Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Letter from Pastor Mark - February

Dear Friends,

I know we have just finished the Advent and Christmas season, but I looked at the calendar and I realized that before you receive the March newsletter, we will be observing Ash Wednesday. March 1 begins the season of Lent and we will have a service on that day that marks the beginning of a 40-day preparation period for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter.  This year we will celebrate Easter on April 16.
During the season of Lent we are going to focus worship on how we can grow deeper in our walk with Jesus.  The sermon series is entitled “The Discipleship Handbook.”  It will be based on the book of 2nd Peter, and we will go through the entire book during the Lenten series.
During Lent we will also be offering a two-week course on “Reading the Bible without Getting Lost.” This two-week course will give people guidelines and hints on how to read the Bible and be able to stick with it.  During Lent we are going to focus on a book of the Bible in     worship, and we are also going to encourage each of you to begin a Bible reading plan that will take you through the entire Bible in one year.  This two-week Bible reading course will help prepare you to be successful in fulfilling the commitment of reading through the Bible in a year.

This year I would like to suggest that you take the challenge to read the Bible in a year.  I also want to suggest that you invite someone who you know doesn’t know much about the Bible to take that challenge with you.  This person could be a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor or a friend.  Then check with each other from time to time to see how you are doing.  This way you can encourage each other, and both of you will be spending more time in the Word of God.  I believe that if you do this and you and your partner stay with the reading plan, you will be surprised at what effect being in the Word of God on a regular basis will have on you and your Bible reading partner.
I believe this could be a very productive Lent if many of us simply begin a regular regimen of Bible reading.  You will be hearing more about these opportunities in the coming month so be looking for announcements in the church bulletin and verbal announcement during the worship services.

In Christ’s Abundant Love,

Pastor Mark

Are You On the JOURNEY Of Your Discipleship?

Last month we talked about how each disciple, each follower of Jesus, needs to assess where they are in their own discipleship and find the next step to keep on the journey of their discipleship.  Periodically over the next couple of months, the Weekly (the insert to the bulletin you receive for worship), will have various questions you might consider as you determine and assess where you are in your discipleship.

Also, in a few months, everyone will have an opportunity to complete a discipleship      assessment that will help each person assess your own discipleship and will help the church as a whole determine where we are in our collective discipleship of Jesus and therefore, where we need to go next as a church.

Here are a few other steps that you can take  right now to help you keep on the discipleship journey.

· Participate in Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday March 1.
· On Wednesday, March 8, and Wednesday, March 15, we will have two sessions to help us better understand how to study the Bible.  Be watching for more information as those dates approach.
· Commit to reading the Bible in one year.  As a church, we will start this process around Easter as we journey together, continuing to understand God’s story.  Be watching for more information so that you can participate with your brothers and sisters in Christ in this opportunity.
· Form a small group of your friends and family that will encourage you in your discipleship as well as lovingly hold you accountable to stay on the journey. In other words, “keep your eyes on Jesus” as we heard in a recent sermon.

Let’s continue the discipleship journey together!

Kairos Prison Ministry

On February 23 and 26 members of our Prison Ministry Teams will be at a Next Steps table to share how you can be part of Kairos Prison Ministry. As well as choosing to serve inside the prison walls, there are many additional ways to make this spiritual retreat a success.

The first is prayer.  It is an extremely emotional moment when the participants see a long   prayer chain with thousands of names of people are are praying for them.  You can sign up for a time to pray.

Another way to help is to bake cookies.  If this is your talent, be sure to pick up the specific chocolate chip cookie recipe at the table.  The cookies make a statement in ways hard to imagine.  They show love from those who bake them, and they are a powerful instrument for forgiveness within the walls of the correctional facility.
A third way is to give financially.  A single gift of $10 for a meal ticket can provide two  separate meals during the weekend and is a charitable contribution for our income taxes.

You may choose to attend a closing at the prison facility on the last date of the retreat weekend.  This is an overwhelming experience for the men or women who see that others care enough to attend the closing session.  It also is a remarkable experience for those from outside the prison walls to hear the testimonies of the inmates.  Attending a closing is another way to discover whether you might be interested in working a weekend retreat in the future. 

Information on all of the above opportunities will be at the Next Steps table February 23 and 26.

The Men’s Team will be serving at the Plainfield facility April 6-9.
The Women’s Team will have two opportunities to serve at the Indianapolis Women’s Prison, June 1-4 and October 19-22.


There is never a dull moment when you serve in Jesus’ name.  

Recently our Ronald McDonald House team members were serving dinner to families in Riley Hospital and the unusual happened.  Dinner had been prepared, and people were eating at tables trying to relax for a few minutes before they returned to their child’s room.  An unspoken misunderstanding arose between two adults, possibly more like a version of a grade school  cafeteria dispute.  Only stares and a few comments were exchanged, nothing serious. However, this resulted in the hospital security police stopping by to see what was going on and asking one of our team members to give a statement of what had happened. She never thought her first police statement would be over dinner.

A little excitement, yes.  But a lot more to the story.

Our ministry’s responsibility is to provide a meal that is nourishing, free, and in a location where parents are not too far from their seriously ill child.  Our goal is to interact with families sharing Jesus’ love and grace at a time when they may need to feel it the most. These are the things we hope will be remembered from this day:
Caring conversations that were not rushed
Prayers for the children and the families
Willing listeners and shared stories
Opportunities to be served and rest
A willingness to connect

Understanding - we never know what a parent has learned or heard before they left their child’s room and the effect it has on their family’s life
God is present in ALL situations and circumstances

We are blessed to serve with two Ronald McDonald House Ministries, one at the House and one in Riley Hospital. 


