BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
A family tragedy renewed Chad Forman’s faith life and started a spiritual journey that finds him pastor of a new church in downtown Trenton.
Stronghold Lutheran Church is at 2714 West Jefferson (a storefront next to The Perfect Dress), its third location in 13 months, to accommodate a growing congregation.
The church belongs to the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, adhering to the traditions of Lutheran doctrine while practicing through more contemporary music and worship, said Forman.
After outgrowing sites in Flat Rock and Wyandotte, church leaders were pleased to find a larger space in Trenton and have repurposed it for Sunday services and a host of other activities.
Sunday communion services are at 10 a.m., followed by Bible study. More informal gatherings are held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
On Wednesdays, the church is open from 5-9 p.m. for Coffee House Study Days. Forman said students of all ages are welcome to stop by to do their homework.
As Easter approaches, Stronghold will host the Association Free Lutheran Bible School Concert Choir as they present “Five Solas of the Reformation” at 7 p.m. April 12. It is a public performance with a free will collection.
On April 13 and 14, services will be held at 7 p.m. for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, respectively. The 10 a.m. Easter Sunday service will not include Bible study.
Following teen lock-ins and hunter safety courses last month, two “Prayers and Plants” make-and-take workshops are being held April 28 (7-10 p.m.) and 29 (Noon-3 p.m.). The cost to paint a planter is $20 (includes refreshments); register at Stronghold Church on Facebook.
For Forman and the core group of founders who started the church, he said the last year has filled them with a great sense of accomplishment.
“It’s amazing when I look back and see the way God works through those around us,” said Forman, 45. “The journey so far has been incredible; I’m thankful for all the people God has placed in my path.”
He began to think about pastoral ministry after the death of his stepfather, Doug Thomas, who was killed in the 1997 crash of Comair Flight 3272 in Monroe County. Forman said the emotional and spiritual support from Community Lutheran Church for his mother, Judy Thomas, and the entire family was life-changing.
He also praised the late David Gohn, then pastor at Community, as the major influence on his life as a Christian and driving force behind his decision to pursue studies at the Michigan Theological Seminary in Plymouth.
“God’s love is bigger than anything we face in the world, and that’s what I want people to experience when they step into Stronghold,” said Forman.
In addition to his pastoral duties, Forman is a skilled tradesman at Ford Motor Co. He and his wife, Traci, are graduates of Anderson High School, Southgate, and the parents of two daughters, Hannah, creative arts/youth director at Stronghold, and Danae Pawlak, who lives in New York with her husband, Jake.
“They have been so supportive to me and the founding core group of 20 who remain actively involved in the ministry,” said Forman.
Church office hours are 4-9 p.m. weeknights except Tuesdays. Leave a message for staff at (734) 922-2841, through Facebook, or by email at email@example.com. The church website is strongholdchurch.org.