The newsletter for St. Mark's UMC in Murfreesboro, TN
"The Messenger"  Online Newsletter
December 18, 2018
From the Pastor

Christmas has an intensifying effect on people. If you have a marriage that works, a great family, and/or great friends, the normal feelings of joy that you  experience become even more magnified. That’s what Christmas does on the upside.
 
But Christmas works the other way as well. If you’ve just experienced the end of a marriage, if your children aren’t nearby or can’t come home, or if you’re new to the community, Christmas is also intensified... but not in a good way. If you’re grieving the death of a child, spouse, friend, parent, or relationship, or if you've just received discouraging news, Christmas can be especially tough.

On Wednesday evening, our church is hosting a Blue Christmas service. It's at acknowledgement of that Christmas isn't always a joyous season and speaks into that reality with a word of hope. I hope you are planning to attend and that you'll invite others as well.

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. 

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
This time of year doesn't always feel merry and jolly, particularly for those who have experienced a loss or are going through a tough time. The "Blue Christmas" service is a time for acknowledging those difficulties. It will be held Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at 6:15 p.m. in the Narthex
SAGES News

The SAGES’ Ministry Team will January 14 at 9:30 A.M. in Room 503-505.
 
Thanks to everyone who made our Senior Serenity Program and Luncheon successful. And thanks for your support of Christmas at Beersheba. A special thanks to Rev. Martha Touchton and Rev. Tommy Ward for their leadership of the program.
 
The Alzheimer’s/Dementia Support Group will meet Thursday, December 20, 1:30 P.M. in Room 506.
 
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.
 
SAGES will go to the Frist Center in Nashville on January 3. The bus will leave at 8:45 A.M. Please sign up in the church office. Please look for the book!
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Youth News  

As a reminder, 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 and New Year!

Speaking of the New Year 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 3-4, and this will be a combined youth-college event. Sign ups with details on location, cost, and packing list are available in the Youth or College area. You may also find this information on the Fusion Youth website, just click on the calendar event. Also, a flyer is ATTACHED HERE . 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!
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. 

During the service, 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 concludes with communion and candlelight singing, and each child receives a beautiful Christmas ornament. Child care for infants and toddlers is provided during the service. 
Year End Giving Encouraged
Many people have expressed a desire to make a year-end contribution to the church that is above and beyond your church pledge. Year-end gifts not only provide tax incentives for the giver but also help the church to start off the new year on a good financial note.

The Finance Committee thanks you for the way you've supported the ministries of the church in 2018 and encourages those interested in making a year-end gift to the church to do so no later than Monday, December 31.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT TOGETHER!
Resumes January 9, 2019!
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

January 9 – Free WNT Meal and
Bring Your Gifts Talent Show/Youth Choir Benefit
Stocking Up on Christmas
St. Mark's UMC will receive an offering of school supplies for the teachers and children of Reeves Rogers school.

Bring your donation on Sundays, December 23 to January 6, or at the 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Service.

Read more about it HERE.
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). 
St. Mark's Gift Bag Ministry 
Thanks to every person and family
who helped provide a Merry Christmas

for 215 Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Graders from Reeves Rogers Elementary School! The bags were sorted and delivered Monday, December 17 th .

Six Reeves Rogers families also received expanded assistance with Christmas, thanks to several adult Christian Education classes and individual families. Please join us in praying for the children and families who will receive these gifts, that they might be a means of God’s grace and love!
In Other News...
View Our Current  Prayer List

Thursday Morning Women's Bible Study will return January 10, 9:00 a.m. in Room 1203. This study will be on Barb Roose's study "Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle" for the next 6 weeks. We will have the workbooks at the first class and they are $13.  For more info see Patti Daws.

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