Cook’s United

Methodist Church

February 2023 Newsletter

From the Pastor

“[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,

endures all things. Love never ends.” 

1 Corinthians 13:7-8a


This small portion of Paul’s first letter to the Christians who lived in Corinth is our memory verse for February. (The verse for January is listed at the bottom of this article if you want to check yourself.) You may think that I chose this simply because Valentine’s Day falls in this month. Not true. 


To begin a new year, I reminded us of one of the bigger themes throughout the New Testament: endurance. Or, as it’s presented in John’s Revelation from Christ, consistent resistance. Endurance through what? Resistance against what? Well, a short answer would be anything that would distract you from or have you believe that God’s love is denied you. For the first audiences of these letters, the message would have been to keep resisting the threat of persecution if you profess faith in Christ, trusting in God’s love and its benefits. Endure EVERYTHING. 


Before we dare name some of today’s everything to be endured, let’s be clear that Paul is declaring that love – agape love, specifically – enables us to do just that. The Greek word for endure/endurance is “hupomeno” which means ‘to persevere, stand one’s ground, to bear up under the load’ by God’s power. Christian endurance is to keep on going by faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, your Brother, your Friend.


Now, to the “everything.” Paul says agape love – God’s love for you, God’s love in and through you – makes endurance possible in and through all things. In the terror of violence in our hometowns. In the dissolution of a sense of safety in our own streets. In the sadness and uncertainty of a denomination in turmoil. In the unsettling division that seems to demand we pick sides in our politics, in our faith family, in our communities. In the tyranny of hurry when our spirits cry out of rest and peace. I won’t go on, but I do encourage you to make your own list. Go ahead. What does it feel like you won’t make it through? God’s love will make it possible.


As we remind ourselves of the power of God available to us by faith in Christ, we must allow that it’s not just for the circumstances of our lives, but also for the relationships which are entrusted to us. The very love of God which provides redemption, restoration tenderness, and power for you, to you … is the same love God provided so that you will love in the same way. 


The best way I know to grow in our practice of receiving and offering this love is to hold the truth of it as a treasure. It’s work, but what grace is in store that this Word would be held in our hearts. Won’t you memorize this promise of God with us?


(January’s memory verse: “Rejoice in hope. Be patient in suffering. Persevere [or, endure] in prayer.” Romans 12:12)


Monthly Memory Verse

“[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,

endures all things. Love never ends.” 

1 Corinthians 13:7-8a

Communion Sunday

We will be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion this Sunday, February 5, 2022. If you will be worshipping/celebrating with us from home, please gather bread (or tortillas or crackers, etc.) and juice (if you don't have grape, any juice or liquid will suffice) enough for everyone in your household. We look forward to celebrating God's grace in this very special way.

Scout Sunday February 12

All Scouts (girls and boys, men and women, former or current) are encouraged

to wear their uniforms to help celebrate Scout Sunday.

Samaritan Fund

The dollars in this fund are used to help those in our community with immediate needs. The money used to fund this account comes from donations left on the altar rail during communion.

Nursery Volunteers Needed

We have prayed for children, youth and young adults and those prayers have been answered. WE ARE BLESSED. Now we must have 2 nursery volunteers to watch and play with our children 5 and under when needed (beginning this Sunday). We have 2 teachers for kindergarten thru 5th grade. PLEASE let the church office know if you are willing to be a volunteer. The more volunteers the better. 

Cook’s Inclement Weather Policy

Sunday worship schedules will depend on the weather / road conditions on those mornings. A decision will be made as quickly as possible and will be posted on Facebook as well as email communication sent. Please use your own discretion on those days.

Coins for Lent 2023

February 22, 2023 (Ash Wednesday) to

       April 8, 2023 (Holy Saturday)


During Lent, many of us are reminded once again to examine our lifestyles and ask, "What can we do for others?" Part of faith formation at any age is compassion and offering a serving heart to our neighbors. These past few years have been challenging when trying to find ways to serve our neighbors while remaining physically distant. This time has also reminded us that we need to demonstrate compassion to others now more than ever. Lent is a good time to commit to giving money to a project that helps those in need. One way to involve the whole family is to collect coins during the season of Lent and then following Easter, Cook’s will be donating the money collected to West Elementary for much needed playground repairs. 


You may decide what coins you want to collect, or you may want to simply collect loose change and give whatever coins you have for each item.


Items on the daily guide will remind us of all we have and how little others may have. Each Sunday, pray as a family for the project and the people who will benefit from your gifts. Our giving begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes with Holy Saturday. During Lent, Sundays are for worship and praise to God.


