The newsletter for St. Mark's UMC in Murfreesboro, TN
"The Messenger"  Online Newsletter
January 29, 2019
From the Pastor

By now, you have probably heard that in 2016 The Council of Bishops called a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held February 23-26, 2019. During this time, delegates will receive and act on a report from the Commission on the Way Forward. This commission was authorized by General Conference 2016 and appointed by the Council of Bishops to examine the paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options to strengthen the unity of the Church.

The Council of Bishops is encouraging all United Methodists to pause and pray in the days leading up this special session. Specifically, they're asking us to pause and pray each day from 2:23 to 2:26 (a.m or p.m). If this time is not convenient for you, choose to pray at another time, but the council felt praying specifically at this time (which represents the dates of the conference) would be a helpful, effective, and unifying discipline for all United Methodists.

During the first minute, we're invited to pray this prayer of adoration: Good and great God, we recognize and celebrate that you are loving, kind, and faithful. You are everywhere in the world and beyond. You are also as close as our next breath. With John Wesley, we rejoice knowing, "Best of all, you are with us."

During the second minute, we're invited to pray this prayer of thanks: God of grace, we thank you that you hear us when we pray and are ever ready and able to act in ways beyond anything we could ask or imagine. Thank you for our brothers and sisters around the world, and especially for those who have offered to serve by attending the special-called General Conference. Thank you for ordering our steps and for preparing a way.

During the third minute, we're invited to pray this prayer of confession: Forgiving God, we confess that we have allowed fear and distrust to place distance between us and our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. Forgive us for making idols of our own thoughts, voices, and opinions. Thank you for forgiving us and for your perfect love that casts out all fear.

During the fourth minute, we're invited to pray this prayer of asking: God of peace and wisdom, from this time forward, may we walk with you in trust and peace, and with our brothers and sisters in the love and unity you desire. May we truly sing together in harmony a song of praise that draws all to you. Even now, may you bless those who will attend the special-called General Conference, assuring them of your love, filling them with your wisdom, preparing them with your peace. May they and we become more sensitive to the voice of your Holy Spirit, so that all we do will please you and bring you glory.

In closing, I invite you to pray for our denomination and also my friends and colleagues from the Tennessee Conference who have been elected to attend General Conference: Jim Allen (laity), Harriet Bryan (clergy), Holly Neal (laity), Jacob Armstrong (clergy), Connie Clark (laity), Stephen Handy (clergy), George Brown (laity), and Jackson Henry (clergy). If you wish to express your views, ask a question, or communicate a prayer, you can email the delegation at

Rev. Tommy Ward
Senior Pastor

The SAGES Ministry Team will meet in Room 303-305 on Monday, February 11 at 9:30 a.m.

The SAGES Valentine Party is February 15 beginning at 11:30 A.M. The cost for the meal is $12.00.  Rev. Mary Dicken will provide the music for the occasion. 
“Look for the Book” in the office and sign up.

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

Several other trips and activities are planned. These include 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, and Granny Fishes . 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. 
Youth News  

This weekend is Warmth in Winter! For those who have signed up, meet at the church at 4:50 on Friday afternoon for a departure time of 5:00 to the Opryland hotel! Be sure to eat dinner beforehand. We will spend the rest of the weekend in worship, fellowship, and community at the wonderful Opryland hotel. We should be back to St. Mark’s Sunday afternoon around 1:00PM. There will not be any youth that evening, but the choir does plan to meet right after getting back to the church. This year’s Warmth in Winter promises to be a blast for everyone!

Following the Warmth in Winter weekend, the youth will be serving dinner for the Way of Hope at St. Mark’s on Thursday, February 7th. We will need people to show up a little after 4:00 PM that day to start preparing the meal. More details will come soon. The last time the youth led this ministry, we received several positive comments from church staff and Way of Hope participants alike, so let’s keep this good service going!

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.

Finally, we are advertising for a summer intern position for the Youth Ministry the next few weeks. The position will start in late May and finish in early August, and it is generally targeted for college students. This is a wonderful opportunity for college students to get some leadership experience while simultaneously growing in faith. If you are or know anyone interested in applying, please look for the position announcement or talk to one of the church staff or youth leaders. Full details on the position will be available in the job announcement.
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
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 Beginning in February:
Photography: There is More to your DSLR than just Point and Shoot
 – led by Noel Hinote

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

Annual Youth Chili Cook-off 
The Annual Youth Chili Cook-off will be on February 10th (11:00-1:00 p.m.) to raise money for the Youth Mission trips this summer. 

How can you help? Be a contestant and enter your favorite chili recipe in the cook-off, there is no entry fee. Each entry is asked to provide one crock pot of chili along with any accompanying fixings needed, and decorate their table to go with their chili. Simply e-mail Matt Marlatt at or sign-up at THIS LINK.

