Thursday, November 2, 2017

Happy Holidays!

No, no, that’s not a capitulation to a supposedly politically correct version of the war on Christmas.  First of all, I don’t believe in such a thing.  It is a conspiracy theory invented by certain news outlets designed to make people angry even during the season of Christmas.     So, please join me in ignoring the false media claim that there is such a thing as a war on Christmas.  And frankly, even if there was, Christmas would win. 
No, I chose that title so that I could remind us all that this is an intense season of the year.    It’s not just one holiday that we celebrate, but many.  I’m writing this on the brink of Halloween, which is another event we sometimes get too excited about, I think.  It is simply the night before All Saints Day, which is an important celebration in the life of the Church.     It was also one of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley’s favorite celebrations.  It is the reminder that the church is bigger than we can see with our eyes.  It includes those who have gone before us.  Some of those are the saints we read about in the Bible and in our church history books.  Names that instill awe and strengthen our faith as we read their stories, the sacrifices made, the distances traveled, the words spoken, the acts of service performed; all of it stirs in us a sense of pride and a determination to stand in that tradition and serve with distinction.  Especially since some of those saints we remember are a little closer to us in time.  I remember my mom who was as saintly as they come, but was also very human and a constant reminder of the Spirit’s work with us all.  And many others who are no longer with  us on earth, but will always be with us in the great cloud of witnesses.  All Saints is a reminder of the promise of eternity, not really an opportunity to be scared of death.

But that’s only the beginning of our holiday season.  Before long we’ll be gathering for Thanksgiving in a variety of traditions and observances.  While it is a national, and therefore secular, holiday, we in the church know what it is to live a life of gratitude.  We rightly celebration an opportunity to be reminded that we are interwoven as a human community and give thanks for one another, even as we give thanks for the blessings of God.  And to partake  in the good things of this life with family and friends is a way to be reminded of a need to say thank you.  And pass the potatoes.

Then, of course, we move toward Christmas.  The Wal-marts of this world are reminding us already that Christmas is coming.  But we in the church like to engage in a little bi-focal anticipation.  By that I’m not referring to our failing eyesight, but to the call to keep our eyes on the coming horizon.  Advent is not just a countdown to Christmas.  It is a reminder that we are still waiting.  Waiting for the kingdom, waiting for completion, waiting for the true Mass  of Christ, when every knee shall bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.      We don’t just look back; we look forward at the same time.
I love tradition and I love the Christmas story, and am more than willing to wish one and all a Merry Christmas.  But I also want to invite everyone into a celebration of all the good things coming our way, all the opportunities to rejoice in the blessings of God.  Plus, as one interested in living in community with others who claim a different faith, I want to celebrate their holidays too.  Hanukah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Posadas Navidenas, St. Nicholas Day, Feast of the Holy Innocents …. Too many to mention.  Why not bless those who worship in other ways?    If we really believe in evangelism, in sharing our faith, we need to begin to understand the faith of others.  Evangelism, my seminary professor said, begins with listening.  Do you hear what    I hear?  Let’s conclude this eventful, sometimes troubling, sometimes blessed year of 2017, with an attitude of the joy of Christ.  The One who came, the One who abides, and the One who comes.  Happy holidays.

Shalom, Pastor Derek

3rd Grade Bible Presentation

We are preparing Bibles for our 3rd Graders.  With guidance from parents and what they  learn at church, the Bible will help them grow in their relationship with Jesus.

If your 3rd Grader has not received a letter in regards to the presentation, please contact Allyson at 317-780-4624 or email

Hunger, Inc. Food Collections

WOW!!!  We delivered 249 lbs. of food the first of October to the Hunger, Inc. Food Pantry.  What a joy it is to see the smiles you make with your donations.  You are making a difference to those who need it most.  Thank you so much for your action at being servants  of God.   We also have had several new servants wanting to volunteer at the Hunger, Inc.  food pantry.  The need is great and you are answering the call.   Again thanks for God opening your hearts toward this ministry.

In November, the food pantry has asked for the following things:

·  All kinds of canned beans...lima beans, pinto beans, etc. (Just not green beans).