On Ash Wednesday and the following Sunday there will be jars available on the altar along with giving calendars and prayer prompts. Please take one for yourself and another for other family members, neighbors or friends and return them to the altar on Easter morning with your contributions. Jars will also be available in the church office during normal business hours beginning Wednesday, February 22.

2023 Lenten Season


The season of Church life we find ourselves in right now is considered Ordinary Time. I find that worth a church because we’ve learned in the last couple of years that there’s no such thing as “ordinary time,” haven’t we?!


As we make our way through the after-Epiphany Sundays toward the Transfiguration of Jesus, the Worship Planning Team has been praying over and working toward a meaningful Lenten Season. Lent is, literally, the 40 days (not including Sundays) leading to Easter. Early Church history shows that this period was used by the Orthodox Church to prepare converts for baptism and welcome to the Body of Christ. The 40 days begins with Ash Wednesday; it’s called that because of the practice of imposing ashes on those who wish to observe a meaningful season. Sackcloth and ashes have been a part of showing repentance of the heart and mind since the beginning of God’s people; taking on the discomfort and dirt of such material is a reminder of the mess we get ourselves into when we go our own way. An additional practice many choose during the season of Lent is the practice of fasting something of the world in their lives in order to have more time, more attention, more intention, and a greater practice of the things of God. Often, the fast is of food items or drink. Can I encourage you to think about giving up something that can be even more devastating to your health than Cheetos, chocolate, or excess coffee? What if you were to spend 40 without complaining? Without denigrating yourself? Without gossip? Whether your battle is with craving chocolate or the ease of complaint, fill those moments with a simple prayer for forgiveness, trust, and transformation and watch what your journey will become!


There are many other experiences during this holy season that will encourage you along the way. We hope to see you as we journey toward the Cross together.


February 22 – Ash Wednesday, 6:00 PM, Sanctuary

February 22 – April 6 – Morning Devotionals, Monday thru Thursday each week, via the Cook’s Facebook page, 8:00am Livestream (Lent only)

February 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26 & April 2 – Six Sundays of Lent/Sermon Series on Forgiveness (Marjorie Thompson’s book, Forgiveness: A Lenten Study is a good companion through this season.) 8:45am and 11:00am.

April 2 – Cantata, Joint Choirs from Grace UMC and Cook’s UMC, during 11:00am Worship, Friendship Hall

April 6 – Maundy Thursday Meal and Worship; 6:00 pm in Friendship Hall, Including Holy Communion

April 7 – Good Friday, Interactive Stations of the Cross, Friendship Hall from 7am until 7pm *

April 9 – Sonrise Worship, 6:30 am at Cook’s UMC Pavilion Easter Morning Worship, 8:45 am in the Sanctuary


* If you would be willing to serve as a host/hostess for 1-2 hours during Good Friday, we welcome you volunteering for such. You would simply be responsible for welcoming folks in the space, inviting them to start at Station 1, and, if needed, respond to any need expressed (directions to restroom, request for prayer, a necessary reminder to keep quiet for the sake of others’ experience, etc.) You may volunteer by emailing or calling the Church Office.

Current Information

The most recent Newsletter, Financial Statement, and approved Church Council Minutes can be found in the metal rack by the restrooms in the Friendship Hall.

Home Centered

Dot Creasman, Billie East, Judith Mabb,

Phil & Gladys Pennington,

Norman & Ruby Walker

Backpack Program

The Church at Pleasant Grove is sponsoring the Backpack Program for 5 schools in our area: Springdale Elementary, Stoner Creek Elementary, West Elementary, Mt. Juliet High School and Wilson Central High School. They need help in stocking their shelves. Items requested are: Instant Oatmeal Packages; Individual Mac & Cheese; Pudding Cups (non-refrigerated; Ravioli, Spaghetti-O's; Granola Bars; Fruit Cups; Applesauce; Juice Boxes (avoid those with lots of sugar). There will be a cart in the back hallway at church for your donations. 

There are wallet size cards available to take off the carts in the back hallway. 

One side of the card has Cook’s SALT food items needed and the

other side has the food items needed for the Backpack Program. 

Keep one of these in your wallet to have handy each time you go to the store.

Dear Cook’s UMC,

Thank you so much for your donation to the Mt. Juliet Help Center! During the holiday season we are especially grateful for your support of our efforts to make sure all families in our community have access to the food, clothing, and utility assistance they need. We appreciate your support! Sincerely, Carolyn Smith, Director


Cook’s UMC, on behalf of the Wilson County Community Help Center, thank you for your donation of $700.00. The Wilson County Community Help Center exists to provide food, clothing, and household necessities to the needy. We also provide financial assistance for utilities, gasoline, and prescription drugs for individuals in Wilson County. The Center can only fulfill its mission by receiving support from donors such as you. 

