e-letter 11/09/18

This Sunday in worship we will continue our stewardship message series, “Defying Gravity” as we welcome a special guest to our pulpit, Rev. Mark Becker. Mark was ordained an elder in the Florida Conference in 2004. In March of 2015, he became the sixth president of the Florida United Methodist Foundation which partners with United Methodist Churches and agencies by promoting stewardship education, consulting, development and financial services. Before joining the Foundation, he served in local church appointments for 14 years, most recently as senior pastor at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tallahassee. Prior to his call to ministry, Becker served as a nuclear trained officer on a nuclear submarine and a financial analyst with IBM. He has a Bachelor of Science from the United States Naval Academy, an MBA from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and a Master of Divinity from Duke University in Durham, N.C.
You can see from Mark’s bio that he is passionate about the church and the mission of Christ. I remember meeting Mark while serving on the Board of Ordained Ministry as he was moving through the interview process for ordination. What struck me then, as now, is his love for Jesus and for empowering the church to share the love and grace of Jesus.
He is also passionate about stewardship and empowering churches to use well and wisely the gifts of God for God’s purposes of transformation and healing in the world. Suntree is blessed to partner with the Foundation in several ways, including the Foundation’s management of our Endowment Funds.  
Mark also has a heart for those who serve our country in the military. While we always have a special recognition of our veterans on the Sunday closest to Veterans Day, with that day falling on a Sunday this year, it seemed especially fitting to invite Mark to share the message. We are so grateful he can join us.    
We are blessed every day to share in ministry with so many veterans in our congregation and in our community and we look forward to honoring and celebrating your service this weekend. We also look forward to continuing to develop ministries in the church and community which serve our veterans, which is a goal in our 4D Vision Plan. SunVets is a new ministry of Suntree UMC geared toward connecting our veterans with one another and empowering ministry. SunVets would welcome you – information about the next SunVets gathering is the announcements following this letter.  
As we have said in our “Defying Gravity” message series, the negative effects of financial gravity are real. But as followers of Jesus Christ, we are empowered to defy the gravitational forces of greed and consumption that weigh us down. Freedom to defy financial gravity begins in gratitude for God’s gifts and in committing to use those gifts for things that build up God’s Kingdom and have lasting, eternal value. I pray that during this series, you will consider all the gifts of God in your life and ways that the ministry of Suntree Church blesses you and others in this community and beyond. And I pray that in gratitude for those gifts, we might all know the freedom and power of Jesus to defy gravity and fulfill God’s vision for Suntree Church in the coming year.  
Grace and Peace, Annette