The newsletter for St. Mark's UMC in Murfreesboro, TN
"The Messenger"  Online Newsletter
February 26, 2019
From the Pastor

As you are aware, there is a special called General Conference of The United Methodist Church taking place in St. Louis February 23-26. General Conference is the highest legislative body in our denomination and the only group that can speak for our denomination. The Council of Bishops called this special session to receive and act on a report from the Commission on the Way Forward and the singular focus of this General Conference is human sexuality.

No doubt, there will be a lot of press about this General Conference. I don't have to tell you that there are biases in reporting so please don't react in haste to what you see, hear, or read on any news outlet, blog, or social media post. I plan to meet with colleagues in ministry later this week to digest whatever action and decisions are made at General Conference and on Sunday, I will briefly address the congregation. 

In closing, here is a video by our episcopal leader, Bishop Bill McAlilly that he shared late last week:

It is a privilege to serve as one of your clergy.

Ash Wednesday Worship

Ash Wednesday Worship
March 6 at 6:15 p.m.
in the Sanctuary

The Alzheimer’s/Dementia Support Group meets in Room 504 on Thursday, February 28 at 1:30 P.M..

The SAGES Ministry Team will meet again on Monday, March 11 at 9:30.

The Older Adult Committee of the Tennessee Conference will present its Spring Conference on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at Franklin First United Methodist Church, 120 Aldersgate Way, Franklin, TN 37069. Registration starts at 9:00 A.M. The program starts at 9:30 and will conclude at 2:15 P.M. The cost of the conference is $15 which includes lunch. The conference leader is W. Craig Gilliam, and elder in the UMC, who has served much of his ministry working in the field of conflict resolution for individuals and congregations. You may register at or by sending an email to
SAGES will be seeing “Noises” at the Cumberland County Playhouse on Tuesday, March 26. Cost of the tickets are $25.00 each. The church bus will leave at 8:30 promptly. Cost to ride the bus is $5.00. Please make your reservations in the church office.

The Alzheimer/Dementia Support Group will meet again in Room 504 on March 28.

Several other trips and activities are planned. These include another trip to the Cumberland County Playhouse, a visit to the Dutch Make Bakery/Restaurant in Tracy City, the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, the Ark and the Shaker Village in Kentucky, the Loveless Café and Chaffins’ Barn, Granny Fishes, and the Midway Diner. Please watch this newsletter for lots of other information regarding our Sages’ activities.

The SAGES have been invited to provide a monthly worship service at Adams’ Place. The Rev. Linda Tunnell and her team are working with the SAGES to provide this service. She is organizing two teams to rotate with each other to share with our friends and neighbors at Adams’ Place. If you would like to be a part of the team, please contact Linda.

We will also begin services second Tuesday of each month at Boulevard Terrace Rehab and Nursing each month at 2:00 P.M. If you would like to participate, please be there at 1530 Middle Tennessee Boulevard at that time.

We also are continue our services at the Rutherford Memory Care on Wednesdays at 11:00 A.M. Everyone is welcome to participate in these programs.
Youth News  

This Wednesday, Rev. Tommy will be leading a discussion with the youth about decisions made regarding The Way Forward - come join us for some great insight into this important time in our church! The discussion will start at 6:15pm in the Youth Center.

We have normal youth programming for the next few weeks with some special topics and activities planned - we hope to see everyone there! We are also planning to set up some extra events in the next month or so, starting with a hiking day.

Looking ahead to the summer, we are beginning to develop details for our mission trip. This year, we will be doing a combined middle school and high school trip to wonderful Denver, Colorado. The dates are July 6-13. This promises to be a unique and fulfilling experience for all those who attend. More details and sign-ups will be available soon. In the meantime, feel free to ask an adult leader if there are any questions.

Finally, we NEED volunteers to sign up for providing dinner on Sunday nights. Thank you to all who have done so in the past - this is a tremendous help to our ministry. Checkout the youth website ( ) to sign up or talk to one of the adult leaders.
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
If you need financial assistance to help pay for the WNT meal,
please contact Rev. Martha Touchton.