Sincerely, Karen Rudzinski, Executive Director


SALT appreciates all the support that we receive from Cook's UMC and its congregation. This year we received $1,220 in cash donations from Cook's plus many pounds of food. There are also many members who regularly deliver food, pick up food deliveries, unload and stock the shelves, prepare food boxes for delivery, serve at Mobile Food Pantries and Open Pantries, help maintain the pantry facility, take off the trash, collect boxes for our use, and probably some other things that I have forgotten. They all serve with the hearts of servants and truly love this ministry and the people we serve.

Joyce Gaines, SALT Pantry Coordinator

SALT (Serving at the Lord’s Table)


With the price of food skyrocketing, our SALT friends are struggling. Toiletries are a necessity but are probably a lower priority than food. We don't provide toiletries primarily because of the cost of buying them for over 200 households. However, we're going to put items in their food boxes for a special Valentine Day gift. SALT will provide toilet paper, soap, and toothbrushes. We hope that our partner churches can donate shampoo and toothpaste. We won't be doing this on a regular basis as food is our priority too! These will be going in our February 16 food boxes so if you can help, we'd appreciate receiving them before then. If you'd like to involve any of your church's children, it would be wonderful to include a handmade Valentine card from them! Other Items Needed: Canned Mixed Vegetables, Rice (1 or 2 lb bags), and Canned Beans. 

Are You on Facebook?

You can help us spread Cook's news! It's easy: first, be sure to "Like" Cook's Facebook page ( Then keep your eye out for announcements, inspiration, and invitations to worship. When they show up in your FB feed, "Like" or "Share" the posts. The more who do, the more people see it, even if they're not yet members and/or don't “Like” the CUMC page. Have photos from a church event or something you want to promote on social media? Send info/photos to Alison Nash or to the church office.

Handbell Practice Schedule

(Wednesdays in the Youth Room @ 6pm)

February 1, 8 and 15

March 8 & 22

April 5, 12 & 19

May 10, 17 & 24

Choir Practice Schedule

(Wednesdays in the Youth Room @ 7pm)

February 1, 8, 15 & 22

March 1, 8, 22 & 29

Saturday March 11 Cantata Practice in Friendship Hall 9:00 – 1:00

April 5, 12, 19 & 26

May 3, 10, 17 & 24

June 7 & 14

February Calendar of Events

Wednesday, February 1 @ 6:00 pm Missions Team (Library)

Thursday, February 2 @ 5:00 pm Praying Like Monks (Seekers Room)

Monday, February 6 @ 12:30 pm Sacred Slow (Seekers Room)

Thursday, February 9 @ 5:00 pm Praying Like Monks (Seekers Room)

Sunday, February 12 @ 3:30 pm Finance Team (Lamplighters Room)

Sunday, February 12 @ 4:00 pm Church Council (Youth Room)

Tuesday, February 14 @ 6:30 pm Girl Scouts (Lamplighters & Shine Rooms)

Wednesday, February 15 @ 6:00 pm SPR Team (Seekers Room)

Thursday, February 16 @ 3:30 pm Worship Team (Library)

Thursday, February 16 @ 5:00 pm Discipleship Team (Library)

Thursday, February 16 @ 5:00 pm Praying Like Monks (Seekers Room)

Monday, February 20 @ 12:30 pm Sacred Slow (Seekers Room)

Wednesday, February 22 @ 6:00 pm Ash Wednesday Service (Sanctuary)

Thursday, February 23 @ 5:00 pm Praying Like Monks (Seekers Room)

Mondays @ 9:30 am Bible Study (Youth Room)                                    


Thursdays @ 6:00 pm Boy Scouts (Youth & Shine Rooms)

Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Oliver Academy  


Mondays, Tuesdays & Fridays @ 6:00 pm TKD (Friendship Hall)

Giving Options

In Person Giving

An offering basket is available at the back of the Friendship Hall during all worship services, or you can drop your offering off by the church office during regular business hours.

Online Giving

You can give online at or

text cumc to 73256

Electronic Bank Draft

If you are interested in this easy and convenient way of giving,

please contact the church office.

Cook’s Vision

To be a welcoming congregation dedicated to worshiping God, growing disciples in Christ, and serving the community through the Holy Spirit.

Cook’s Values

*Vital Worship *Selfless Mission

*Genuine Care

*Growth in Discipleship

Cook’s Strategy

*Engage   *Connect

*Equip   *Send

Cook’s Mission

To know Christ and to make

Christ known.

Sunday Schedule

8:45am Traditional Worship (Sanctuary), Facebook Live & YouTube

10:00am Sunday School

11:00am “The Well” Worship Service (Friendship Hall), Facebook Live & YouTube