Church Conference 2021 & Ahead

Dear Friends,
Every year in the fall, our church and every United Methodist Church has the opportunity to meet with our District Superintendent and talk about how our church is doing. In 2021, because of the Coronavirus, it was a very abbreviated meeting, that consisted of just a short one-on-one conversation with our D.S., Dr. Aleze Fulbright. The staff and Leadership Team had prepared some documentation for her, which was hand delivered. Among the items was a Pastor's letter from me, which I wanted to share with you as my weekly email. This was originally written last November, but still applies as we look forward to the year ahead. Here it is as follows:


Pastor's Letter

To Church Conference
Southport United Methodist Church
Rev. R Duane Thompson

November 6, 2021


It is a privilege once again to write a letter to you this year. We continue to worship and do ministry through a kind of strange and extraordinary time, created by the Covid pandemic. Just when we think we're about to return to almost the way things were, the rug is once again pulled out from under us, as the infection numbers rise, and we have to move more cautiously again and slowly.


Nevertheless, we press on. Southport UMC has proven to be strong and resilient and dynamic through every hurdle.
We continue to use our developing capabilities in technology to stay connected to our members and friends and reach many new people.

We continue to have music and worship that is energizing and compelling, and a message that is meaningful and challenging.

We continue to have classes and small groups and activities for adults, youth and children, although some things have not yet returned, including our beloved time of fellowship on Sunday morning and other times of being together as a church family. We're moving slowly and safely, but the day is coming, we can all sense it, when we will be able to celebrate some times of simply being with each other.
We continue to engage in missions and service, helping the hungry and homeless and those in need in our community - recently helping refugees from Afghanistan who have had to flee their own country and are settling here - although we're not able to be as hands on in our helping, with much of our assistance come from your generous donations which go to organizations and individuals that we support.

We continue to be blessed by the financial generosity of our congregation. In fact, in addition to maintaining strong finances for the basic budgetary needs of running a great church, we have had an exceptional first year of paying down our mortgage debt (through a successful "What lf" campaign), and are well on the way to eliminating our debt entirely by our 175th anniversary in October, 2024.

We continue to have an unbelievably talented and deeply spiritual staff and leadership team. They make my job around here easy and meaningful and fun!

We continue, I believe, to be led by the Spirit of God, who has brought us through many times of transition in the past, and who is with us and going on before us through this time.


Grace and Hope to you,
Pastor Duane