REAd below

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

  • Dates to Remember
  • Office Schedule for the Holidays
  • The Wonders of Christmas [presented by Central's Worship Bands]
  • Behold Him! [presented by the Sanctuary Choir]
  • Simply Christmas [presented by the Children]
  • Christmas Caroling for Everyone
  • The Very Best Gift [presented by Central's Children's Center]
  • Holiday Events for the Entire Family [Downtown Christmas Parade - Advent Fair ]
  • Christmas Eve - Morning Worship Schedule
  • Christmas Eve - Candlelight Service
  • ShelbyNext  
  • The MidWeek Forge
  • Administration and Finance
  • Volunteers Needed - Help a Student
  • Coffee With The Pastors
  • A Note from the Pastor
  • Central's Children's Center
  • Children and Family Ministry
  • Student Ministry
  • Senior Adult Ministry
  • Missions
  • Prayer Shawl Ministry
  • Central's UMW
  • Music Ministry
  • On-Call Pastors

If you would like to print a pdf version of The Central Call for

December/January, click here.

November, click here.

Click here for the January printable birthday calendar.

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

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


10:00 a.m. - Easy Chair Yoga

1:00 p.m. - Prayer Shawl Ministry

[Meets weekly on Monday - Will not meet December 25th]

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

[Meets weekly - Will not meet December 19th & 26th]

11:30 a.m. - Lunch Bunch

[Meets every Friday]

(Will not meet November 24th)

Sunday Nights in November

(Final Fall Meeting November 19th)

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

November 19th

5:00 p.m. - Executive Board Meeting

November 23rd

11:30 a.m. - Central Family Thanksgiving Dinner

November 29th

8:45 a.m. - CCC Board Meeting

11:30 a.m. - Lunch Bunch

[Meets every Friday]

(Will not meet December 29th)

December 2nd

5:30 p.m. - Downtown Christmas Parade

[Central will open doors at 5:00 p.m.]

December 3rd

4:00 p.m. - Advent Fair

December 5th

11:00 a.m. - XYZ

December 6th & 20th


December 10th

5:30 p.m. - Children's Christmas Program "Simply Christmas"

5:30 p.m. - Youth Christmas Party

6:30 p.m. - Christmas Caroling

December 17th

5:30 p.m. - Zone/Club 412 Christmas Party

December 24th

Candlelight Christmas Eve Services

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

December 25th

11:30 - Central Church Family Christmas Dinner

December 25th - January 1st


11:30 a.m. - Lunch Bunch

[Meets every Friday in January]

10:00 a.m. - Easy Chair Yoga

1:00 p.m. - Prayer Shawl Ministry

[Meets weekly on Monday - Will not meet January 15th]

Midweek Forge


5:00 p.m. - Wednesday Night Meal

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

January 15th


Sunday Nights in January


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

The Wonders of Christmas

The Praise Band, the CONNECT Band, and others will present an explosion of Contemporary Christian Christmas music and inspiring readings backed by inspiring video and lighting. As we have done in the past, this will be held during the 8:30 and 9:45 Sunday morning worship services on December 10th.

This year, we are adding a second presentation of this worship experience on Monday evening, December 11th. The primary reason for doing this is to reach out to the surrounding communities. Those who are members of other churches can be inspired by this event without missing their own Sunday morning worship services. This is being publicized by television, newspaper, and through social media, but we also need the members of Central to help get the word out about this exciting opportunity. Please invite your friends and neighbors so they can make this a new Christmas tradition for their family. 

Behold Him!

We invite you to join us on Sunday, December 17th, during the 10:55 worship service. The Sanctuary Choir and Holiday Orchestra will present "Behold Him!" Scripture will be read, and carols will be sung. Focus your preparations not on yourself but on Christ. Come and adore him, Christ the Lord! 

Join the children of Central for a Christmas Program “Simply Christmas” at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, December 10th, as they remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. Amid all the hurriedness and often overkill of the season, come be with us as we are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas - simple - yet, profound [found in Luke Chapter 2 - the birth of a baby in a manger who would come to save us all].

Immediately following the program, there will be cookies and a hot chocolate bar.  Please stay and fellowship with us and then join us as we go caroling! 

