Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Times Marches On!

It can’t be time to write another one of these, can it?  We were cruising along nicely here. I was actually beginning to feel on top of things, in control of life and work and ministry. Then I noticed a couple of things I missed.  How does that happen?  Well chalk it up to a little reminder that we aren’t in charge of things, like we like to think we are anyway. 

A devastating hurricane season is a sign of that.  Certainly we need to be asking questions about whether our treatment of the planet and its resources has caused this terrible weather pattern to emerge.  Are we in control of more than we realize?  Could we be more intentional in preservation, in thinking beyond our immediate wants to a future for all?  Of course we could, and should. 

At the same time we admit our helplessness in the face of destructive forces at work in our world.  And then to ask what can we do in response.  To that end I want to commend Southport UMC for your response to terrible acts of destruction in our world.  Brandon, our finance guru, tells me that we are over $3,000 in giving to UMCOR for the disaster relief from hurricanes that seem never-ending.  And some are still giving.  So, thank you for caring for those we may not know and yet include in the family.  Thank you for giving so generously.  I am proud of the response.  More will always be needed, of course, but we are ready to help where we can.
A little closer to home, Brandon and I took a walk down to the Police Station here in Southport recently.  We were pleased to deliver a letter of condolence and support, along with a check for $2,500 made out to Stacy Allan-Moore, the widow of Lt. Aaron Allan who was tragically killed mere blocks from our church building.  While no monetary support will replace all that she has lost, it felt good to offer a sign of caring and hope, a reminder that she isn’t alone in this community.  Again, I thank you for your generosity.

Time marches on.  There are more tasks to perform, more service to provide.  There is worship to offer and growth in faith to continue.  New initiatives are underway, like our plan for Student Ministry and the family ministry umbrella over it.  Long time efforts are gearing up, like Jubilee Christmas and Kairos Ministry.  Things happen and we give God praise for that.  

Thank you too for the many who have weighed in on the Christmas Eve conundrum.  There are so many good ideas, with a wide range of suggestions.  All of which means we probably won’t find the schedule that fits everyone perfectly, but we are listening and discerning and a schedule will be announced soon. 

In the meantime, time marches on.  Jesus’ Easter proclamation – I am going before you – is a reminder that we must follow, and march on.  And even when I get lost in the schedule, I’ll trust that you’ll keep going and allow me to catch up.  I have faith that together we’ll get where Jesus is leading us.

Pastor Derek

Big News in Student Ministry

Sunday Morning in The Underground   10:00–11:00 a.m.
The Confirm study kicked off successfully in September with four small groups of middle and high school students and adult mentors all learning basic Christianity and United Methodist beliefs. Large group activities are led by Pastor Doug or Pastor Derek each week. All middle school and high school students are welcome to join and participate at any time. This is not a membership class, but will lead to an opportunity to participate in a separate membership class next spring for those who wish to.

Sunday Evening in The Underground   6:30—8:30 p.m.
The big kick-off for Sunday evenings is getting closer! Sunday, October 8, we will celebrate by including the family for part of the evening. Students, families, and leaders will leave SUMC parking lot at 6:35 to go to the pumpkin patch, where students will choose their pumpkins to decorate and present (later in the month) as gifts. Upon returning to SUMC the students will go to The Underground for activities until 8:30, and parents will be welcomed by Pastor Derek for a discussion of adult studies during student time.

Student Ministry News, Notices and Requests
The former Youth Group, iGod, on Wednesday evenings, ended last spring. Sunday Evenings in The Underground is a NEW youth group for middle school and high school students and friends. The goal is to create strong relationships among students and with God. There will be occasional activities throughout the year that will include the students’ families.  Examples of those activities are mission or service projects, dinner and movie nights, bonfires, outings to fun places, etc.

Sunday Evening in The Underground will have light snacks for the students each week,
but not a full meal as in the past. It is believed that Sunday meals are family time and youth group should honor that. Supporters of Student Ministry are welcome to volunteer to provide those snacks. Please contact or call Joe or Bobbi Howell or Jerry Kidwell to schedule your week to serve our students.

The students will be naming this new group and we will announce that in the near future.


