Gentle Worship returns after a hiatus | Local religion


Now in its ninth year, Gentle Worship is a service for families with people who have special needs, including Down’s syndrome, the hearing and / or visually impaired, autism, and more. It is also for people who suffer from chronic pain or other illnesses and cannot attend regular service.

Sweet Worship takes place on the fourth Sunday of each month at 1:30 p.m., at the Serrick Center on the Defiance College campus, with each service lasting 30 minutes or less.

Sweet worship services also take place on Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve, also at 1:30 p.m.

Services are led by Pastor Dave Brobston of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Dr. Fred Coulter, Professor of Education at Defiance College (DC), ScHotler President of Christian Education in DC, and Ordained Minister of the Church united Christ.

“After I was approached about the idea of ​​a gentle worship service (in 2012), I spoke to (former pastor) Mike Donnelly of UMC St. Paul,” said Brobston. “Our first thought was, ‘Why not? So we got a team (which included former pastor Eric Peltz of First Presbyterian), did some planning and got our hands on Fred here at Defiance College, it was a natural fit.

Coulter said, “I was asked to be part of the planning committee and at that time I was working with families. Eventually we got the idea that it seemed more appropriate to have the service here on campus, as it is a central location, it is handicapped accessible and there is plenty of parking. For Defiance College, it’s a natural extension of who we are because we value inclusiveness.

Until February 2020, the sweet worship services went like clockwork. However, in March of this year, Gentle Worship’s services were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a 22-month hiatus, Gentle Worship returned on November 28, with Coulter leading the service.

“It was interesting that you could say that the people who have participated in the past have come along, we all settled down, and I looked at everyone and I said, ‘It’s like we don’t weren’t seen in forever, and yet it feels like nothing’s changed, ”Coulter said. “We picked up where we left off, it was great to be back.”

Brobston and Coulter explained that the atmosphere of Gentle Worship is what makes it unique.

“What I find so amazing about it is that it is a small, full-fledged congregation with its own vitality,” said Brobston. “Although this is an outcrop of three congregations and Defiance College coming together, it is its own community. It is a beautiful thing to see.

Coulter said, “I think we’ve left the spirit that wants to be here, we have an article in the newspaper every now and then, but we haven’t really pushed hard to develop this service. The people who need to be here are here, there is a depth to the spirit of service, and no matter who is here, it’s full.

Brobston explained that the service doesn’t change much and it’s important that that doesn’t change.

“We sing the same songs every month, and the only thing that changes is the readings and the homily,” said Brobston. “It’s been that way since 2012. We’ve been singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’, ‘Kumbaya My Lord’ and a verse from ‘Amazing Grace’. People know the songs, and they sing every month.

Coulter reiterated Defiance College is pleased to host Gentle Worship services.

“We love having this service in college, again, it’s about inclusiveness and it goes hand in hand with the mission of Defiance College,” Coulter said. “We are grateful to the college for hosting this service for all these years, and we look forward to it being here for years to come.”

Since Defiance College is on Christmas break, this year’s Christmas Eve Sweet Worship service will take place at Hubbard Hall, with attendees invited to park in the parking lot next to College Place. Volunteers will be on hand to help direct participants to the service.


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