Cook’s United Methodist Church

January 2024

We exist to make followers of

Jesus Christ who love God and others.

Well, here we are. Back behind us is 2023, barely. Our feet stand right

on the edge of 2024 while our eyes are scanning the horizon. Perhaps your heart is hoping for the goodness of God to be evident, close, and plentiful. Perhaps your mind is already deciding that this trip around won’t be any different than the last (hard) one. 


Let’s try an exercise together. Sit with your feet flat on the ground, relax the tension in your shoulders and take a couple of deep breaths. Now, turn your palms up, resting your hands on your thighs. Consider this question: what are you holding onto right now? Not literally. Start first with the ‘things’ you would name as blessings. We’re in the throes of a season that calls out glory and beauty and hope and joy. Close your eyes and imagine everything you name.


Now, let’s name the stuff that’s not always so pleasant. What are you managing that takes much of your energy? What are you “massaging” by going over it again and again in your mind? What responsibilities consume your time and leave unhelpful thoughts and attitudes behind? Close your eyes and name those things you choose to hold on to yet it feels like they’ve got a grip on you.


This next move is a big one. Turn your palms down and place your hands back on your thighs. Close your eyes and imagine all the things you’ve been holding onto – blessings and burdens, their consequences, and their legacy – falling into the hands of God. Let God hold them for a short while.  Don’t hurry.  Let it all go. 


We’ll come back to the exercise in a minute. You know, the world is always in a hurry, ready to move on as quickly as possible from ‘this’ to the next thing. A meme popped into one of my social media feeds the day after Christmas; that meme has prompted me to do the exercise we’ve started every day since. I don’t want to take anything into the next year that doesn’t serve me or God well. You? The text of that meme proposed the following:


Things I propose we don’t bring into this next year:

Bitterness         Apathy        Spite      Hurry      Facades      Arrogance

Worth rooted in performance.      The need to always be right.


What are you willing to leave behind in the past? A grudge? A habit? An attitude or tendency? You’re done with it. Let God have it. When we let go of those things that don’t serve us or serve God, there’s room to hold on to more of what does serve God and us well! 


Let’s finish our exercise together. In case they’re not … feet on the floor. In case you’ve tensed up … take a couple of deep breaths. Close your eyes with your palms face down on your thighs. (Doesn’t it feel great to have let all that go?!) Another deep breath. Now, turn your palms face up again. Be humble yet bold as you ask God to fill your hands, your life with what you need. He is our Source of life, of faith, of boldness, of everything. Do you need courage? Ask God. Do you need reminders to leave that attitude or habit alone? Ask God. Do you need direction? Ask God!


(What we’ve done together is called an Examen - a time of prayer and meditation during which we ‘examine’ our hearts and minds right now and courageously telling ourselves and God the truth about our state of being. This spiritual exercise might just be a thing to grab hold of to keep you/us from holding on to things that keep us from closeness with God.)


What will you leave behind today so that the new day and, so, your ‘hands’, are filled with the good things of God?



Samaritan Fund                 

The dollars in this fund are used to help those in our community with immediate needs. The money used to fund this account comes from donations left on the altar rail during communion.

Communion Sunday

We will be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion on Sunday, January 7. If you will be worshipping/celebrating with us from home, please gather bread (or tortillas or crackers, etc.) and juice (if you don't have grape, any juice or liquid will suffice) enough for everyone in your household. We look forward to celebrating God's grace in this very special way.

Christmas Decorations

Please help us put away and store our Christmas decorations.

This Sunday, January 7 immediately following the 11:00 Worship Service.

If you missed the setup, this is a fabulous opportunity to fellowship and

wrap up the holiday season together until next Christmas.


May we live the grace of Christmas every day, only without all the trappings:

May we always give generously, receive gifts gratefully, welcome others, and study your life.

Make our house be a home with Christmas at its core, and our souls a home where Jesus always dwells. Amen.

The words "Thank You!" even with a million exclamation marks is not an adequate reflection of all that fills our hearts because of the gifts of your love. Through October's Pastor Appreciation gestures and the overwhelming generosity of your huge Christmas gift, Terry and I hold deep gratitude for the love and grace that you continue to show us. The monetary gift you extended to us this Christmas is certainly timely and allows me/us to travel more often to see Mom and give my sister a break in her care for our mother. Thank you again for the gift of your love and so much more!

Blessings, Sandra and Terry Clay

Cook’s Family, your generosity is overwhelming!! We would like to thank all of you for the bonuses, gifts, cards, thoughts, and prayers given to us during this Christmas season and throughout 2023. It is such a joy to be part of this amazing family.