Your Student Ministries Leadership Team

Perry Township Religious Education Association

PTREA for short has a goal of “helping each child become aware of God as revealed through Jesus Christ, grow in an understanding of God, and respond to Him in faith, love and service to others.”  PTREA was established over 40 years ago.  Because of “release time" laws here in Indiana, children with parental permission, can be released from their regular classrooms once a week to participate in religious education during regular school hours or after school.   PTREA happens off school property during the day.  A few schools also have PTREA classes after school on school property.

Southport UMC supports PTREA in these ways:
·  Several church members are on the current PTREA Board of Directors.
·  We support PTREA classes at Homecroft Elementary - providing the teacher,
providing a Bible for each student to keep, and providing any other supplies needed.
·  This year, we have several ladies that are teaching PTREA classes at Mary Bryan
Elementary.  (PTREA needed a teacher:  SUMC stepped up big time!)
·  We contribute annually to PTREA through Faith Promise.

How can you support PTREA individually?
·  Pray:  pray for the program, the teachers, and pray for the students and families.
·  If you give to Faith Promise at SUMC, you are helping support PTREA.
·  All day on October 5, PTREA is having a fund raiser at City BBQ.  Pick up a flier at Guest Services.  Southport UMC families recently have been huge supporters of this effort!
·  Like us on Facebook (Perry Township Religious Education Association).
·  Visit our website:

To Southport United Methodist Church:  thank you for your support these many years.

Pastor Doug

October Food Collection

There were 175 pounds of food delivered to Hunger, Inc. for the month of September.  There were donations from so many of you and with that amazing amount of food, the workers were very glad to receive all of the variety.

So as we get replenished and fed by God’s gift of communion, we can help feed families in our neighborhood.  Collection of October is here.  The months are going by too fast!  We will be collecting food Thursday, September 28, and Sunday, October 1.  We deliver the food Tuesday, October 3.  If you want to help, let the church know you are available around the 10:00 a.m. time on Tuesday when the Hunger, Inc. center opens.

So for the month of October, we will be collecting:
·  Snacks in packs like peanut butter crackers, or cheese crackers, etc.
·  Boxes of rice
·  Canned foods, like ravioli, spaghetti, chili, spaghetti O’s, etc.

You are wonderful to be so helpful for our community members.  Southport Church is making a difference in the lives of the families we help feed.

As Pastor Derek indicated in his September 10 sermon, we are the might or action that helps make this world a better place.

United Methodist Women

October is the month that United Methodist Women (UMW) celebrate with a program called World Thank Offering.  The theme being . . . “That United Methodist Women will know that God has blessed us so that we may be blessings to others in our community and in the world.”
One example of how the money donated helps is . . . “Murphy-Harpst in Georgia meets the needs of abused and neglected young people through residential treatment, placements in specialized foster care and community programs that serve at-risk children and their families.  With the support of UMW, their program provides round-the-clock therapeutic care that enables children to heal and recover so that they can re-engage with society and lead productive lives.”   More stories like this and others in the US and all over the world are going to be presented at the World Thank Offering Program.  The program is to be held Tuesday, October 10, at 7:00 p.m.  The program will be held in the Gathering Place at Southport United Methodist Church.  At this program the UMW will also have a time of refreshments and visiting.  So come join the circles and celebrate our blessings.

We will be collecting 25 cents for each pair of shoes you currently own in your closet.  You may also donate gently used shoes for winter.  We are calling this . . . Giving Soles for Souls.
These shoes can be for men, women, and children.  We will be collecting shoes from October 1 until October 10 for delivery on October 11.  Please be sure they can be worn for the winter.  Also place each pair in a bag, tie together, or rubber band together.  These soles may be placed in the tote that will be located in the Coat Room hallway in the last cubby on the left-hand side.  All donated shoes will be given to the Fletcher Place Community Center located on Prospect Street in Indianapolis.

UMW Circles: 
These circles are open to all women so feel free to come and join in the groups.
Rebekah Circle—Tuesday, October 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the Gathering Place for the World Thank Offering Program.

Anna Circle—usually meets the third Monday at Rosegate on Emerson Avenue at 1:00 p.m.  No meeting in October.

Leah Circle—Tuesday, October 17, at 6:30-8:00 in Room W103 at the church.  We will continue to tie the blankets for Ronald McDonald House.