The United Methodist Women are hosting a "Human Trafficking" event on Saturday, March 4, 2017. We will welcome columnist Tim Swarens from the Indianapolis Star for a presentation and discussion of Human Trafficking and how we as Christians can show our support for the work being done to combat this horrific crime. Presentation and discussion will be from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm in the Gathering Place and is open to women and men, adults and youth. 

United Methodist Women
UMW  circles (small groups) meet TO LIVE OUR PURPOSE:
        To Know God
        To Experience Freedom as Whole Persons through Jesus Christ
        To Develop a Creative, Supportive Fellowship
        To Expand Concepts of Mission through Participation in the Global Ministries of the   Church

Rebekah Circle meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
Anna Circle meets on the 3rd Monday of each month.
Leah Circle meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month beginning in March.


In support of Hunger Inc., a Perry Township food pantry, we collect food items on the same Thursday and Sunday that communion is served at church.  "We come to be fed and we feed others."  
Upcoming collections are:
February - Canned Fruit
March - Cans of Tuna


February’s requested item is Canned Fruit which will be shared with Perry Township families. Bring your donations from Thursday to Sunday, February 2 – 5, and the ministry team will deliver them to Hunger Inc. the next week.

UNITING WITH THE CHURCH – Tuesday, February 21
Would you like to make Southport your church home? Join Pastor Mark as he shares the mission and vision of Southport United Methodist Church and the importance of not just following Jesus but living your life as He lived His. Please plan to attend the next “UNITING WITH THE CHURCH” session Tuesday, February 21, at 7:00 pm.

BLOOD DRIVE – Sunday, February 26
Invite family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to participate in our first Blood Drive of 2017.  The community will also be encouraged to join us on Sunday, February 26, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Gathering Place. There is always a critical need for donors; give the gift of Life and be a blessing to others.

February 5 – Communion and Community Meal
March 1 – Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent (Do you know God’s Story? Join the adventure)
March 4 – Presentation and discussion on Human Trafficking (Guest speaker columnist Tim Swarens from the Indianapolis Star)
March 4 through 12 – Spring Clothing Drive for Interfaith Hospitality Network

Thursday, December 22, 2016


First, do you know what a disciple is and how you can tell if a person is a disciple of Jesus?
If you think you know, do you really know or is it a guess?

One way we can answer this question is to evaluate where we are in our discipleship based on what a disciple should be and would do.

Coming in the spring, everyone will be invited to complete a Discipleship Assessment,  evaluating where each of us is in terms of becoming a fully mature disciple of Jesus.  John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, would say we will never reach full maturity; but we should keep “going on to perfection.”

The results of the assessments will be used in two ways.  One – to determine how we as a church should emphasize growing in our discipleship.  Two – it will also help us individually so that we can understand how each person should focus their own discipleship.

In the meantime, please pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit to help us understand where  Jesus wants us to be and do as His church and as His disciples.

A Letter from Pastor Mark - January

Dear Friends,
I want to thank you for the many expressions of sympathy that you extended to me and my wife Susan on the death of my mother.  The many cards and kind words that you offered     during this time were a great source of peace and comfort for Susan and me.
Additionally, I want to thank you for your concern for me during and after my recent surgery.  For those who might not know, I had surgery on my left arm.  I have experienced some nerve damage in my wrist and in my elbow.  Surgery in both of those areas was performed to,    hopefully, correct the problem. Presently, I haven’t had my follow-up visit with the surgeon so I’m not quite sure what the prognosis is regarding the success of the surgery.  I am prayerfully hopeful because prior to the surgery I was losing the feeling and strength in my left hand and arm.  Again, the cards and kind words, as well as prayers were comforting.  It is a great thing to be a part of a loving and caring church family.
I also want to thank everyone for the remembrances and gifts of appreciation that I received for Pastor Appreciation and at Christmas.  You are very Thoughtful

As we enter this new year (Can you believe that we are beginning the 17th year of the 21st     century? It seems like yesterday that we were hearing about all the concerns associated with the Y2K issue.)  it is my hope and prayer that God through Jesus Christ will pour out many blessing upon each of you.  It is also my prayer that God will guide and strengthen you so that you will take the steps that are necessary to make 2017 a year of incredible spiritual growth.  Let us go forward to grow in the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

Have a happy and blessed New Year!

In Christ’s Abundant Love,

Pastor Mark



As  disciples of Jesus, we are called to “go on” in our discipleship, meaning continue to go on toward Christlikeness for all of our life.  And to accomplish what Jesus calls each one of us to do, we need to understand God’s story and how our story is part of God’s story. 

We are offering a Journey Group starting January 15, 2017, that will help us move along in our “journey” toward Christlikeness.  The Bible study is called “Seamless” and will meet for 14 weeks during the 10:00 a.m. hour each Sunday morning.  (Participants can attend either the 8:30 or 11:15 worship services.)

Whether you’ve grown up hearing Bible stories or you’re exploring Scripture for the first time, the full story of the Bible can be overwhelming.  The 66 books may seem disconnected at first glance.  This study by Angie Smith shows us how the whole Bible – from Genesis to            Revelation – connects as one beautiful, seamless thread.  (Resources for the study will            be provided.) 

If you would like more information or would like to register, please contact the church office.

Please consider attending. 
See you on the journey!