Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Riding the Whirlwind - From Pastor Derek

Riding the Whirlwind

Greetings, sisters and brothers in Christ here at Southport UMC!

Whew, I’m just catching my breath here.  The world has changed in the past couple of months and I’m barely keeping up.  Our move to the south side has not been without incident or    struggle, but thanks to a variety of helpers that I don’t risk naming (mostly for fear of missing someone) we are here, we are home, we are settling.  “Settling,” notice, it’s a process.  Just like most of life. 

My biggest joy has been spending time with your wonderful staff.  As Lead Pastor I guess I could call them my staff.  But really they work for and represent you.  And you are indeed blessed.  They are a committed, creative, hardworking, and simply enjoyable team of servants.  I am honored to work with them.  They have been extraordinarily patient with me on my steep learning curve, and I am grateful for that.

In addition, I’ve gotten to know – a tiny bit – a congregation who has welcomed us into the family without reservation.  But then that is to be expected from a community focused on  making disciples, inviting the stranger, including the sojourner.  And we have sojourned into your midst.  So, thank you for being faithful to your call and to the mission of the church.

So now what?  That’s what I know is on your minds and hearts right now.  Where will we go, what will we do together, what will our priorities be, what themes and issues and opportunities will be before us? I don’t know.  Sorry, you were expecting some great revelation, some      stirring vision.  Aragorn inspiring the troops before the battle of Helm’s Deep (“There shall come a day when the hearts of men shall fail – but it is not this day!”) (Sorry, non-Lord of the Rings fans).  Instead you get … “I don’t know.” 

Well, to be honest, that is both true and not true.  It’s true I don’t know many of the specifics of how things will roll out in the near or even distant future.  I don’t know what sermon topics I’ll be preaching in the weeks ahead (Sorry Dayspring, I know that makes you guys uneasy – but I have no doubt it will be good!). I don’t know what classes I’ll teach, what books we’ll read, what we’ll gather around and who will lead and grow and who will reach out in new and exciting ways.  I just don’t know all that yet.

But what I do know is that we will be the church.  And I know we will connect as a family, we will grow in our faith, we will serve as disciples, we will give as a sacrifice and we will go help Jesus make disciples of others.  We are in conversation to rethink some of our structures and patterns and ministries.  Look for more information on family ministries coming real soon.  It is an exciting time.

In the meantime, join me in praying for the church, for God’s will to be done in this place and for us to know and share Jesus’ love for the world.  What I do know is that we will accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine because the Spirit resides in and among us.  Of that I have no doubt.

Pastor Derek


As many of you are aware from the announcement made in church, Girls with God was cancelled this year.  Regrettably, unlike 2016, we simply did not have the participation from young ladies.  

However, we do want to thank those who stepped up to be volunteers and those who purchased items from the tag boards. 

The community service projects we had planned to complete with those purchased items will still be carried out.  Do not dismay, the items purchased and donated will not go to waste!   Our youth will still participate in these outreach projects but through Sunday morning groups.  They will make the Blessing Bags that contain the items purchased from the tags.   So we are very pleased that God’s work will still be carried out, and we're happy it will still be done by the youth.


The delivery of pancake syrup and pancake mix was a big hit at the Hunger, Inc food   pantry.  The Pantry is located on Epler Road, north on Madison Ave. from the church.
We delivered 280 lbs of these items.  Thank you so much for your continued support for all the families we meet each month waiting to get food for their families.    I know the kids will enjoy the pancakes and syrup for breakfasts before school starts and after school starts.

While there, I asked what would be needed for us to collect.  The answer was canned FRUIT.  They have not had a delivery of canned fruit for several weeks and know the families would enjoy this. 

            So our August Collections will be CANNED FRUIT.

Remember that when we come to church to be fed by communion, we bring food in to feed others.   So our collection dates are Thursday,  August 3 and Sunday, August 6.  A notice will be put up in the church on July 27 as a reminder.     

Since we are changing our collection items list for this year, the item to be collected each month will be posted at church a week ahead and also printed in the newsletter each month.  I will be checking each month on the need of the pantry and then communicate that need to you each month.  We will see how this goes for this year.

 Pray for our church to meet the needs of the people in our community.    You are the hands and feet of Jesus here on Earth.

Thanks again for all you do to support this ministry.

Every Woman Needs an Elizabeth

"What is it about women and relationships? From the day we’re old enough to write our own name it’s our girlfriends who take center stage. It’s their approval we ache for and their company we desire most. Little girls giggle and hold hands while elderly women sit side by side and chatter away like happy parakeets.

Once I placed my trust in Jesus, I silently desired to grow in my faith. I needed someone to help me with answers I didn’t have. I needed someone who knew Jesus. I didn’t know anything about “discipleship,” what it was, or why I needed it. I discovered quickly this kind of connection is one all Christian women crave but few knew how to cultivate.

There’s a slice of Scripture that intrigues me about the discipleship relationship women can share. God tucks it away in the Gospel of Luke. Mary has just learned she is pregnant with God’s Son. After showing teenage hospitality to angelic company, she has only one thing on her mind when Gabriel leaves.
She must speak with Elizabeth.

The Bible tells us Mary bolted out her front door and headed straight for Elizabeth’s house. She needed someone to confide in. She desired wise counsel from an older woman of faith. She needed acceptance and love. Most of all, she needed encouragement to become the leader God wanted her to be. Only after spending three months with Elizabeth could Mary begin the journey the Lord created her to accomplish.

