1-06-20 FUMC Update

HAPPY NEW YEAR and many blessings for a wonderful year of abundance! I had an amazing visit with my grandchildren in Arkansas last weekend, and I’m so grateful to Brother Henry and everyone who helped make worship special on Sunday.
Now that the holidays are over and routines are back to normal, I am praying that the commitments you made to God in November bring you closer in your relationship with Him this year! I also look forward to everyone being back together on Sunday mornings as we start a new series on the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation because worshipping together is a HUGE part of growing in our faith together! This is especially important during this time that the United Methodist Church makes decisions about splitting over the issue of human sexuality. 
PLANS FOR THE UMC TO SPLIT “AMICABLY” ~ Last week, agreed-upon details of what’s become known as the “Indianapolis Plan” (Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation) was released but none of the reports have dealt with how all this affects our church. I want to share a few clarifying statements and give clarity on how this potential separation could impact us.

First, I encourage you to read the actual protocol and if you want to read some other thoughts on the background on some of the rationale for decisions here are some links:
The Indianapolis Plan: Basic Provisions  
UMC News: Mixed Reactions
Embody Grace: How Did the Indianapolis Plan Come to Be 

BUT PLEASE HEAR THIS ~ This plan is not a final decision! It is a plan being submitted to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church for deliberation in May 2020. There are some agreed-upon principles within it, but keep in mind – only the General Conference can make decisions affecting the United Methodist Church.

The basics of this new plan are this: a new traditionalist Methodist denomination would be formed that would disallow same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons. That new denomination would be formed by the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) and would follow their newly proposed Book of Doctrines and Discipline for a New Methodist Church.

This plan would also allow for the continuation of the United Methodist Church which would remain intact with our Book of Discipline, but the restrictive language disallowing same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons will be removed.  Each pastor, local church, and annual conference would decide whether they would do weddings or ordain clergy. This plan allows churches, annual conferences, and central conferences to choose if they want to remain in the United Methodist Church or leave to join the new, traditionalist Methodist denomination. All churches would keep their properties and assets.

Now for us … I think you all know how much I LOVE First United Methodist Church Winnsboro. We are a diverse community of faithful people who love Jesus, we impact the world for Christ in many different ways, we each live out Christ’s love in relevant ways in the community, and we are generous people! At FUMC, we don’t agree on everything but we do agree on the essentials of the faith … to love God and love all people as we make disciples for Jesus Christ. 
The life and ministry of Jesus Christ is the primary way we see God intersect with the world and for me, if I want to know what God would do in any given situation, I look to Jesus. In Matthew Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’  For I have come not to call the righteous but sinners.”  Matthew 9:13
We must all learn what Jesus means when He says He desires mercy over sacrifice.

The issues of same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT persons will continue to be debated in the United Methodist Church and there will be a lot of theological diversity within the UMC going forward, as there has been in the past. But we can be part of the family and have different views! (We just finished a season of holidays and I’m guessing you know what I mean if the topic of religion or politics came up!) We don’t agree on everything, but we love each other and we would never break fellowship over our disagreements.

There are many resources that address the different BIBLICAL views Christians have on the LGBTQ issue; and in this coming year, we will explore these scriptures together so we can grow in our Biblical literacy on this. In the meantime, I would ask you to pray for me and your elected Church leadership as we approach the MAY CONFERENCE. I am praying for peace, understanding, love, and kindness and I am also praying for calm in the midst of storms. I look forward to embodying God’s grace with you!!
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN ~ Thursday, January 9, 10 am, Asbury ~ All women in the church are invited as a new year kicks off!
Men: February 27- March 1
Women: April 23-26, 2020
Want to know more? CLICK HERE for the application at the very bottom of the page. Please don’t wait if you want to go as there are preparations we must make on our end to get ready!

FINANCIAL PEACE IS COMING TO FUMC ~ Nine-Week Course, Mondays, 6-7:30 p.m., Beginning January 27 through March 16 ~ As part of our community outreach, the most successful financial management program in the country is coming to FUMC and the most EXCITING news is that for this FIRST course, a generous donor is underwriting the cost! It’s only going to be $25 pp/family instead of $99! AND WE’LL PROVIDE CHILDCARE! DAVE RAMSEY’S nine-week Financial Peace University is life-changing financial management system for ANYONE in the community interested in taking control of their debt, savings and money! We have purchased workbooks in bulk so please email or call the office to reserve a book now!
BACKPACK FOR MINISTRY RAISED $1,906 ~ Thanks to all of you who gave so generously. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” ~ Matthew 25:40
TUESDAY PRAYER TIME CONTINUES ~ I believe that prayer is ESSENTIAL for the life and growth of the church so the sanctuary will continue to be open at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. Please come and pray at your own pace and on your own. Prayer books are available on the first pew if you want them.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEALS STARTS BACK THIS WEEK, 5:45 p.m. ~ Come for Red Beans and Rice and a GREAT night of Fellowship!

WOMEN’S WEDNESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY STARTS BACK, January 22, 9 a.m. ~ The next nine-week study by Leslie James will be on the Book of Philippians and all women in the community are welcome!

NEW WORSHIP SERIES STARTS THIS WEEK ~ In the next seven weeks, we’ll explore the seven LETTERS to the seven CHURCHES in the 1st three chapters of the Book of Revelation. We’ll do this because everyone who is looking for a church is searching for a GREAT church and the early churches show us the way! Don’t miss it!

SENIOR MINISTRY RAMPING UP, Annie Mae’s on Main Street this THURSDAY, January 9 ~ If you want to be part of the planning, come join us!
2 pm … Games Team Planning 
3 pm … Special Events Planning

Debbie Lyons, Pastor