Mark Your Calendar

HUNGER INC. – September 28 to October 1
A goal for our Hunger Inc. monthly food drive is to provide items that the families need and to re-stock the shelves at the pantry with hopes that no one will need to be turned away. The staff at Hunger Inc. has requested a collection of cheese or peanut butter crackers, boxes of rice, and canned pasta for October. These snack type items will feed children who will be home during their fall break.

Hospitality….what is it? How do we do it?  Why do we do it? Is it important?  Thursday, October 26, at 7:00 p.m. Pastor Derek will share his vision and thoughts on hospitality. Everyone is invited!

Sunday, November 12, families arrive for a two week period and our church becomes their home: a place to rest after a long day, have a warm meal with new friends, sleep in a family bedroom (each family has a classroom in the east wing they use as their bedroom), and the next morning return to the IHN Day Center.  During the day the children are in school, the adults go to jobs or job hunt, and move through the process of finding a place in which to live. Our presence during their arrival and throughout their stay is one way to share Jesus’ grace and love with our guests. Talk with IHN ministry leaders in the Gathering Place October 26/29 and November 2/5 for information on how we can serve our guests.

October is a busy month for Jubilee Christmas.  It may seem that December 9 is a long way off, however, there is much to prepare for as we support Homecroft Elementary children and their families. Now is a great time to discover how we each can serve in preparing for Jubilee Day, blessing others and sharing Jesus’ grace and love. For more information about serving with the Jubilee Christmas ministry please contact Sherry at the church office, 317 784-9508, or email

October 12 to 15 – Men’s Prison Ministry at Plainfield Facility
October 19 to 22 – Women’s Prison Ministry at Indianapolis Women’s Prison
October 19—God’s Will Breakfast
October 26 – Pastor Derek on Hospitality
November 12 to 26 – Interfaith Hospitality Families will be guests at Southport
November 16—God’s Will Breakfast 
November 19 – Blood Drive
December 9 – Jubilee Christmas

News You Need to Know



Hospitality….what is it? How do we do it?  Why do we do it? Is it important?  Join Pastor Derek Thursday, October 26, at 7:00 p.m. when he shares his vision and thoughts on God’s
people and hospitality. Everyone is invited!  Child care is provided.


Not everyone uses or has access to the internet. This occasionally creates problems if there is something you want to read and it is available only through the internet. Because of this
copies of Pastor Derek’s blog are now available at the wooden rack on the wall between the church office and the west wing. Get your copy and take one for a friend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Welcome to the Family - A Letter from Pastor Derek

Happy Fall!  At least I assume it is fall by the time you are reading this.  It has been an eventful summer, and not just weather-wise.  A lot has happened in my life and in yours as well.  In our life together, certainly.  But it has been good.  We’ve been welcomed and included and invited.

We’ve been made to feel like we were a part of the family.  And I have invited you into my family with various stories past and present.  That’s what we’re about, becoming the family of God that the church is invited to be.  Some of you have told parts of your story too, and I am grateful for that.  It gives me a little more insight into who you are as individuals and as a   congregation.  And it helps with the never ending tasking of learning names and getting to know the family.

You’re about to hear a lot more about family around SUMC in the coming weeks.  Beginning on September 10 we will be launching a new approach to ministry with student and children (and everybody, really) called family ministry.  Guided by the instructions that come to us in Deuteronomy chapter 6, we will be asking “how can we help families disciple their students and children?”  We will also be asking “how can we be a family for all of our students in ways that provides networks of support for parents and children?”

We will be rolling out a new ministry plan for these ministries, using both staff resources and volunteer support – in other words we’re calling on the family to step up and help us make  disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, both inside and outside the church.  Disciple-making is the business of the church, of the family that we are together.  

In addition we get to celebration one of our family members who is following his path in new directions.  Doug Shinkle is transitioning from being a member of the laity to being a member of the clergy.  He will be appointed to us as a Local Pastor and will continue to work among us.  But he will also be taking on leadership of the new emphasis on family ministry and working with our students in a direct way.  It is a sign of the value we place on this effort by assigning a resource such as Pastor Doug to this responsibility.  I can’t wait to see how this ministry grows and evolves.  I get to be involved too, by taking my turn with the students as we explore some foundations of the faith together. 

There will also be plenty of ways for adults to plug in as well.  Join us on September 10 as we outline more detail of the new ministry effort.  In the meantime, let me now turn around and welcome you to the family that you already are!

Pastor Derek