Let's Go Caroling

After the Children's Christmas Program on December 10th - 5:00 p.m., we would like for you to stay for refreshments; then join us as we gather to go spread the Christmas spirit through caroling.

We will split up into “caroling” groups and leave the church at approximately 6:15 p.m. 

Central's Children's Center

Christmas Program

Everyone is invited to our Christmas Program on Wednesday, December 13th, at 10:00 a.m. in the 11th Street Gym. The Program is entitled “The Very Best Gift” and will be performed by our three-and-four-year-old classes with a special introduction by the one-and-two-year-old classes.

The Downtown Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, December 2nd, at 5:30 p.m.  Once again, we [Central] will open our doors [at 5:00 p.m.] to the community during the parade.  We will be serving hot chocolate, soup, and popcorn.  There will be train rides and a visit with Santa for the children.  We will also be showing the SEC Championship Game on the big screen in the Fellowship Hall for the older group.  This is a great time of fun and fellowship for everyone.  As always, if you can volunteer in any way, please contact:  Sabrina Williams at

advent fair

Sunday, December 3rd

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Come and join us on Sunday, December 3rd, from 4-6: p.m. in the 11th Street Gym.  There will be several craft tables, cookies to decorate, and lots of fun & fellowship for ALL AGES. [Be sure to bring a friend with you to enjoy all the fun!]  We will also have nachos [with all the delicious toppings], chili, hot chocolate, and cider.  You are encouraged to bring a finger food to share if you would like.


We also need volunteers to help with setup, work at a craft table, help with clean-up, or to bring sugar cookies for the decorating table.  If you need more information or are willing to help in any way, please contact Sabrina Williams at].

shelbynext mobile

For an online instructional video for the apps listed, click on the link below:

You may also call the church office (601-693-1521) if you need additional help.


    To access the ShelbyNext Membership app, follow the instructions below:

    1. In your App store search for "ShelbyNext" 
    2. Download and install the "ShelbyNext | Membership" app
    3. Open the ShelbyNext Membership app
    4. In place of "domain" insert "cumcmdn" 
    5. In the Name field insert your name First.Last   (Notice that there are no spaces but that there is a period between the first name and last name.)
    6. If you know your password insert it here otherwise click "forgot password?" 
    7. You will receive an email with a random password
    8. Insert that password in the field  (You will probably want to change that password to one you can remember.) 

    If this does not work, then you may not have entered your name as we have it on file. (Generally, your first name is your preferred name in Shelby.)

  • Give using the mobile app

    To access the ShelbyNext Giving app, follow the instructions below:

    1. In your App store search for "ShelbyNext"
    2. Download and install the ShelbyNext | Giving app
    3. You will need to establish an account the first time with your credit card or bank account information. 

    You can then use the app to make donations to any of Central's funds, even using the other field to specify a fund that is not listed.

  • "Central methodist community" APP

    You may also want to download our “Central Community” app. This app will give you more detailed information about life at Central. To download the app, in your app store search for "Central Community" and install the app. You may need to narrow the search further by adding either "Methodist" and/or "Meridian."

the forge

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

Our final meal and MidWeek Forge/Programming for the fall will end on November 15th.

We will resume on January 10, 2018.


JUST A REMINDER 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.

Help a Student!

Poplar Springs Elementary School is in need of volunteers to work with 3rd-grade students one hour per week.  You must be willing to take and pay for a background check [$37] through the Meridian Public School District.  For more information, please contact Clair Huff at (601) 481-1029. 



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


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.


Children's Center's Events For November - January

November 17th

Thanksgiving Parties [1/2-yr.-old classes]

November 20th - 24th

Holiday - Thanksgiving/School Closed

November 27th - 30th
10:30 a.m. - Practice for CCC Christmas Program

November 29th
8:45 a.m. - CCC Board Meeting

Dec. 5th

12:30 p.m. - Teachers’  Luncheon


Dec. 13th

 10:30 a.m. - Christmas Program


Dec. 15th

 9:00 a.m. -  Polar Express/3-yr-olds

December 16, 2017 - January 3, 2018

Holiday - Christmas & New Year/School Closed

Jan. 12th

 8:30 a.m. -  Movie Day/3-yr-olds

8:30 a.m. - Muffin with Moms/4-yr-olds


Jan. 15th

 CLOSED - MLK Holiday


Jan. 31st

 8:30 a.m. - Board Meeting




 (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.

