FOSTORIA - Coffeehouse Ministries at Fostoria Church of God opened its third season Sunday with a ceremony to dedicate renovations at the church, including seating for 200 guests, a 33-foot stage, theater draperies and theatrical lighting. The dedication also was a tribute to the growth of Coffeehouse Ministries from its modest beginnings to a popular community gathering.
At the start of the program, all church members involved with Coffeehouse Ministries processed into the auditorium that now doubles as worship space and a performing area.
Those attending heard remarks from the Revs. Donald Goodwin and Terry McBeath, organist Ron Callahan and board members Janet Yarris, Erma Kummerer, Stan Shrider, Maria Shrider and Rayna Dyer.
Goodwin said contemporary music is one way to draw people to God.
Kummerer read a description of "How the Vision Began."
More than two years ago, Callahan approached Goodwin with a suggestion to attract more people to worship services on Sunday evenings. Callahan proposed offering a night of music twice a month at Fostoria Church of God. The gatherings could have a coffeehouse format with music by the church's in-house band and guests artists.
Coffeehouse Ministries "was birthed" in January 2008 in the church's banquet facility, adjacent to the sanctuary at 122-124 W. Tiffin St. A large opening between the auditorium and the dining area allows listeners to hear the music as they enjoy coffee and snacks at tables lit with candles.
A supervised playroom is available for children, and the facility is handicapped accessible.
The mix of casual atmosphere and inspirational music has drawn crowds as high as 93 people.
The church's in-house band, with Callahan at the organ, opens each event. On keyboards are Penny Drake and Naomi Rickard, Adam Drake on drums and Ken Fraley on bass. Vocalists include Charlene Agapiou, Michelle Agapiou, Andy Bauman, Mary Bauman, Paula Correll, Randy Correll, Travis Drake and Patti Fraley.
"Coffeehouse worship has brought a new dimension of fellowship within our church family, the members of our community who have attended and with people from outside our city. We have found that fellowship to be sweet," the Goodwin said during the dedication.
Callahan, who is the director of Coffeehouse Ministries, introduced his assistant, Terrence Steigerwalt, musicians and singers, set-up crew, custodians and children's play area coordinator. He became emotional as he credited all who have contributed time, funds and general support to make Coffeehouse Ministries a success.
McBeath invited those in the crowd to dedicate themselves, as well as the building, to glory and service to God.
"Tonight, in this place, we were blessed ... because someone decided to do something for God outside the box," he said.
Callahan expanded on McBeath's comments, pointing out the importance of people working together, with no individual being more or less important than the other.
"Let it be known that this ministry is under the divine direction of the holy spirit, and he only is to get the praise, glory and honor for all that he has done ..." Callahan said.
The dedication concluded with a vocal selection by Donna McBeath. Everyone is invited to return Feb. 21 when Melody Road is to provide music for Coffeehouse Ministries. The doors open at 5 p.m. with music starting at 6 p.m.
For more information, call Callahan
at (419) 448-7262. A complete list of
performances for 2010 can be viewed