REAd below

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

  • A Note From The Pastor
  • Goodbye to the Crabtrees
  • Family Legacy Retreat
  • Church-Wide Shrimp Boil
  • The Mid-Week Forge
  • Pentecost
  • Dates to Remember
  • Administration and Finance
  • Coffee With The Pastors
  • Mission Projects
  • Central's Children's Center
  • Children's Ministry
  • Student Ministry
  • Senior Adult Ministry
  • Music Ministry
  • On-Call Pastors

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

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

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

"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

Saying goodbye to the Crabtrees

Over the past two years, we at Central have been blessed to have Jonathan and Kristina Crabtree as servant ministers among us.  They have a passion for connecting people to God and making followers of Jesus.  This passion has led them to offer themselves in a new path of ministry as they seek to fulfill God's call on their lives through church revitalization and new church development.

The Bishop and Cabinet have identified a ministry opportunity and need that requires Jonathan and Kristina's gifts and graces.   It is with sadness we see them transition from Central to Asbury and Glendale UMC.  However, we know that God will use them to grow the Kingdom of God.

Over the next few weeks, please take a moment and pray for them and for Central as we begin the task of seeking a new Director of Youth Ministry.

Rev. John Branning



If you were not able to attend the retreat that was originally scheduled for the latter part of April, you have another chance!  Our Family Legacy Retreat has been postponed until August 25th - 27thWhether you are a family with young children or teens, this weekend, at Timber Creek Camp in Pulaski, MS, (outside of Forest) is for you.

Because we strongly believe in this time of learning, coming together, and worshiping, this weekend is provided at the cost of $35 per family member, with Central paying the rest of the cost.  Make this a priority event for your family.  You will be glad you did!

Registration is non-refundable.  If you have any questions, please contact Sabrina Williams.


Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 5:00 p.m.


Soule' Steam Works

Tickets are now on sale in the Crossing for our church-wide Shrimp Boil.  We will have a water slide, a water activity for younger ones, as well as a time of fellowship, and lots of shrimp for everyone.  If you do not eat shrimp and would like to special order chicken, you must do so when you purchase your ticket.

If you have joined our church family in the past year, you will be receiving a special invitation to be our guest for this afternoon of fun!

This is also the last church-wide event where we will have an opportunity to visit with Revs. Jonathan and Kristina Crabtree before they take their next appointment in Petal, MS!

Once again, we say “THANK YOU” to the Jim McRae family and the Soule’ Museum Board of Directors who have been gracious in opening the doors of Soule’ Steam Works for an afternoon of fun and fellowship for Central!


Wednesday nights

5:00 PM - supper

6:00 PM - tHE Forge for all ages

The MidWeek Forge, “where iron sharpens iron,” is our Wednesday night activity for adults. (Children and students have their own opportunities.)  



Sunday, June 4th, is the Day of Pentecost this year.  “Pente” refers to the fact that this special day in the church year is fifty days after Easter.  The old Judaic calendar celebrated Passover which is connected through the gospels with Jesus’s death and resurrection.  They also celebrated Pentecost which was fifty days afterward.

Acts Chapter 2 tells us that it was the day of Pentecost when the disciples had gathered, ten days following Jesus’s ascension into heaven, when the Holy Spirit descended upon them, as a sound like a rush of wind and with what appeared to be tongues of flame over their heads.   This event transformed them from scared, hiding believers, into followers who were not afraid to tell anyone about the life-changing power of Jesus Christ, who had come into the world as the Son of God, been crucified, and had risen from the dead.   Because of this change in the disciples, we consider that first Day of Pentecost to be the beginning of the church, and the church has marked this as a special holy day throughout the centuries.


May 29th

Memorial Holiday


June 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

11:30 a.m. - Lunch Bunch

June 11th

Time: 5:00 p.m. - Shrimp Boil

Soule Steam Works


June 18th

10:00 a.m. - VBS Setup

June 19th - 23rd

VBS Week




College students who are members of Central UMC are eligible to apply for the following scholarships.  All scholarships are paid directly to the school of choice for the applicant. 

  • L.O. Todd Memorial Scholarship:  Church or school related vocation
  • Walter Henderson Memorial Scholarship:  Ministerial vocation
  • Birdie Brooks Memorial Scholarship:  Church related vocation
  • Crooks Memorial Scholarship:  No vocational restriction
  • Virginia Phillips Scholarship:  No vocational restriction
  • H. Lowry Rush, Jr. Scholarship:  Medical related vocation
  • Bob Rivers Memorial Scholarship:  No vocational restriction

Scholarships are awarded by the Scholarship Committee of Central UMC and are based on character, commitment to Central, and need.  Applications are available in the church office.  The deadline to receive applications is June 16, 2017.