·  Fresh bags of potatoes

·  Jelly (to go with the many peanut butter jars they already have)
·  Dish Soap

The collection dates are Thursday, November 2 and Sunday, November 5. 

Thought for the month:  The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.

Thanks to God for his Power behind each and everyone of you, The Food Ministry

Upcoming Meetings


The United Methodist Women of Southport United Methodist Church invite all women to our General Meeting Sunday, November 5.  We will get-together at 9:30 a.m. in the Music Room off the Gathering Place.  This gathering will give new ladies an opportunity to meet other UM Women.  We will also be voting on our by-laws and  the new 2018 budget.   It will be a very short gathering (about 15 minutes), so bring your coffee, tea and treats with you and come meet new friends.

Also, Saturday, November 11, from 9:30-11:30 a.m.  Church Women United will hold World Community Day.  This will be held at Vida Nueva  on the SW corner of Washington and Worman Streets.   The topic of discussion will be "Kindling the Fire of Peace".    Let the church know if you are interested in attending and wish to carpool with others.

UMW Circle Meetings
Rebekah Circle meets Tuesday, November 14 at the church at 1:00 p.m.  
They meet in the Gathering Place and collect cereal for Fletcher Place.
Anna Circle meets Monday,  November 20 at Rosegate on Emerson Ave. at 1:00 p.m.
  Leah Circle meets on Tuesday, November 21 at the church at 6:30 p.m.  They meet in Room W103.   They will be putting together care packages for soldiers.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how to improve our greening practices at SUMC?  Let’s brainstorm together November 12, in the Music Room, at 9:30 a.m. to consider ways we can honor the Creator’s gifts that are on loan from our children.  Kids’ ideas welcome.

Upcoming Christmas Celebrations

Dear Church family,

I am so incredibly thankful that we are part of our Southport United Methodist Church.  As you know, our church desires to offer services where God is glorified.  We also desire to honor Him in our worship each week.

We are in a new season as we build a team to lead our congregation into worship.  Because of your unique talents in music, singing and worship, I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider participating in our upcoming Christmas celebrations.

Every one of us was created to worship our Everlasting God.  Through the songs that we sing, the actions of our hands, the sacrifice we make as we turn our lives over to Him, our very lives become an offering to our King.  Worship is how we connect with our Creator and give Him back all of the honor that is due to Him.  What an honor and privilege it is to be able to facilitate part of that worship for people!

Send me an email if you are interested and let’s talk.

John Skaggs
Director of Worship

Mark Your Calendar

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 November 2/5 for information on how we can serve our guests.

Our last Blood Drive for 2017 is Sunday, November 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Gathering Place.  Give the gift of life and invite neighbors and co-workers to join you in saving lives.

We have a multitude of blessings that we experience in our everyday lives. Our response often is gratitude. An extravagant gratitude for the countless ways Jesus loves and blesses us. When we know Jesus’ grace and abundant love, our appropriate response is to follow His example by serving and loving others…..

December 9 we will be celebrating JUBILEE CHRISTMAS with twenty families from Homecroft Elementary.  Is Jubilee new to you or have you been part of this joyful event in the past?  Visit the Jubilee ministry table November 9/12, 16/19, 22/26 to talk with a member of the Jubilee Team about serving opportunities. We have several days when extra hands are needed in preparation for Jubilee Day.  We will be inviting bakers to provide lots of cookies for the event and many to be boxed up to go home with the families.  There are boards filled with tags to choose items for the children and their families.  You will find tags for Christmas wishes and gifts, clothing pieces, personal care items, food staples and so much more.  You can imagine the needs that twenty families might have. We each can participate and follow Jesus’ example by serving and loving Homecroft children and families.

November 12 to 26 – Interfaith Hospitality Families will be guests at Southport
November 19 – Blood Drive
December 9 – Jubilee Christmas

Advent and Christmas Eve Worship Times


4th Sunday of Advent
December 24, 9:30 a.m.
Special Worship for all ages

Christmas Eve Services
5:30 Family Service for all ages
7:30 Contemporary Candlelight Service
11:00 Traditional Candlelight Service