REAd below

The September Issue of The Central Call is complete on this page. (Scroll down for all the news.)

  • Dates to Remember
  • Annual Church-Wide Picnic
  • Flu Shots at CUMC
  • The MidWeek Forge
  • Administration and Finance
  • Volunteers Needed for LiveStreaming
  • Coffee With The Pastors
  • A Note from the Pastor
  • Central's Children's Center
  • Children and Family Ministry
  • Student Ministry
  • Senior Adult Ministry
  • Missions
  • Music Ministry
  • On-Call Pastors

If you would like to print a pdf version of The Central Call, click here.

Click here for the October printable birthday calendar and events schedule.

Click here for the September printable events schedule and birthday calendar.


1:00 p.m. - Prayer Shawl Ministry

[Meets weekly on Monday]

9:30 a.m. - Women's Tuesday Morning Bible Study

[Meets weekly]

Midweek Forge

[Meets every Wednesday Night in September/October]

5:00 p.m. - Wednesday Night Meal

6:00 p.m. Programs [Adults/Youth/Children]

11:30 a.m. - Lunch Bunch

[Meets every Friday in September/October]

September 20th

8:45 a.m. - CCC/Room Moms' Meeting

9:30 a.m. - NAMED UMW Meeting

September 23rd

1:00 p.m. - YOUTH "Fun at the Park" [North Hills]

September 24th

4:00 p.m. - SPRC Meeting

4:30 p.m. - Annual Church Picnic [Bonita Lakes]

September 27th

8:30 a.m. - CCC/Board Meeting

4:00 P.M. - Flu Shots at CUMC [1st Floor Office Area]

September 29th

8:30 a.m. - CCC/Dad's Day

Sunday Nights in October

[except Oct. 29th]

5:30 p.m. - Zone/Club 412/ Youth Worship

October  1st

Blessing of the Prayer Shawls [All three services]

10:30 a.m. - Girl Scouts/Spaghetti Fundraiser

12:00 p.m. - Interest Meeting/2018 Haiti Mission Trip

October 3rd

11:00 a.m. - XYZ

October 4th

9:00 a.m. - NAMED UMW

October 5th

11:00 a.m. - CCC Squealer's BBQ Fundraiser

October 8th

8:30 a.m. - Boy Scouts Popcorn Sale

October 22nd

10:30 a.m. - Coffee With The Pastors

5:00 p.m. - SPRC Meeting

October 29th

4:30 p.m. - Trunk or Treat

[No Children/Youth Programs]

central's annual church-WIDE picnic

Join us on Sunday, September 24th, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Bonita Lakes [Upper Lake Pavilion - Coots Crossing] for our Annual Church-Wide Picnic.  Feel free to come early to stroll around the lake or let the kids play on the playground. We will gather at the pavilion at 5:00 p.m. to eat; then we will continue with games and fellowship!

[No Sunday Night Programs for Children or Youth.]


Anderson Regional Medical Center will be at Central on Wednesday, September 27th, from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. to offer flu shots for anyone who is interested.  They will be set up on the first floor in the office area.  If you have a Medicare card or an acceptable insurance card, there will be no charge [please bring your card].  If you don’t have either card, there will be a $25 charge.


The MidWeek Forge, “where iron sharpens iron,” is our Wednesday night activity for adults.  

[Children and Students have their own opportunities. ]

Our evening begins with Supper at 5:00 p.m. for everyone!  

To Make Your Meal Reservation, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

6:00 p.m. - The MidWeek Forge

We will focus our tactical teaching around 14 questions that will challenge us as a follower of Jesus.  The questions are listed below.  [This week's question is highlighted in red.]

  1. Who are you? Really!
  2. What should I be doing? 
  3. What should I stop doing? 
  4. Where is my energy coming from?
  5. What is the greatest contribution that I bring to the community?
  6. What gauges should I be watching?
  7. What questions do I need to ask?
  8. Where am I damaged?
  9. Where is my focus?
  10. What do I really want?
  11. What does community mean to me?
  12. How will I follow?
  13. What is it that matters most to me?
  14. What will I do differently?


Please be advised that you will no longer receive your Statement of Giving each quarter. You will receive your End-of-Year Statement the first of January via email or mail. If you wish to view your contributions at any time, you may do so by signing in under your personal profile using ShelbyNext. Your profile information [username; password] was sent to you previously. If you do not have this information, please contact the church office and someone will be glad to assist you.


We have an outstanding team of seven volunteers [led by Odis Howze] who are LiveStreaming each of our three services on Sundays. We could use some additional LiveStream volunteers, especially for the 9:45 Worship Service. This requires some moderate computer ability [though nothing special), and we will provide the training you would need to be comfortable in doing this. This involves your commitment to one Sunday each month for one of the services. The time commitment would only be for that service and ten minutes before it begins. If you would be willing to serve God in this important way, please contact Bob Peden (601-938-7868) or Odis Howze at (601-889-5108).