Much Love, Monica, Eric & Rachel. 


Dear Rev. Sandra and all at Cook’s UMC,

It has been over a year since my brother, Dan Stewart, died and it took eleven months to get through the settlement of his estate. You all were so loving and compassionate at the time of his death and for his funeral. May God bless you all in 2024. Know that you have our love and deep appreciation. Cyril Stewart


On behalf of Wilson County Community Help Center, thank you for your donation of $600. The Wilson County Community Help Center exists to provide food, clothing, and household necessities to the needy. We also provide assistance for utilities and prescription drugs for individuals in need in Wilson County. The Center can only fulfill its mission by receiving support from donors such as you. For more information about Wilson County Community Help Center, please visit our website at Once again, thank you for your support of our Help Center that has impacted so many in Wilson County in the thirty years the Center has been in existence. Please know that your continued support is very much appreciated. Sincerely, Karen Rudzinski, Executive Director

Information Update

Within the next couple of weeks many of you will begin receiving letters requesting you verify the information in the church directory and a chance to either submit an updated directory picture or request one be made in the sanctuary after the worship service on Sundays. The letters will be sent out according to the first letter in your last name. Once everyone’s information has been updated and new pictures taken the church directory will be updated and printed copies will be available for anyone wishing to have one. Thank you in advance for your quick responses. Monica

Stewardship Update!

We have received 47 pledges for a total of $245,854 and are so grateful for those who have responded. We are still short of our goal for 2024, so if you have gotten wrapped up in the holidays and forgotten to turn in your pledge card, there is still time! 


There is much for us to do here at Cook’s and the more accurate we can predict what resources we will have to live out God's vision for Cook’s, the better we will accomplish his plan. Please prayerfully consider completing a pledge card if you have not already. Cards can be found in the sanctuary, friendship hall, shelf in the central hallway and the church office. 

Fellowship Coffee & Donuts

Volunteers needed to bring donuts in 2024 for our fellowship time. There is a sign-up sheet on the counter in the central hallway. 4-5 dozen needed each Sunday. Keep your receipt to be reimbursed for donuts. Tax free letters available in the office.

SALT (Serving at the Lord’s Table)


CANNED BEANS (northern, pinto, black, kidney, pork & beans)

TOILET PAPER (4-roll package)


BAR SOAP (individually wrapped)


All donations can be left in totes in back hall.


As most of you know after loading so many cars Saturday, December 16, we had a great turn-out for the Mobile Pantry. We served 97 households with 391 individuals in them! We also had 68 volunteers who made this possible with their hard work! Our next Mobile Pantry is March 16! We look forward to seeing you all there!

Backpack Program

The Backpack program supports our neediest children. Students are supplied with food items to bridge the weekend gap during the school year. The Church at Pleasant Grove sponsors the Backpack Program for 5 schools in our area and they need help stocking their shelves. Items requested are: Instant Oatmeal Packages; Individual Mac & Cheese; Pudding Cups (non-refrigerated; Ravioli, Spaghetti-O's; Granola Bars; Fruit Cups; Applesauce; Juice Boxes (avoid those with lots of sugar). All donations can be left in the totes in back hallway.

Caregivers Coffee Connection

A Caregivers Support Group meets the third Wednesday of the month at 1pm in Cook’s UMC Youth Room. This is to offer respite, support, and connection for those who are caregivers. Our purpose is to surround each other with support and friendship as we encourage the journey of a Caregiver. If you or someone you know would benefit from a loving time of encouragement or just a place to meet and have coffee, desert and conversation please know you are welcome to meet with us. If you have any questions, call Judy at 615-417-9002.

NEXT Meeting Wednesday, January 17 @ 1pm.

United Methodist Men's Club Breakfast

3rd Sunday of each month @ 7:45am

Cook's Youth Room

Everyone is encouraged to attend the

breakfast and stay for the meeting

to see what new and exciting things our Men's Club is up to.

NEXT Breakfast Sunday, January 21 @ 7:45am

Calendar of Events

Taking Sabbath Small Group, Wednesday, January 3 @ 11:45am (Seekers)

Missions Team Wednesday, January 3 @ 6pm (Library)

Friendship Hall Received ALL DAY Saturday, January 6

Take Down Christmas Decorations Sunday, January 7 @ 11am

Trustees Team Monday, January 8 @ 6pm (Youth Room)

Oliver Academy Returns Tuesday, January 9

Staff Meeting Tuesday, January 9 10:00 – 12:00 (Library)

Taking Sabbath Small Group, Wednesday, January 10 @ 11:45am (Seekers)

Finance Team Sunday, January 14 @ 3:30 pm (Lamplighters Room)