REMINDER:  Please do not block or park in the drive-through on 11th Street next to the gym.


MAY 21, 2017

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. 



MAY 20-26, 2017

As a community of faith, let us be in prayer for our 2017 Mission Team while they are in Haiti.  Our team:  Richard Beck, Kent Partridge, and Rev. Sidney Lavene.

Prayer cards are available on the 2nd Floor in the Crossing and at the Welcome Station for you to take home so you and your family may continue to pray for our mission team.  


Thank you for putting your faith into action by contributing to the challenge set by Bishop Swanson for the Mississippi Conference to help save lives in Africa from malaria.

Because of your generosity, we have surpassed our goal of $10,000 [1,000 mosquito nets]. Our current toal is $10,417.45.  We will continue to accept donations through June 1, 2017.

Again, thank you for being a part of this mission.


What’s Happening in the Children’s Center:

  • Plans are to paint the preschool area during the summer. Due to this maintenance, we will not offer a Summer Program this year.
  • We still have a few openings for the Fall Program. If you are interested or know someone who is interested, please call Glenda Thomas [office] (601) 693-0830.




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

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


JUNE 19-23, 2017

VBS signup is underway for this year’s Vacation Bible School for children who will be four-years-old [by August 1st] through students who have completed 5th grade.  To register or volunteer for VBS, please click here.  Please register as soon as possible to ensure we have enough teachers, craft items, snacks, etc. for all students.  (If you are volunteering, we will have both a nursery and a special “three-year-old class” available. Please email Sabrina at if needed.) 

We are also in need of volunteers prior to the week of VBS, as the entire 2nd floor of Central will be transformed into Rome, as we study the Apostle Paul and the Underground Church. We are currently in need of help with props and decorations as well as MANY hands for setup on Sunday, June 18th , and the week of Vacation Bible School.

Please begin to prayerfully consider your role in this year’s VBS.  If you can help in any way, please take a moment to write down your contact information (at our sign-up station in the Crossing) or simply see Erin Honeycutt, Cynthia Williams, or phone Sabrina Williams [601-479-2178].

There will be several Family Events throughout the summer months:

  • bowling
  • skating
  • game night at Central
  • Splashdown

Stay tuned...dates for these events will be posted on the church web-site and will be included in our Daily Updates within the next couple of months!

Student ministry 

Want more details? Sign up for the Weekly

Youth Email Newsletter by emailing

Jonathan at or

visiting our webpage



  • Sunday School : Sunday mornings at 9:45 on the Youth Floor.
  • Sunday Nights:  WE WILL RESUME IN THE FALL.  
  • Wednesday Night Small Groups: WE WILL RESUME IN THE FALL.  Don't miss this time designed to have real conversations about real struggles and victories in life led by a trained small group facilitator.

The Student Ministry group [6th - 12th grade] is looking forward to their trip to M28 Camps in Lake Junaluska, NC, from July 6th - 9th . The final balance [$100] is due by June 1st.  Payment can be submitted through the church office. 


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.

They meet in the Adult Activities Room [3rd Floor] for fellowship and a meal.

Meal cost: $5



XYZ - Extra Years of Zest

This group of Senior Adults meet the first Tuesday of each month starting with an exciting program.  After the program, we 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.



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.

SANCTUARY CHOIR:  Please contact Tim Wise to register for the Sanctuary Choir Retreat that is tentatively set for July 15, 2017.  This is a great opportunity to worship, bond, and it is a wonderful opportunity for new members to join. 



   May 26 - 28             John Branning             769-218-7704

   June 2 - 4                 Dennis Gossett          919-339-5303

   June 9 -11                Jonathan Crabtree      601-831-8280

   June 16 - 18             John Branning            769-218-7704

   June 23 - 25             Bob Peden                 601-938-7868

   June 30 - July 2        Dennis Gossett          919-339-5303

   July 7 - 9                  John Branning            769-218-7704   

   July 14 - 16              Bob Peden                 601-938-7868

   July 21 - 23              Dennis Gossett          919-339-5303

   July 28 - 30              John Branning            769-218-7704  

   August 4 - 6             Bob Peden                  601-938-7868

   August 11 - 13         Dennis Gossett           919-339-5303    

   August 18 - 20         John Branning             769-218-7704     

   August 25 - 27         Bob Peden                  601-938-7868