10:30 a.m. - Wesley Room

The Pastors and staff of Central offer Coffee with the Pastors to give inquirers the opportunity to come together in a small group setting and learn more about Central UMC, its mission, Methodism, and membership expectations. Also, it is a time when we can learn more about you and your family. For those that are attending, there is no obligation to make a commitment, however, you may join at the conclusion of the "coffee" and be baptized if needed. 

"What is God's will for us at Central?"  

As I begin my fifth year as the Lead Pastor of Central, I want to thank you for the love and support that you have shown me. You cared for my family during my deployment and you have embodied on a daily basis the IronMaker ethos.

It is time for us to cast our eyes to the future of Central. Over the next year, I challenge all of us to ask the question "What is God's will for us at Central?"  This is a deeply spiritual question that asks God to direct the path of our community of faith and to show us how we are to shape the ministries and focus of Central.

I also ask that we remain faithful to the task of stewardship as we financially support Central and minister to Meridian and the world. I firmly believe that our greatest days are before us and that life is truly better connected.

Rev. John Branning


During the summer, Central’s Children’s Center got a makeover!

A big “thank you” to everyone who worked so diligently

to have the work completed for the

beginning of our 2017-2018 school year.


If you would like information about Central's Children's Center or would like a tour of their facility,
please contact:  Glenda Thomas (Center’s Director) at (601) 483-8502.




 (For more information and updates on Children’s activities at Central,

visit our Central UMC Children’s page on Facebook and send us a friend request.)

For additional information contact Central's Director of Children Ministry, Sabrina Williams at

Activities for Children K - 5th Grade:

  • 1st -5th Grade Rotation Sunday School

The children meet in Central Park [Children’s Floor] every Sunday morning at 9:40 for “gathering time;” then at 10 a.m., each class goes to their designated workshop.

  • Wednesday Night Programming for K-5th Grade

Dinner: 5:00-6:00 p.m. [Fellowship Hall-reservations required]

Lesson: 6:00-7:00 p.m. [10th Street Gym - Power Up Kids]

  • Sunday Nights [The Zone K-3rd Grade/Club 412 4th & 5th Grade]

Dinner: 5:30 p.m. [Kitchen & Stage in the 11th Street Gym]

Lesson: 6:00 p.m. Zone (Skills/Drills)/Club 412 (Small Groups)

additional opportunities for children k-5th Grade

Children's Music & Liturgical Dance [with Caroline Carnes]

The elementary children will perform their programs on Sunday evening, December 18, 2017.

  • Music Practice will be held during regular meeting times.
  • Liturgical Dance Practice will begin in November.

      Bible presentation      

Our first-grade students were presented with Bibles during the 8:30 & 10:55 Worship Services on Sunday, August 6th. This is a special time in the life of these children, and it is also a reminder to the parents and congregation of their promise to continue this spiritual journey with them.

    Blaise Barefield               Weston Keith     

    Claire Borders                 Savanna Kennedy

    Jasper Branning              Audrey Lee             

    Callyn Combs                  Cassidy Myers              

    Knox Davis                      Max Myers

    Vivian Dowling                Caitlin Quigley               

    Brendan Goggans           Sadie Reed

    Charlie Hooper                Cade Walker

    Drake Joiner

Student ministry 

Our Mission Focus for this month is the District Ramp MinistryThe youth will be collecting funds for this mission outreach that constructs wheelchair ramps for those who are in need.



  • Sunday School:  Sunday mornings at 9:45 on the Youth Floor
  • Sunday Night Worship:  Resumes September 10, 2017, from 5:40 - 7:00 p.m.   The kick-off series is, “Oh My Word: Understanding the Power of Scripture.” 
  • Wednesday Night Small Groups:  We will continue with the study of the book of Ephesians.


Want more details?

Sign up for the Weekly Youth Email Newsletter by emailing

Benji Riddle at or visiting our webpage by clicking here.

If you would like to join the REMIND texting group, text @cumcyouthp to 81010.

Fifth-Grade Students move up to youth ministry

On Sunday, August 6th, Youth Ministry welcomed fourteen excited fifth-grade students to the Youth Floor to become a part of their ministry group.

Colton Bohl

Kristopher Booker

Lilliana Burkes

Sara Scott Davis

Jordyn Eldridge

Jayden Fedden

Caroline Hodges

Nicholas Lewis

Meredith Mitchell

Emery Nelson

Sarah Dudley Reed

Jake Rodgers

Lachlan Thornton

Braxton Whitaker


M28 2017 has come and gone for CUMC Youth Ministry Group.  On July 6-9, our youth leader, Benji Riddle, nine chaperones, and thirty-one youth traveled to Lake Junaluska for a spirit-filled adventure. The youth had an opportunity to grow and develop their relationship with God while building life-long relationships with other campers.  They also had a chance to enjoy exciting activities such as whitewater rafting, the slide rock, etc.   