If cooking isn’t for you, come and enjoy tasting a variety of chili for only $5.00. Vote your favorite(s) by donation and ballot. There will be hotdogs and deserts for additional purchase.
The Basics: A New Sunday Morning
Learning Opportunity!
Beginning this Sunday, St. Mark’s offer a short-term elective class for adults especially for newcomers and others who are not already attending a weekly Christian Education class. The four topics covered will be:
2/3 - The Trinity – Rev. Michael O’Bannon
2/10 - The Scriptures and Gospels – Rev. Mike Waldrop
2/17 - The Church – Beth Morris
2/24 - This Life and the Next - Dr. Jim Clardy

These discussions will help us learn the essentials of our faith and engage the world. The course will meet Sundays, 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. in Room 1204 (upstairs behind the Sanctuary). An elevator is available at the Sanctuary entrance if needed.

We want to invite you to participate in the class! Please let us know in the church office (615-893-3455 or ) if you will be participating so we can ensure we have space and materials for everyone. 
Pickle Ball at St. Mark’s! 
FRIDAYS, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m .
St. Mark’s Recreation Center
Please enter through
the Banquet Hall Door
near the Playground.

For more information,
or to reserve your spot, contact
Meg Van Patten (615) 956-9676)
or Patti Daws (615) 971-9682 
Deep Blue Kids Celebrate Family Wisdom
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being,
and all your strength.” 
Deuteronomy 6:5

This February in Age 2 – Grade 5 Christian Education, we are exploring Family Wisdom and how we learn from being a part of a family. The Bible contains wonderful stories about fascinating people, but the Bible is more than just stories! The Bible contains wisdom that can help us discover how God wants us to live individually and as families.  In February, our children will be learning about how families remember God, celebrate traditions, grow in faith together and share wisdom.  We hope to see your children in Sunday school!
February 3 rd Is “Electronics Day” For Grades 2 - 5
Sunday, February 3rd, children in Grades 2 – 5 are invited to bring an electronic device to Sunday school so we can explore the Deep Blue Adventures App, which reinforces our Sunday morning lessons through games, videos and puzzles. The children are asked to bring phones or other wifi-enabled devices. It will be helpful if the “Deep Blue Adventures App” is already loaded on the device so we can investigate it together! 
February 17 th Is Family Photo Day! 
Sunday, February 17 th, as we focus on Family Faith, St. Mark’s children and their families will have the opportunity to have an informal photo taken by photographer Noel Hinote. A special Photo Booth will be open in the Narthex 9:30 – 9:45 and 10:45 – 11:00 a.m.
The Big Game Solution!!
Let the Boy Scouts of St. Mark’s Troop 398 take care of your cooking on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3 rd . We’ve smoked our own pork and turkey for 20 years! Your order will be packaged and ready for pick up from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall on Super Bowl Sunday. Our prices remain the same as last year. You can choose from pulled pork $9/pound and/or sliced turkey $10/pound (order extra and freeze it for a treat later on!) Whole Boston Butts are available for $40 and boneless Turkey half-breasts for $35. Ribs are $15/slab. To complete your feast, we offer 16 ounce sides of Cole slaw and baked beans for $4 each. Back by popular demand are our sauces: 12 oz Hummingbird (mild) and Screaming Eagle (spicy) for $5. 

Please remember to place your orders in advance, since only limited quantities will be available for sale on February 3 rd . Tickets are currently on sale by troop members Aaron Brunner, Jesse & David Hofer, Connor Ott and Nathan Daniel. Scouts will have tickets for sale in the Narthex on Wed. nights and on Sundays thru January 28 th . Order forms are available HERE or in the church office or you can also place an order by calling or emailing Scoutmaster Mike Warren (615) 473-7076 or .
St. Mark's UMC Night at MTSU
MTSU Lady Raiders present St. Mark's UMC Night! Saturday, March 2 nd, 2019. Game Time: 5:00 pm. All seats for St. Mark’s United Methodist will be grouped together for a day of FUN, FAMILY, and BASKETBALL!!! Payment must be given to St. Mark’s United Methodist – att. Pam Forrest. Payment is due no later than 2/20/19. Tickets will be distributed following the deadline! See the FLYER HERE.
In Other News...
View Our Current  Prayer List

St. Mark’s Seeking Summer Intern in Youth Ministry - St. Mark’s is seeking applicants for a 35 hr/wk internship in youth ministry that will be available from mid May to early August.  Applicants must have completed their freshman year of college.  A full job description is available  HERE. To apply, please submit a letter of interest and resume, including dates of availability, to Rev. Martha Touchton, by Friday, February 15th.

Pancake Breakfast at the Wesley Foundation at MTSU. February 9, 7:00—10:00, $5.00 per person (purchase at the door). The morning includes a Breakfast Battle!  Local Pastors will be offering a taste of their favorite breakfast items. You vote (with your donation) on who is the best morning cook! Come out and support your clergy.

Sunday, March 10th – Family Lenten Prayer Fair 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. for children, youth and their families. 
Saturday, April 20th – St. Mark’s Easter Egg Hunt, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Red Bird Christmas Thank You - Thank you so much to everyone who adopted our 50 Red Bird Kids this year to help them have a wonderful Christmas! A special note of thanks to the Quilting Bees for their beautiful quilts, the Brave Women of Faith Circle for their gift bags and stockings, and all of the wrapping elves!!

See Our Full  Event Calendar

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