We are people who came to a point in our lives when we said, "No more." No more going through life without prayer. No more serving God without being with Him. No more living by our own strength, our own words, our own ideas. We must follow Jesus and become people who live prayer-filled lives.
Co-Founders Doug and Margie Newton
Doug and Margie pastor together (2006-present) at the Greenville (IL) Free Methodist Church, a church of about 850 regular attenders. Doug is senior pastor and Margie is pastor of prayer and counseling.
Doug served for fifteen years (1996-2010) as senior editor of the award-winning Light&Life magazine, the denominational magazine of the Free Methodist Church. He has served on faculty and presented keynote addresses at several leading conferences for Christian writers. During that time he also served as the Executive Director of Communications for the denomination. Margie also worked as manuscript manager for Light&Life magazine and served as church administrator at the West Morris Street (Indianapolis, IN) Free Methodist Church.
In years past the Newtons also served at Oakdale Christian Academy located in Jackson, Kentucky, a private residential high school for students from around the United States. Doug was president and Margie was facilities manager.
Prior to going to Oakdale, they pastored a Free Methodist congregation in Bowling Green, Kentucky, for thirteen years which tripled in size. During that time they helped found a city-wide ministry to the poor, worked aggressively for racial reconciliation and integration among the local churches, and received an Outstanding Citizen award from the regional NAACP.
The Newton’s have traveled widely in their speaking and teaching ministry. Prior to settling in at the Greenville church Doug spoke for nearly ten years to more than 25,000 people annually.
In 2000 the Newtons founded Mary’s Place to create ideal opportunities for people in ministry and churches to reorient their lives around prayer and the Word of God. Since that time they have provided week-long, all-expense-paid retreats for scores of pastoral couples in locations around the world. Many of those retreats were held outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky in the 5500 square foot prayer retreat lodge completed in 2003.
The Newtons have two daughters and three grandchildren.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MARY'S PLACE
In the year 2000 Doug and Margie Newton began the ministry called Mary’s Place to “create ideal opportunities for people reorient their lives around prayer and the Word of God.”
Over the next several years their ministry offered all-expense-paid retreats for six to eight people at a time. The retreats were typically six days in length and concentrated on giving their guests time for reflection and “learning conversations” with the Newtons and the other retreatants. During those conversations the Newtons shared their understanding of prayer, its nature, purpose and practice.
The effectiveness of those retreats led to the 2003 opening of a prayer retreat lodge in Bowling Green, Kentucky called Deer Ridge.
Eventually it became clear that the reorientation process and the lessons they taught informally around the meal table should be compiled and provided to people in seminar and small group settings, not just in a six-day retreat format.
The first sampling of that new approach occurred in January 2011 for a group of men and women pursuing ordination training through the Free Methodist Church. The impact of that week-long course triggered the production of the “Choosing Mary’s Place” guidebook and launched many seminars conducted by trained Mary’s Place guides to bring the Mary’s Place reorientation process to churches around the United States. Mary's Place formed its own publishing company to produce a growing array of resources for prayer.
Mary’s Place ministries, with the help of the prayer band of the Greenville Free Methodist Church, directed the prayer emphasis at the past two General Conferences of the Free Methodist Church.
The Mary’s Place ministry is currently expanding its services to include the formation of life reorientation prayer groups in churches around the country, and to provide consultation services for churches interested in mobilizing their congregation in prayer.