Congratulations to our 2017 Confirmands.  On Sunday, April 9, 2017, Central welcomed 12 young disciples as full members as they professed their faith in Christ and expressed their desire to unite with our congregation.

Emme Leigh Boman

Addison Hays Clodfelter

Kailey Nicole Dowling

Jay Alexander Fruge

Spence Douglas Hanegan

Anne Preston McRae

Rachel Virginia Mason

Cooper David Owen

Mason Roy Parker

Jacob Cochran Russell

Will Collins Thames

Anna Lacy Ward


Central's 2017 high school graduates

Congratulations to our 2017 high school graduates.  A Baccalaureate Service/Banquet for our graduates was held on Wednesday, May 3rd.  Our graduates are:

  • Madison Anderson [Lamar]
  • Caden Clodfelter [Lamar]
  • Kayla Feist [West Lauderdale]
  • Cassie Hines [Meridian High]
  • Wes McRae [Lamar ]
  • Matthew Moore [Newton County Academy]
  • Caroline Parker [Lamar]
  • Heather Roberts [Meridian High]
  • Kamryn Shields [West Lauderdale]
  • Brad Stokes [West Lauderdale]
  • Tate Thompson [Lamar]
  • Hannah Thornton [Lamar]
  • Madi Thornton [Lamar]


SAM is is a group of 50+ senior adults from Central UMC, Meridian, MS. 

Our goal is to fellowship with our hearts focused on the Lord.
Everyone is welcome to join us!



You can stay connected to our Senior Adult Ministry by visiting our new Facebook page “Central UMC’s SAM.”  Choose “Join Group” and a request will be sent for you to become a member. We have almost 100 members to date!



Lunch Bunch is a group of Senior Adults who meet each Friday at 11:30 a.m. (unless notified otherwise).  They meet in the Adult Activities Room [3rd Floor] for fellowship and a meal.

Meal cost: $5

(We need volunteers to help decorate tables and occasionally prepare a meal.

If you are interested, please contact Dennis Gossett.)



XYZ - Extra Years of Zest

This group of Senior Adults meet the first Tuesday of each month (unless notified otherwise) starting with an exciting program.  After the program, they enjoy a meal together which is only $6.

You do not have to be a senior adult to attend.  Everyone is welcome!   If you wish to attend, please call the church office at 601-693-1521. [Reservations Required]



On May 20th, 2017, Central’s Mission Team [Richard Beck, Kent Partridge, & Rev. Sidney Lavene] arrived in Thoman, Haiti. Richard stated, “What an amazing journey we encountered! On Sunday morning, the people of Thoman welcomed us with opened arms to worship with them. The smiles on the children’s faces were amazing as they interacted with us during the church service.”

That afternoon, the team took a small hike up to the top of a small mountain to see the beauty the country offered. Richard said, “As we traveled to Haiti, we had no idea of the breathtaking views that we would encounter. But despite the outer beauty of the country, we also saw the inner struggle of its natives.”

The country has very limited access to food and healthy drinking water. While the team was there, they had the privilege of making water filters for several of the people in the local community. This was a great opportunity for them, because it gave them a chance to truly leave their mark in this area. The team also had the opportunity to help with building tables and chairs for some of the villagers. Again, this was another chance to leave their mark for many years to come.

Richard said, “The people of Haiti are wonderful people. They have very little of life’s basic resources, yet, they always seemed to be so happy. This shows that if you have hope and faith, God will show his light. God blessed us by introducing us to the people of Thoman. We can only hope and pray that our meeting them was just a tenth of the impact they had on our hearts and minds. We ask that you keep the Mission teams who are involved and the people of Haiti (especially Thoman) in your prayers as wonderful things are happening in Haiti.”


If you are interested in using your musical gifts and talents in any of our three worship services, please contact Tim Wise or Bob Peden.



   September 22-24    John Branning             769-218-7704

   Sept. 29 - Oct. 1      Benji Riddle                 601-685-8133

   October 6-8             Bob Peden                  601-938-7868

   October 13-15         Dennis Gossett           919-339-5303

   October 20-22         John Branning             769-218-7704

   October 27-29         Benji Riddle                 601-685-8133

   November 3-5          Bob Peden                  601-938-7868

   November 10-12      Dennis Gossett          919-339-5303

   November 17-19      John Branning            769-218-7704

   November 24-26      Benji Riddle                601-685-8133

   December 1-3          Bob Peden                 601-938-7868

   December 8-10        Dennis Gossett          919-339-5303

   December 15-17      John Branning            769-218-7704

   December 22-24      Benji Riddle                601-685-8133

   December 29-31      Bob Peden                  601-938-7868