We shared more than girls nights out and marathon telephone calls. With God as our foundation, she became my own personal prayer warrior and the encourager of my dreams. When God is in the mix, you just can’t put a price tag on that kind of relationship. Unfortunately, she didn’t know discipleship is what she was doing and I didn’t know discipleship is what I needed. What took us years to learn together I could’ve learned a whole lot sooner.
Making the Connection

Where were the women willing to surrender a little bit of their time to intentionally disciple me? Who would sacrifice a little time with me for a few months? The Holy Spirit made sure the story of Mary and Elizabeth made the final edits into the Gospel of Luke. A tiny spotlight on these two young women reveals the soul-need for discipleship. This is why I started Grace & Truth Living, to create resources for women like me.

The truth is, no matter who you live with, work with or love, you will learn something from one another. If only we took a few minutes on purpose to pray for, share with and help another friend in Christ to grow stronger. God made no mistake when he penned the Gospel of Luke. He made it quite clear—every Mary needs an Elizabeth."
Written by Joanne Kraft

United Methodist Women's Activities:
             UMW Board Meeting is held September 6 at 6:30 at church.
             Rebekah Circle meets in September on Tuesday, September 12, at 1:00 p.m.  at church
             Anna Circle meets in August on Monday, August 21 at 1:00 p.m. at Rosegate
             Leah Circle meets in August on  Tuesday, August 15 at 6:00 p.m. at church.  

We will do an annual "Sit and Sew" meeting but this time we will be making baby blankets for Ronald McDonald House, and you only need a skill level of being able to cut and tie.  So all women are welcome to come and pitch-in to help and have a real old "gab fest." 


Each Sunday during garden season we have a special table in the Gathering Place filled with a multitude of fresh food items through the efforts of Brandon Collins and the ministry of Sumner’s Garden.  

All gardeners are welcome to contribute their extra produce to the Harvest table. All food items are available at no cost.  When monetary donations are made, the money is credited to our Faith Promise fund in support of outreach ministries. 
Often we have such an abundance of produce we are able to deliver the extras to Hunger Inc. food pantry. Fresh produce is one of the most desired items as families come for assistance. 

Through the ministry of Sumner’s Garden we celebrate the blessings we experience from sharing God’s creation.

· We are able to provide a Harvest table each Sunday with free produce.
· Other gardeners have the opportunity to contribute their abundance of produce.
· The church family benefits from fresh food items recently harvested.
· Freewill contributions add support to outreach ministries through Faith Promise.

Through our abundance we can bless families in the community who seldom have the fresh produce they desire.


Don’t miss our Festival and Movie Night at Homecroft Elementary School starting at 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening, August 4.  Many helpful hands from Southport UMC and the Homecroft Staff and PTA will combine efforts for a fun night of food, games, face painting followed by a movie which begins at 9:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to meet and get to know the children and families from our community whether you have signed up for a task or just have your evening free and would like to join in.  Bring your families and celebrate how God has blessed our partnership with the Homecroft community.

BLOOD DRIVE – August 6
The blood supply shortage in the Indianapolis area has been on the news recently.  The Blood Center teams that come quarterly to receive our donations are happy to be at Southport. We can make a difference and whenever we have 20 or more donors, we have been able to address the needs of even more critically ill patients.  One of the side benefits for the team is they are often scheduled on a Community Meal day and are invited to eat with us.  What a great way to thank them for their time and service.  Remember to invite family members, neighbors, and co-workers on August 6 to join us in worship, to enjoy the Community Meal, and to give the gift of life.

August 4 – Festival and Movie Night at Homecroft 7:00 p.m.
August 4 to 6 – Support Hunger Inc. with donations of canned fruit
August 6 – Blood Drive 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
August 6 - Community Meal Day all morning
September – Jubilee Christmas Planning begins
September 4 – Office closed
September 10 – Community Meal

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Farewell from Pastor Mark

Dear SUMC Family and Community Friends,
I want to take the opportunity to thank each of you for the wonderful retirement celebration and send off that you held for Susan and I.  We were both overwhelmed  by your love, caring and extreme generosity.  The worship services, the celebration event and the luncheon could not have been better.  The love that you showed us on that day was representative of the love that we have shared for the past 15.5 years.  Thank you all so much.
I want everyone who gave to the generous love gift and all the individual gifts and gift cards and cards of appreciation to know that Susan and I are truly grateful.  The most treasured gifts were the words of appreciation that you shared with us personally and through personal notes.  Thanks for all you have done for Susan and me.
If you are even in the Kissimmee area please stop by and see us.   
Here is our contact   information: 
Mark and Susan Fisher
534 Anise Court
Kissimmee, FL 34759

My cell phone (which will not change): 317-313-6219
Email: fisher.mark070253@hotmail.com

Farewell until we meet again,
Pastor Mark & Susan

Food Collections

Spaghetti and sauce was delivered and weighed in at 156 lbs of food.  Great job and so  needed.  The shelves at the Hunger, Inc.. center on Epler Ave were very empty.  I saw on the news recently how many people have no food for children home during the summer.  It was a staggering number of families that struggle to feed the families during the summer.    Today the people were lined up outside to get food and there did not seem to be very much food.  So THANKS FOR YOUR DONATIONS!!  You are the hands and feet of Jesus to serve others.

The next collection for July will be Pancake Mix and Syrup.  The collection dates will be Thursday, July 6 and Sunday, July 9.  The purple tub will be out by Thursday,  June 22 since July 2 is the 4th of July holiday weekend.  

August collection is Thursday, July 3rd and Sunday, August 6th.  We will collect cereal and last year your donations made a wall of cereal at the collection site.  Hopefully we can do that again. 

Thanks to all who were able to shop at the Meijer on Southport Rd and help make donations to Hunger, Inc.