Historical Background


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In 17th century England, a number of Christian believers were becoming
dissatisfied with the rigid religious form of the Church of England. Their desire
was to find a more inwardly satisfying outlook, not only on worship, but on life
as well. George Fox was one of these early seekers.

Fox began traveling from home to home and from church to church sharing a
message about how to have a more personal relationship with the Lord. As
his message spread, more and more people became attracted to Fox’s power
words. These early followers were first called “Friends of Jesus.” Their name
was later changed to “The Religious Society of Friends.” In time, the nickname
”Quaker” was attached to the Friends groups.

On the local scene, the roots of Trinity Friends Church date back to 1873
when its members were part of the present day First Friends Church in Van
Wert. At that time, thirty two members met in a small white frame building, then
in a suburb of the city. In 1908 a new stone and brick building was
constructed that remains to this day as First Friends Church.
In December of 1917 several members left First Friends and began meeting
separately. At first they called themselves ”The Society,” but in 1918 they
formalized their group under the name ”Central Mission Friends Church.”

The newly formed Friends congregation continued to grow, and was soon
able to purchase a portion of land within the city limits of Van Wert. They also
purchased a church building northeast of town that had formerly been
occupied by a rural Lutheran congregation. The building was purchased at a
cost of $700 and moved to the city.

Following a long drive to retire their debt, the congregation burned the
mortgage for their building in 1929. Then, in 1954 the name of the church was
changed from Central Mission Friends to its present day name of Trinity
Friends Church.

Continued growth in the body of believers, combined with the aging of the
church facility, forced the congregation to look at the need for expansion. In
February of 1970, a five-acre plot of land was purchased on North Franklin
St. in Van Wert. Four years later, groundbreaking services were held to
celebrate the beginning of the building process for a new facility. The new
building was dedicated in a special service on August 17, 1975.

With a logo that read, ”Come Grow With T.F.C.” and Jeremiah 33:3 as the
church’s vision and mission, amazing things continued to happen at Trinity
Friends. The church sanctuary, built to hold 225, soon became crowded.
Growth continued, and the number of worshippers doubled to 480. For
several months it became necessary to hold two Sunday morning services,
though the evening service and Sunday School classes continued to be
crowded. The answer, once again, was to expand.

In 1983 the decision was made to construct a new addition. Besides building a
sanctuary that would hold 800, the new addition would provide additional
office space, a library, and additional restrooms. The design of the proposed
sanctuary would allow for easy expansion to accommodate 1500 worshippers.
Attendance during the morning services quickly averaged 620. This growth
caused a problem with overcrowding in the educational facilities. To remedy
the situation, a 10,200 square foot, two-story education building was begun in
1987, adding 19 classrooms, restrooms, and a janitor’s closet to the building.

With a vision for evangelism and outreach, Trinity Friends undertook a
stewardship campaign in 1995 to raise funds to build its biggest project to
date, a Family Life Center. Groundbreaking for the 39,000 square foot facility
was held on Easter Sunday of 1998. One year later the new Trinity Friends
Church Family Life Center was completed, featuring an auditorium,
acoustically designed to accommodate dramas, concerts, and recreational
ministries, and seating for 1,000. Other features included a commercial size
kitchen, a Fireside Room for special occasions, a game room, classrooms,
two locker/shower rooms, restrooms and storage.

As we have seen God move in miraculous ways over the past century, we
rejoice in all He has blessed us with. We realize that it is He who has
accomplished all these things, and not ourselves. We are simply His hands
extended. As we look to what the Lord has for us in the future, we pray that
we will strive to use what He has blessed us with to proclaim His message of
grace and forgiveness to those who are hungry to hear.

 

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High 55° / Low 31°
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