The newsletter for St. Mark's UMC in Murfreesboro, TN
"The Messenger"  Online Newsletter
December 4, 2018
From the Pastor

A while back, someone posted something online that caught my eye. The comment was this: "To my new neighbor who runs his outdoor floodlights all night long…thanks for taking away my moon and stars." 

I wonder what might be blinding us from being able to admire and appreciate the beauty of this holy season? Is there is a sense in which this time of preparation is not what it could be because we've allowed the lights of the world to drown out the light of Christ?

I hope to see you in worship this Sunday as we ask God for the courage to change the things we can, all in the hopes of experiencing serenity.

It is a privilege to serve as one of your clergy.
Tommy
A Message from Buddy Howell
Please join me in sending a big THANK YOU to the St. Mark’s staff for their dedication and service to our church. Each member of our staff performs a vital role that supports the many missions of St. Mark’s. Their day-to-day efforts are a key part of what makes us one of the great churches in our community!

In addition to cards and notes of encouragement, please consider sending a financial gift. To designate a gift for the staff, just write “Staff Christmas Gift” on the memo line of your check. Your check can then be placed in an offering plate or mailed to the church office. All gifts received by Monday, December 17, will be distributed prior to Christmas.

Please keep the St. Mark’s staff in your prayers during this holiday season, and let’s keep working together to make 2019 our best year ever!

Rev. Tommy Ward, Senior Pastor
Dr. Jim Clardy, Executive Pastor
Rev. Martha Touchton, Minister of Education
Rev. Mary Dicken, Minister of Worship & Music
Kathryn Wright, Business Administrator
Mike Rose, Administrative Assistant / I.T. Coordinator
Dr. Adam Clark, Accompanist
Sherrie Gilliam, Preschool Director
Janet Morse, Custodial Care
Tony Henry, Custodial Care
SAGES News

The SAGES Ministry Team will not meet in December for a regular session. But the first meeting of the new year is January 14 at 9:30 A.M. in Room 503-505.
 
The Senior Serenity Program and Luncheon will be held on Saturday, December 8. The day begins at 11:00 A.M. with a brief worship service and Christmas Communion in the sanctuary. We will then move to the Banquet Room for a wonderful lunch at 11:30 A.M. Finally, Santa will appear to cheer up everyone. All persons on our shut-in and caring list are invited along with their families. They are all guests of the SAGES. All SAGES at St. Mark’s and friends are invited. The meal is $12. Please sign up in the church office. Look for the book!
 
Christmas at Beersheba is December 11. The church bus will leave at 8:30 A.M. The cost to ride the bus and the meal is a total of $23. Please sign up in the church office. You will enjoy Hor D’Oeuvres, a Christmas meal, special Christmas music, and a spirit-filled worship service. If you have never been for this Christmas adventure, you’re invited to come along.
 
The Minerva Harrell Sunday School Class will host dinner for the residents of the Fisher House on December 13.
 
The Alzheimer’s/Dementia Support Group will meet Thursday, December 20, 1:30 P.M. in Room 506.
 
The SAGES have planned activities for the new year. On the calendar for January 3 is a trip to the First Center. Please check you next newsletter for more information.
 
And we are excited to announce the SAGES will travel to Kentucky May 20-May 22. Travel itinerary and sign-up sheets are in the Narthex and office. Sign up and $100 deposit are due January 1.The itinerary includes a guided tour of Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, KY. We will visit Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. The Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah’s Ark built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. It is said of this encounter that as a modern engineering marvel it amazes visitors young and old. More information can be found in the narthex and church office. 
Youth News  

We have several fun events and activities coming up over the next couple of months!

Our Youth Christmas Party will be held on Sunday, December 16th! We will be sending out details on location this week. Be sure to dress festively and bring a fun $10 gift for a gift exchange!

We will not have youth on Sunday the 23rd and 30th due to the holidays. We hope everyone has a safe, fun, and special Christmas during that week!

Our first event in 2019 will be our annual Ski Trip! We will be heading to North Carolina for some skiing in the Appalachian Mountains! The dates for the trip are January 3-5, and this will be a combined youth-college event. Sign ups with details on location, cost, and packing list will be available very shortly. Come out and enjoy the outdoors - all skill levels are welcome!

Warmth in Winter is February 1st-3rd at the Opryland Hotel! This is one of our most fun events of the year, and we have several of our youth serving in leadership roles for this. Sign up sheets with details will be available in January - you do not want to miss this event!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT TOGETHER!
Family, Food, Fellowship, Faith, and Fun for the whole Family!
Wednesday Night Together offers a full menu of
delicious food, warm table fellowship, and
fun and formative weekly classes, groups and events for all ages!