Church Council Sunday, January 14 @ 4pm (Youth Room)

Church Office Closed Monday, January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance)

Taking Sabbath Small Group, Wednesday, January 17 @ 11:45am (Seekers)

CareGivers Connection Wednesday, January 17 @ 1pm (Youth Room)

Discipleship Team Thursday, January 18 @ 5pm (Library)

Men’s Club Breakfast Sunday, January 21 @ 7:45am (Youth Room)

Congregational Care Team Wednesday, January 24 @ 10am (Lamplighters Room)

Taking Sabbath Small Group, Wednesday, January 24 @ 11:45am (Seekers)

Staff Meeting Tuesday, January 30 @ 10:00 - 12:00 (Library)

Taking Sabbath Small Group, Wednesday, January 31 @ 11:45am (Seekers)


Seekers Room Reserved Every Wednesday from 11:45 - 3:00pm until Feb. 14

Youth Room/Seekers Room Reserved Every Wednesday from 5:30pm till end of day.

Mondays @ 9:30am Bible Study (Youth Room)

Wednesdays @ 6:00pm Women’s Ensemble Practice

Wednesdays @ 7:00pm Choir Practice

Thursdays @ 6:00pm Boy Scouts (Youth Room)

Tues. & Thurs. 9am-3pm Oliver Academy

Mondays, Tuesdays & Fridays @ 6:00pm TKD (Friendship Hall)

Good Neighbor Bag

The Discipleship Committee has put together a Welcome to Cook’s neighborhood bags. They are made to help us reach out to new persons in our area and family members who are new to us or are looking for a church home and family. They have information about us as well as a pen, letter opener (with Cook’s on it), small wooden cross, activity sheets for children and box of crayons, an Upper Room and even a coupon for a free doughnut at Gourmet doughnuts! If you have someone, you’d like to give a bag to they are available in the church office. We hope we have helped to make it a little easier for all of us to be the body of Christ! Your neighbors, Discipleship Committee

Home Centered

Dot Creasman, Billie East,

Gladys Pennington,

Norman & Ruby Walker

Current Information

The most recent Newsletter, Financial Statement, 2024 Officers / Committee Members Listing, and approved Church Council minutes can be found in the literature rack in the back hallway (just outside the Friendship Hall).

Prayer Shawls

Have you ever wished for a visible way to show your love, care and concern for a family member, friend or neighbor who is suffering? Something they can hold onto and feel your prayers? There is a way, and your church family can help. Members of our church family are making prayer shawls for anyone who asks for one. They are prayed over before starting and completion of each one. Would you like a prayer shawl, have it prayed over by the congregation for the need of your family or friend? They are available with love from us. Contact me (615-516-2439, text, or email ). Blessings, Edna. We are looking for persons to help with this ministry who can crochet or knit. If you are interested, please contact me.  

Cook’s Inclement Weather Policy

Sunday worship schedules will depend on the weather / road conditions on those mornings. A decision will be made as quickly as possible and will be posted on Facebook as well as email communication sent. Please use your own discretion on those days.

Are You on Facebook?

You can help us spread Cook's news! It's easy: first, be sure to "Like" Cook's Facebook page ( Then keep your eye out for announcements, inspiration, and invitations to worship. When they show up in your FB feed, "Like" or "Share" the posts. The more who do, the more people see it, even if they're not yet members and/or don't “Like” the CUMC page. Have photos from a church event or something you want to promote on social media? Send info/photos to Alison Nash or to the church office.

Electronic Giving Available

Electronic giving helps you stay current with your planned giving especially when on vacation or traveling, increases confidentiality as records are locked in the church office while paper checks (which contain the same information) are part of the weekly counting process with rotating money counters. Contributions continue to be reflected on your year-end contribution statement, and contributions can be canceled or altered (such as the amount or change the bank account) at any time by simply contacting the church office. If you are interested in this easy and convenient way of giving, please contact the church office.

In Person Giving

An offering plate is passed around during traditional worship service in the sanctuary and an offering basket is available at the back of the Friendship Hall during “The Well” worship service, or you can drop your offering off by the church office during regular business hours.

Online Giving

You can give online at or text cumc to 73256


Standard text message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Text HELP to 73256 for help. Text STOP to 73256 to cancel.

Electronic Bank Draft

If you are interested in this easy and convenient way of giving, please contact the church office.

7919 Lebanon Road, Mt. Juliet TN 37122


Sunday Schedule

8:45am Traditional Worship (Sanctuary), Facebook Live & YouTube

10:00am Sunday School

11:00am “The Well” Worship Service (Friendship Hall), Facebook Live & YouTube