Student ministry 


  • Sunday School:  Sunday mornings at 9:45 on the Youth Floor
  • Sunday Night Worship:  5:40 - 7:00 p.m. - Final night for the fall is November 19th. 
  • Wednesday Night Small Groups:  Final night for the fall is November 15th.


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.

upcoming events for our youth

  • december 3rd - 4:00 p.m.

    Please see Mrs. Sabrina to sign up to help with craft tables, food, and/or cleanup.

  • December 3rd - 10:30 a.M.

    parents' meeting

    [for parents of sixth graders]

  • december 10th - youth christmas parties

    Students: Bring a gift for Dirty Santa ($15 max)

    Parents:    Look for an email to sign up to bring party food

    • Middle School  

              5:00 - 6:30 p.m.   -  Fruge’s Home [811 45th St., Meridian] 


    • High School  

               6:00 - 7:30 p.m.   -  Mitchell’s Home [4508 7th Ave., Meridian]

  • December 30, 2017 - January 2, 2018

    • Cost $100 [Final Payment Due Dec. 1st] 
    • Registration and payments must be made online. Go to our website at: www.central/community and choose Students from the drop-down menu; then click on BreakThru.  

    If you have any questions or would like to volunteer as a chaperone, please contact Benji Riddle at

  • JANUARY 26-28, 2018

    Confirmation Retreat - Camp Wesley Pines

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


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]


Central’s Prayer Shawl Ministry meets throughout the school year. This ministry serves as a mission and small group opportunity. A group of ladies come together to crochet, knit, and share their spiritual walk. This group meets every Monday at 1:00 p.m. in the Library [1st Floor].

If you would like to learn how to crochet/knit, this group of ladies would love to share their talents with you. If you already know how to crochet/knit, you are welcome to join us too!

Blessing of the Prayer Shawls - Sunday, October 8th

[All three Worship Services]


The Asher Circle will meet Tuesday, Nov. 21st, at 2 p.m. at the home of Peggy Eakes. If you need directions or a ride, please contact Glenda Thomas [(601) 483-8502].

The Unit Meeting for Central's UMW will meet Tuesday, November 28th, at the church at 2:00 p.m. in the Adult Activity Room [3rd Floor]. This is a time for ALL Circles to come together and meet as one group. During this meeting, we will also have a chance to say “goodbye” to Sandy Johnson, our outgoing President, and to show our appreciation and thanks to her for serving as Unit President.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of UMW is invited to our Unit Meeting on November 28th. We will help get you plugged into one of our Circles during this meeting. All ladies of the church are invited to attend.


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.



   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

   January 5-7               Dennis Gossett           919-339-5303

   January 12-14           John Branning             769-218-7704

   January 19-21           Benji Riddle                601-685-8133

   January 26-28           Bob Peden                  601-938-7868

   February 2-4             Dennis Gossett           919-339-5303

   February 9-11           John Branning             769-218-7704

   February 16-18         Benji Riddle                 601-685-8133

   February 23-25         Bob Peden                   601-938-7868

   March 1-2                 Dennis Gossett            919-339-5303

   March 9-11               John Branning              769-218-7704

   March 16-18             Benji Riddle                  601-685-8133

   March 23-25             Bob Peden                   601-938-7868

   March 30-April 1       Dennis Gossett            919-339-5303

   April 6-8                    John Branning              769-218-7704

   April 13-15               Benji Riddle                  601-685-8133

   April 20-22               Bob Peden                   601-938-7868

   April 27-29               Dennis Gossett            919-339-5303

   May 4-6                   John Branning               769-218-7704

   May 11-13               Benji Riddle                   601-685-8133

   May 18-20               Bob Peden                    601-938-7868

   May 25-27               Dennis Gossett             919-339-5303

   June 1-3                  John Branning               769-218-7704

   June 8-10                Benji Riddle                   601-685-8133

   June 15-17              Bob Peden                     601-938-7868

   June 22-24              Dennis Gossett              919-339-5303

   June 29-July 1         John Branning                769-218-7704

   July 6-8                   Benji Riddle                    601-685-8133

   July 13-15               Bob Peden                     601-938-7868

   July 20-22               Dennis Gossett              919-339-5303