Religion offerings: 5-31


Local priest meets pope

The Rev. Peter Zafe of Toledo, director of the Philippine-American Catholic Council, met Pope Francis on April 9 during a general audience in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square, where about 45,000 people were in attendance. Father Zafe was in Rome to take part in a ceremony celebrating priests, including himself, who have been ordained 50 years. When he spoke to the pope in Spanish, he requested and received a blessing for the five spiritual means Father Zafe has developed to promote a deeper religious life: daily Bible reading; daily examination of conscience; monthly confession; being aware of divine, loving presence; and practicing Christian virtues. For more information on Father Zafe's list, go to

Summer Sunday Missions

The Wyandot Mission Church, the first officially recognized mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, founded by John Stewart in 1816 and now shepherded by John Stewart United Methodist Church in Upper Sandusky, reopens as a summer-only church Sunday. It offers weekly worship services at 8 a.m. Sundays; the Rev. Jim Stauffer, pastor of Trinity Evangelical United Methodist Church in Upper Sandusky, will lead the first service. Members of the Wyandot Tribe and a Shawnee shaman will preach four of the Sundays, and ministry candidates and area Protestant pastors will be in the pulpit throughout the summer, with the last seasonal service happening August 31. The 1824 stone church is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., and tours are available by calling Jean Moon at 419-294-2510, the John Stewart church at 419-294-2867, or emailing The Wyandot Mission Church is on East Church Street, one block east of State Rt. 53, in Upper Sandusky.

Zoar makes a minister

A former secretary at Zoar Lutheran Church will have kind of an elevation in office Sunday at 3 p.m. when she will be ordained at Zoar, 314 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg, as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Denise Russell, who is becoming a subsequent-career minister (she also worked in a corporate grocery position as a retail price specialist, and is married with three adult children and two grandchildren), will be the pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Hartland, Mich. She completed her divinity training at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus after studying theology at Lourdes University. Zoar will honor its former office worker with special music and a post-ordination reception in its Family Life Center.

First Wednesdays concerts

First Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Broadway St., Maumee, will hold three free outdoor concerts on its front lawn over the summer, starting Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with Kerry Patrick Patrick Clark, a folk singer/songwriter who was a member of the New Christy Minstrels. On July 2, Glass City Steel, the steel drum band of the Toledo School for the Arts, performs, and on August 6 the church's own Edge Band will give a concert. Blankets, lawn chairs, snacks, and nonalcoholic beverages are all allowed, and the church will serve free light refreshments. For more information, call 419-893-0223.

Vietnamese missionaries

The Revs. Karen Vo To and Ut To, who are United Methodist missionaries in Vietnam, will be in northwest Ohio Friday through June 8 sharing their story of escaping Vietnam when it became a communist country, then since the 1990s establishing 162 house churches there and getting the Church recognized by the government. They are scheduled to speak at a dinner and program at Waterville United Methodist Church, 102 N. Fifth St., Friday at 6 p.m.; have a noon lunch and a 1 p.m. program at Trinity United Methodist Church, 231 S. Maple St., Lindsey, June 7, then have a 5 p.m. dinner followed by 6 p.m. worship at the United Methodist Church of St. Andrew, 3620 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo, and worship Sunday, June 8, at 10 a.m. followed by lunch and a program, with a visit to the 190-year-old Collingwood United Methodist Church, 701 Phillips Ave.—which recently announced it will close June 22—also scheduled.