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Morningstar UMC Staff


Pastor Mark came to Morningstar in June of 2012.

Pastor Mark A. Puckett was born in Amory, MS, and reared for his first seventeen years of life in Sulligent, AL (Lamar County).  His father has been a Free Will Baptist Pastor for 48 years.  Mark is married to Shelley Moor Puckett, who is a native of Florence, AL.  They have two sons, Marshall (age 8), and Isaac (age 6).  

God has brought Mark into several servant leadership roles throughout almost 20 years in public ministry.  He has served as a Youth Pastor (FUMC of Winfield, Latham UMC of Huntsville, FUMC of Tuscumbia), an Associate Pastor (FUMC of Tuscumbia), the Senior Pastor (New Oregon UMC), the Lead & Founding/Planting Pastor (The Beacon - A New UMC), and most recently as the Lead Pastor of East Gadsden UMC. These experiences have afforded Pastor Mark the opportunity to serve established and very traditional congregations, begin new modern worship experiences within older congregations to reach younger generations, initiate and lead a small groups ministry, “plant” a new congregation “from scratch,” and help older congregations transition into launching new Communities of Faith on the current campus of the established church.  These are the “real life” educational ministry opportunities Pastor Mark has been blessed to experience. 

His more formal educational background includes receiving degrees and certification from the following institutions: Sulligent High School (1993), The University of West Alabama (BS; History/Political Science; 1997), Memphis Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity; 2002), The Academy For Congregational Development (New & Renewing Communities of Faith; 2004), and The Institute For Clergy Excellence (Effective Preaching, Leadership, & Communication; 2008). His personal hobbies includes anything he can do with Shelley and the boys, woodworking, historical reading & research, Biblical archeology, and traveling to new places!

The Puckett Family is excited to be in ministry with the Morningstar Community of Faith.  We will seek to discover God’s purpose, call, and dream for us as we learn servant leadership together in order to build the Kingdom of God by connecting with others and deepening the faith journey of all those who follow and experience Jesus - the true Hope of the World!  

Michael joined the staff here at Morningstar in May of 2006. He began choir directing professionally in the United Methodist Church in June of 1984 and has since served several congregations within the North Alabama conference. In recent years, he has focused particular attention on music literature for the volunteer choir and the development of choral groups within the church. Michael has been in public education as a music teacher since 1988 and is currently the music teacher for the Fultondale community grades K-12. He works closely with his wife, Kathryn, who is the theatre director for Shelby County High School. It is Michael’s greatest desire to serve those around him by helping them develop their musical gifts for ministry to others.  Michael also finds enjoyment and interest in the areas of choral music writing and arranging, the relationships between theological concepts, Christian development and aesthetics, hymn stories, teaching musicianship using technology, and antique car restoration.

Jake has been playing music in contemporary worship experiences for the last seven years and has been serving as Morningstar's modern worship leader since August, 2012.  He currently attends the University of Montevallo where he is styuding English education, and he hopes to pursue his teaching career alonside his service among the Morningstar community of faith.  jake plays the guitar, bass, mandolin, and ukulele and is also learning the piano.  His goal at Morningstar is to bring people of all different walks of life together and unite them in the worship of our God, Jesus Christ.

Erica has served both as a teacher, and now as the Director of Morningstar's Mother's Day Out Program.  Erica graduated from Stillman College with a B.A. in Business Administration, but has spent the last several years as a daycare professional.  She brings a deep and abiding love for children and parents to this beloved program of Morningstar United Methodist Church.  Erica, her husband, and their two girls live in Chelsea.

Tom has been the pianist at Morningstar since November of 2005. He graduated in 1989 from Jacksonville State University, where he studied piano and trumpet. He has been the band director at Shelby County High School in Columbiana for ten years. He and his wife, Brooke, have two children, Tommy, Jr. and Addison.  One of his biggest hobbies is following NASCAR. He also is an avid golfer and reader. He loves to spend time riding his Harley with friends. His greatest hope is that his piano playing will bless other people, and that he doesn’t get in anyone's way of worshiping.
Makenan is a student at the University of Montevallo pursuing a degree in mathematics with a business minor.  He has completed a summer internship for youth ministry at First United Methodist Church of Pensacola where his calling into youth ministry was finalized.  Future career plans for MaKenan are to be a full time youth pastor and further the kingdom of heaven.  This is his first position as a youth pastor in The United Methodist Church and has an eagerness to learn all about it.  MaKenan plays the drums and guitar with the prayer that God can use his talents for His good.  His mission is to lead youth into a path that is an example for others to follow.
Liz has been at Morningstar since 2007 as a member, but took on the role of the church's Mother's Day Out Director for two years.  During that time, she came to enjoy the financial and bookkeeping portions of that job and when she transitioned out of the directorship, she put in her resume for the church's bookkeeper position.  Liz keeps the books for both the Mother's Day Out Program and the church.