchard Tree Restaurant involved “in uniform” serving customers at the restaurant one full day in November which earned money to buy children’s Christmas presents for the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.

Reported by Fred Early

Chartered Organization Representative





The Read & Review Book Club meets the 1st Thursday of the month (September through December and February through May) at noon in the Fellowship Hall.


Our average attendance is 18 ladies who donate $2.50 for dessert and coffee.  A Book Club member volunteers to make a dessert whereas another volunteer leads the book discussion.  Most bring a brown-bag lunch.


Mission gifts for year 2014 follows:


May:   Trinity Friends Food Bank                                                               $  75

            First United Methodist Food Bank                                                 $  75

            Brumback Library Summer Children’s Reading Program         $150


Dec:   First United Methodist Food Bank                                                  $125

            Brumback Library Summer Children’s Reading Program         $125


Respectfully Submitted,

Karen Koch, Chairman




The members of the audio/video committee and operators are Dewaine Johnson, Ann Ayres, Roger Neville, Chris Heizman, and Randy Baer.   The committee wishes to thank Murray Gause for his many years of service and welcomed Randy to the team.


The committee met many times during the year and completed projects.


Audio and/or Video Services were provided for but not limited to the following:


         Sunday Morning Worship Services including Christmas Eve

•     Ash Wednesday Service; March 5th

         Lenten Service; March 30th

         Lenten Vesper Service (Mothers of Cross); April 6th

         Lenten Vesper Service (The Confession Stone-the songs of Mary); April 13th

         Maundy-Thursday Service; April 17th

         Dave Van Tilburg Student Recital; August 10th

         Weddings; December 6th, December 20th


The Audio/Video Committee produced a DVD of each worship service, which was delivered by the video operator for broadcast on cable channel 6. The service is first broadcast on Thursday at 12:00 noon and repeated again the following Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Committee also saves the service on a DVD recorder hard drive and DVD as a backup. The audio portion only is recorded on a computer hard drive, which can be made into an audio CD.  The channel 6 broadcast schedule can be found at:


Video on demand streaming of the services began on August 18, 2013. The Services can be viewed by going to the church’s web site at: and click the recent services link



The committee completed the following work and projects in 2014:


1.         January, 2014; Repaired AVP in Sanctuary.

2.        Duplicated DVD’s as requested.

3.         Continued working on improving communication efforts within church. Audio Video is now represented on Worship Committee by Dewaine Johnson.

4.         February, 2014; Checked all electrical outlets for grounding and polarity and notified Trustees of results.

5.         Researched cost for additional wireless microphones to enhance system.

6.         Attempted to recruit additional audio/video operators by means of numerous letters and phone calls throughout the year.

7.         Purchased used back up Canon XL2 from Ebay.


The committee sincerely thanks those who make monetary donations for audio/video purposes.


Audio/Video (general operating)               Audio/Video (Enhancement) Designated Fund

 (See print version for details)

(1)  Includes $176.00 for copyright licenses not figured in 2014 budget

I would like to thank each committee member and operator for his or her dedicated work and volunteering their time and talents in service to our church in God’s work. The committee volunteered many hours in 2014.

The audio/video committee welcomes anyone who has even the slightest interest to join us in volunteering some of your time and talent to help us improve the audio/video experience in the church.  The committee would welcome an opportunity to train an additional audio operator in 2015.  For more information, contact Dewaine Johnson at 419 238-3194 or


Respectfully submitted,

Dewaine Johnson, A/V Committee Chairperson