6:00 – 7:15 p.m. WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAISE for Children
6:15 – 7:15 p.m. CLASSES AND GROUPS for Youth and Adults
New Adult Classes Coming March:
Podcasts as Spiritual Practice – Led by Julie King
Suicide Prevention Training – Led by Dr. Mani Hull
Exercising Your Gift of Leadership in Service to God – Dr. Jim Clardy

For more information, CLICK HERE to view the March 2019 WNT BROCHURE and Menus

Deep Blue Kids Observe Lent with Their Families
“Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”   
Mark 1:15

This month we enter the season of Lent, a time for preparing for the resurrection of Jesus on Easter. As we lead up to the holiest of days, your children will hear about the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. This month we begin with parables: the three “lost” parables (lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son), and the parable about the two debtors. All of these parables demonstrate God’s love and remind us that it is never too late to change our hearts and lives. Your children will then hear the stories of the Last Supper and of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane; both of these stories take place on the night of Jesus’ arrest. We take comfort in the knowledge that this is not the end of Jesus ‘ story!
Don’t Miss These Special SUNDAY MORNING Activities!
Sunday, March 3 rd We will be studying the Lost Parables.  Several “lost” items will be hidden in the Narthex at 9:30 a.m.; read Luke 15:3-10 to figure out what they are!  When you find one of the lost items, bring it to Rev. Touchton for a special prize! 

Sunday, March 10 th
• W ear Your Cedar Crest Camp T-Shirt to Church!!!

• 8:30/11:00 a.m. Worship - Children’s Coin Offering for Cedar Crest Camp Scholarships! 

Sunday, March 24 th - Children in Grades 2 - 5 will meet promptly at 9:45 a.m. for a 60-minute ESCAPE GAME around the Last Supper! This fun activity will include puzzles, riddles and clues to help unlock the Upper Room.  Bring a Friend and be on time (9:45!) in Room 214!
Save These Dates, Too!
Friday – Sunday, April 5–7 - 6th Grade Confirmation Retreat at Cedar Crest; Registration Due!

Saturday, April 20 th – St. Mark’s Easter Egg Hunt, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Lenten Family Prayer Fair! 
Sunday, March 10 th , 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Children, youth and their families are invited to get a jumpstart on Lent through interactive prayer stations, crafts, walking the labyrinth, and more!  We’ll begin together in the Narthex and return there at 6:00 p.m. for a closing prayer circle. All ages of children and youth are welcome.
LAST CALL for “Be Retreat” Registrations!
Eleven St. Mark’s Children and three adults are already registered for the BE Retreat!  

Transportation will be provided from St. Mark’s. The total cost is $65/person; a $25 scholarship will be provided for each St. Mark’s participant, making the cost per child $40. To register your child, please turn in your $40 check to Rev. Martha Touchton.
St. Mark's Lenten Study
The Gift of New Creation invites us to explore God’s saving and redeeming love through a study of the lectionary Bible readings for Lent and Easter. Key Scriptures call us to prepare and contemplate God’s restoration and new creation through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Through the readings, we hear the invitation to embrace God’s salvation and the new life offered to us through Christ.

Join us March 10 – April 21 as we explore these scriptures in worship and Adult Christian education, seeking opportunities to reflect on God’s redemptive action and to explore means of grace that help us move into new life in Christ.

Adult/Youth Teacher Luncheon
with Dr. Bill Mullins on The Gift of New Creation
Sunday, March 3 rd, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
St. Mark’s Banquet Hall

Enjoy good food, fellowship with one another and 
nurture in the Spirit as we prepare our hearts and minds 
for the upcoming Lenten series.

Lunch Provided!
RSVP to Martha Touchton by Wednesday, February 27
Menu: Cuban Sandwiches with Black Bean Soup   
Green Salad with Tortilla Chips and Mango Salsa, Brownies
Serene - 5 th Annual Women's Retreat
March 8 - 10, 2019
Beersheba Springs Assembly

St. Mark’s women are invited to register now for Tennessee Conference Women's Retreat. Our theme this year is Serene and we'll be reflecting on the Serenity Prayer. Come and stay for our traditional one night retreat. 

CLICK HERE for flyer and registration information.
T-Shirt Design Contest
St. Mark’s Inviting Ministries Team needs your help designing a cool, attractive t-shirt that our members will be proud to wear in the community! We would like the drawing to include our church building and/or steeple. Show your St. Mark’s pride with your original design! All proceeds from the t-shirt sales will go to the St. Mark’s Youth Mission Trip Fund. Win $100 and receive a Free T-Shirt with your winning design!

Deadline for submissions: Friday, March 1 st , 2019. For more information, contact Lisa Chappell or Rev. Martha Touchton. More info HERE.
In Other News...
Food Bank Needs - St. Mark's Food Bank needs donations of food, especially macaroni and cheese, cereal, spaghetti/pasta, and veggies.

View Our Current  Prayer List

Thank You Note -
St. Mark's UMC,

Thank you for the generous gift to the "Love Movement." We are glad that teens and their communities will benefit from this. It is special to our family and Adam's memory.

God's Blessings, the Love Family

See Our Full  Event Calendar

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