Godspeed to the Davenports

Published 11:14 am Friday, May 3, 2013

Mark Davenport, the former pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster, and his wife, Tracy, are preparing to move to Texas. (Contributed)

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Sunday April 27 was the last day for Mark Davenport as pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster. After nine-and-a-half years Mark and his wife, Tracy, will now call Texas home.

“I am going to be a disciple for the Lord whatever I am led to do. This is not retirement talk. I’m just in no hurry,” Davenport said. “My resourceful, merciful and wildly adventurous God will put me exactly where I need to be.”

A native “Razorback” raised in Cox Valley, Ark., Davenport has some wonderful memories of growing up in this rural environment. His grandparents had a 369-acre farm complete with dairy cows, beef cattle, hogs and farmland. The whole family was into big gatherings with lots of joking, laughing and singing.

Baseball, basketball, fishing, hunting, church and family filled Davenport’s time while growing up. Siblings include a brother four years older and twin sisters 12 years younger.

He graduated from Arkansas Tech in 1984 and Memphis Theological Seminary in 1988. In 1990, while an associate pastor in Marshall, Texas he met Tracy Staggers, a young widow with three small children: Walta, Bentley and Scarlett.

In four months they were married. Soon Kaitlin, Chandler and Landon were added to the family of children. They are all “Davenport kids” and the love he shows and feels for all of them is quite evident. Walta, now 29, just graduated law school and will reside in Texas. Bentley, 27, sells real estate in the Mobile area. Scarlett, 24, is finishing at the University of Alabama and is mother to grandchild, Melah, age 20 months.

Kaitlin, 21, is a junior at the University of Colorado, Chandler, age 20, is preparing for college, and Landon, age 18, is graduating this month from Thompson High School and will attend the University of Mississippi.

“I tend to believe people are basically religious. The defining point may not be our religious tendencies but our level of commitment to the Kingdom,” Davenport said. “A commitment of love, mercy and forgiveness can change the world.”

Goodby Davenports and Godspeed!