5:15 - 6:00 p.m. Church Family Dinner
Reservations due by 12:00 p.m. Monday
$6.00/Adult, $2.00/Children and MTSU Students, $20.00/Family Max

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
5:15 p.m. WNT Meal
Menu: Lasagna, Lima Beans, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad
6:15 p.m. MTSU Flute Choir Christmas Concert
Children’s WNP will Meet!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
5:15 p.m. WNT Meal
Menu: Smothered Pork Chops, Scalloped Potatoes, Fried Okra, Broccoli Salad
6:15 p.m. Children’s WNP Closing Program
 
And then in 2019…
January 9 – Free WNT Meal and
Bring Your Gifts Talent Show/Youth Choir Benefit
Poinsettia Orders
Please make checks payable to
St. Mark’s UMC
and designate for Poinsettia.

Order Deadline:
Monday, December 10 th
Cost: $12 per plant.
 
______ in memory OR ______ in honor

Of: __________________________________________________

By:__________________________________________________
Christmas Music at St. Mark’s!
In the coming weeks, St. Mark’s will be blessed by several visiting music ensembles. Mark your calendars so you can be sure to come out and enjoy the sounds of the season! All concerts are free and open to the public.

MTSU Flute Choir
Wednesday, December 5
6:15 p.m. in the Narthex

MTSU Clarinet Choir
Sunday, December 9
9:30 a.m. in the Narthex

Music City Bronze (Handbells)
Sunday, December 9
4:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary
St. Mark's Gift Bag Ministry 
Provides Christmas for 200+ Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Graders from Reeves Rogers Elementary School.

Choose a Gift Bag and WRITE YOUR NAME next to that bag's #. Follow the directions inside and fill it with new, small, age-appropriate gift items. Return your Gift Bag to the table by Sunday, December 16th.

NEED MORE INFORMATION? - Contact Rev. Martha Touchton (615) 893-3455. Sponsored by the Children's Ministries Team
Fellowship Brunch & Coffee Fellowship
Merry Christmas
Fellowship Brunch
Sunday, December 23, 2018
9:45 - 10:45 a.m.
Bring Breakfast Item to Share
Coffee Fellowship
Sunday December 30, 2018
9:30 a.m. Followed by
One Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.
Bring a Goodie to Share
See FLYER for more information.
“Christ the Savior Is Born”
4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Worship 
Especially for Families with Young Children

The Children’s Ministries Team offers a 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve worship service especially for families with young children which includes music, readings, drama and prayers led by our children and their families. Children who are willing to share their talents through singing, playing an instrument, reading or leading a prayer are invited to volunteer to Rev. Touchton. Families are also invited to volunteer to serve as greeters, ushers and communion servers.

The Christmas story will be portrayed through a spontaneous Christmas pageant with all the children participating as animals, angels, shepherds, kings, and stars.  The service will conclude with communion and candlelight singing (using glow sticks!), and each child will receive a beautiful Christmas ornament. Child care for infants and toddlers is provided during the service.
Bring Your Gifts (a.k.a. Your Talent!)
We need your talent! The "Bring Your Gifts" Talent Show will be Wednesday, January 9 at 6:15 p.m. All proceeds from this event will benefit the 2019 SONlight Youth Choir tour. The audience will vote for their favorite talent with monetary donations - so bring your friends and family for support! To enter the talent show, complete an entry form  online by Sunday, January 6. Entry fee is $20 per act. Questions? Contact Rev. Mary by email or phone (615-893-3455). 

Thanks to everyone who attended and made purchases at the Merry Mission Marketplace!    Because of your shopping, we had sales of almost $7000, with more than $3700 raised to support missions and non-profits!
Jam Session Ice Skating
At the outdoor rink at The Fountains at Gateway shopping center.
Sunday, December 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Friends and family welcome!

Experience something new - or show your skills and help teach the first-timers. Don't worry, most people at the rink have never skated before! See the attached FLYER and mandatory Liability Waiver for the ice rink for more details - Hope to see you there!

Please RSVP and call/text/email if questions, Bernie & Rene' Sharkey sharkahoo@gmail.com
In Other News...
View Our Current  Prayer List

Mission Team News and Stats HERE

Acolytes Needed - If you are in 3rd grade or older and would like to serve or continue serving as an acolyte, please email Kathy Edwards with name, grade, parents contact info and which service you attend. Acolytes usually serve once every 4-6 weeks depending on the number of volunteers. Questions, call Kathy at (615)478-7859.

See Our Full  Event Calendar

Missed a Sermon?  Click  HERE  to go to our sermons media page.
St. Mark's UMC | (615) 893-3455 |  stmarks@stmarkstn.org