Trinity United Methodist starts contemporary service

Defiance congregation embraces change

By JACK PALMER Published:

Trinity United Methodist Church, a 130-year-old congregation, has added a new contemporary service to its regular Sunday morning schedule.

"This is a big deal for our church," said Pastor Joe Graves. "Kudos to the people for all their support."

The contemporary service starts at 11:30 a.m., during which time a separate children's church and nursery is also held. The congregation's traditional worship continues at 10 a.m., preceded by adult Sunday school at 9 a.m.

"Our goal with the new service is to create a new worship experience that is relevant to all ages," said Graves. "We want to be modern with a message."

Music is provided by a praise and worship band comprised of acoustic and electric guitars, keyboard, drums and vocalists.

Tom Hanna, a member of the praise band, described the new service as "refreshing, upbeat, awe inspiring, relevant, relaxing, filled with love -- and long overdue."

"The sermon was delivered in plain English and made me think," he added.

"I thoroughly enjoy the new service," said church member Harley Hasselswerth. "I'm passionate about a lot of God-centered music."

Graves said the new service does not have a regular order of service, but rather varies from week to week.

"We don't want to be stuck to any traditional format. If people get comfortable with the same things all the time, sometimes they don't even think what they are saying. We want them to encounter God in a language and culture they understand, while providing them with a fresh perspective to lead daily lives of joy and service. We believe God is calling us to change the world for the better."

In addition to contemporary praise and worship music, Graves invites attendees to bring their cell phones, iPhones and BlackBerrys.

"We invite people to text their prayer requests during the service. We are trying to create a community who cares for each other. We want to empower lay people and energize them spiritually."

Graves is a firm believer that the church does not exist to take care of itself only, but instead, should sacrifice it's own desires for the greater purpose of being salt and light to the world.

"We eagerly invite any and all to be a part of this journey, as we figure out together, what it means to make the love of God a reality to those who know him and to those who don't," said Graves.

For more information about Trinity United Methodist Church, contact the church office at 419-782-9781, visit the church website at or visit its Facebook page at

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