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!


SUPPORT HUNGER INC. - January 12 to 15
We begin 2017 by blessing Perry Township families through our Food Drive Ministry.   January’s requested items are Peanut Butter and Jelly. Bring your donations from Thursday to Friday, January 12-15, and the ministry team will deliver them to Hunger Inc. the next week.

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 in February. Date will be announced soon.  

January 15, Sunday – Communion and Community Meal
March 4 through 12 – Spring Clothing Drive for Interfaith Hospitality Network


On January 5 and 8 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 who 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 your 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 January 5 and 8. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Letter From Pastor Mark - December

Dear Friends,
As we approach the end of the year I want to thank you for who you are as a congregation.  You provide countless hours of ministry in the name of Jesus Christ and you impact thousands of lives throughout the course of the year.  The good news of Jesus Christ is being offered to many people as you make his love real to people on a daily basis.  Again, thanks so much for your ministry and I look forward to continuing to do ministry with you in the year 2017.
I also want to draw your attention to the special Christmas Eve and Christmas services that are scheduled in the next few weeks.

Thursday, December 22 at 7:00 p.m. – Pre-Christmas Eve candlelight service.
Saturday, December 24
5:30 p.m. – Children and family service (no candlelight)
7:00 and 8:30 p.m. – Contemporary candlelight service
11:00 p.m. – Traditional candlelight service
Sunday, December 25 – Open candlelight communion from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.  You may come anytime during the 90 minute period and partake of communion and prayer.
Sunday, January 1 – One service at 10:00 a.m. (Thursday service on December 29 will be at 6:00 p.m. as usual.)

There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate the birth of Christ in a worship service.   I invite you to participate in the services of your choice.
In Christ’s Abundant Love,
Pastor Mark


We are starting a Bible Club at Homecroft!  The Bible Club is supported by Christ Youth Bible Club (CYBC,  Christ Youth Bible Club is deeply passionate about connecting the heart of a child to the heart of God through the truth of His Word and the love and compassion of Jesus followers.  CYBC desires that every child “…grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Southport UMC is becoming a supporting church and we are very excited about this new opportunity to show the love and grace of Jesus to Homecroft children, families and staff.

The Bible Club will start meeting on Tuesday morning (7:45 – 8:30 a.m.) at Homecroft  Elementary in January.

If you are interested in more information and possibly serving in this ministry, you can contact the church office.  There will also be an informational meeting for parents as well as those interested in serving Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Gathering Place here in the church building.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


The Final Countdown to Jubilee Christmas Day on December 10…
After weeks of planning with a wonderful combined effort between the Homecroft Elementary school staff, the Jubilee Ministry Team, SUMC Hosts, and each of You we are ready to express more of Jesus’ love and grace with 60 children and youth and their families.
Gifts, toys, personal care items, clothing, and a holiday dinner are made possible because of your generosity. When you give to the Faith Promise Fund, expenses for many of the above needs are covered. Tags that were selected from the Jubilee boards will fulfill a child’s need or Christmas wish. 
What steps are left before Jubilee Day?
Please return all tag item purchases to church by Sunday, December 4
Shop at Burlington with Jubilee parents and SUMC hosts December 3 at 7:30 a.m. for the children’s clothing (cost covered by Faith Promise)
Help the Jubilee Team with set up Friday, December 9 at 9:30 a.m.
Bake cookies for the Jubilee refreshment table and bring them to church Friday, December 9 marked for Jubilee
Arrive at church Jubilee Day, December 10 at 9:45 a.m. to help with final preparations, greet guests, serve refreshments, wrap gifts, or stay for clean up


….the church has bins in the back parking lot to recycle paper items and everyone can  contribute. 

….if you register your Kroger Plus Card under Community Rewards and select Southport   United Methodist Church as the recipient, each time you grocery shop the church will get a percent donated back to us.  This does not affect your perks in any way! 

….if you order from Amazon go to and earn cash for SUMC.  Enter your account and choose SUMC as your organization to earn cash.  Then shop at just like you normally would at

….you may share your financial resources by giving to the church online either through your church account or by using a smartphone and scanning this code.  

….you can support Hunger Inc., a Perry Township Food Pantry by bringing donations to church the first weekend of each month. Requested food items are listed in the monthly     newsletter and in the Weekly section of the bulletin.

….the church office has a small food pantry for area residents who may need a one day emergency supply.

….if you benefit from BOGO (buy one get one) sales and don’t always need the free item, you can donate it to the church pantry or bring it on Hunger Inc. collection days.



….we have four blood drives a year

….we have several Sunday morning Coffee Ministry serve options

….after a funeral we provide a meal for families who are experiencing the recent death of a loved one

….twice a month on Sunday afternoon we worship, sing, and interact with the residents at the Madison Avenue Nursing Home

….we serve dinner twice a month, one at the Ronald McDonald House and one at RMH in    Riley Hospital

….on the 3rd Thursday of the month breakfast and conversation is how we serve Fletcher Place Community Center neighbors

For additional information please contact the church office, 317 784-9508 or