In the late evening of December 10, 2021, a violent tornado moved across Western Kentucky. 22 people were killed in and around the town of Mayfield, with hundreds more injured. The damage was catastrophic. Mayfield First UMC’s building was close to destroyed. A few miles down the road from them, Christ UMC’s building was untouched. In the aftermath, the two congregations began sharing space. Together, they found healing and worked to rebuild their community. In this episode, we talk about the power of our connection, and how it can help us move from grief to hope. Joining us are several clergy: Mark Stephens, who serves as the pastor of Christ UMC; Adam Rush, who serves as the pastor of Mayfield First UMC; Nancy Johnston Varden, their District Superintendent; and Joey Reed, who served as the pastor of Mayfield First UMC up until this last July.

Episode Eight Guests

Rev. Dr. Joey Reed

Rev. Dr. Joey Reed is the associate pastor at Collierville United Methodist Church near Memphis, Tennessee, ordained in 2001. With a mission to challenge disciples to grow, he's served churches since 1991 across Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. A graduate of Lambuth University, Candler School of Theology, and Wesley Theological Seminary, Joey is also a member of the Order of Saint Luke, focusing on sacramental and liturgical scholarship. His passions include discipleship, community building, jazz, good books, great coffee, and teaching about Jesus.

Rev. Adam Rush

Rev. Adam Rush was appointed as Pastor to Mayfield First United Methodist Church in Mayfield, Kentucky in July 2023.  Before coming to Mayfield, Adam served churches in and around the Middle Tennessee area.  He was commissioned as a provisional elder in 2023 and is working toward full ordination.  A life-long United Methodist, Adam was born and raised in Florida. He is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.  In addition to serving the church, Adam enjoys spending time with his family and a good round of disc golf.  Adam and his wife, Karen, have two school-aged children, Alice and Joey.

Rev. Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens is a native of Mayfield and has been the pastor of Christ United Methodist Church since 2010.  He has worked as music director and worship leader at churches in the TWK and the Holston conferences since 1981.  He and his wife Cyndi live in Mayfield and spend their spare time being entertained by their first 2 month old grandchild!

Rev. Nancy Johnston Varden

Rev. Nancy Johnston Varden is the District Superintendent of the Purchase District of the TWK UMC. Nancy has served in full-time ministry for 25 years with churches in Great Britain, western Tennessee, suburban North Carolina, and for the last 12 years western Kentucky. With a deep love for rural, farming communities and the strength of connectional ministry in the body of Christ, Nancy is passionate about innovative and creative ministries for a changing world and church.