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10-19-20 FUMC Update

This Sunday I was supposed to be flying to London for a few days then boarding a cruise ship for a 12-day Atlantic cruise back to Miami. Needless to say, I canceled that trip and, compared to the thousands of people who have died and been sick from COVID-19, canceling my travel plans is NOTHING! 

But I am really sad to know that just a year ago, 350 cruise ships served a record 30 million passengers in a booming $150 billion global business! The global airline industry flew 4.5 billion people and generated nearly $885 billion in revenue! Today though, with the coronavirus outbreak, consumer concern for public health has led to a drastic decline in bookings and profitability in both industries. By some estimates, airlines’ overall revenue may fall by 50% in 2020, since air travel in the Asia Pacific region has fallen 97.5%  during the pandemic.

Now I must admit, I just don’t GET the article I read recently about “TRIPS TO NOWHERE.” Apparently, as some countries ease travel restrictions, several airlines and cruise ship companies have been marketing scenic sightseeing “trips to nowhere.” These circular trips have no destination and bring passengers back to where they started and they’re designed for people who have been cooped up for months and just want to get out – somewhere!

When the Australian airline company Qantas announced a seven-hour “special scenic joy flight” on their Boeing 787 Dreamliner “for those who just want to spread their wings — no passport or quarantine required” that would begin and end in Sydney, it sold out in 10 minutes to the tune of $575 to $2,765 per ticket. Other airline companies are adding a range of amenities, such as local cuisine and low-level flybys of iconic landmarks to the “moving staycation” model hoping to entice people to book a flight.

Personally, I agree with critics who wonder whether traveling in close proximity with other passengers on a plane or cruise ship can be done safely in the middle of a pandemic, even when extra precautions but airlines have been flying — with precautions — for months now and apparently have not seen significant sources of new cases.

So you might be wondering where does GOD fit into any of this? Well, I found this lovely scripture from Psalm 55 …  

And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; truly, I would flee far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; I would hurry to find a shelter for myself from the raging wind and tempest . . . Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” ~ Psalm 55:6-8, 22

In this psalm, the writer asks God to hear his prayer, because he is distraught by enemies, violence, strife, oppression, and fraud, that troubles, terrorizes, and horrifies him. Worse than that is his feeling of being betrayed by his most intimate friend with whom he had worshiped in the house of God! While he curses his enemies, he continues to call upon God and trust the Lord to save him and punish the treacherous.

What, if anything, has the power to distress you so much that you feel like flying away to find a safe shelter where you can rest from the turmoil swirling about? When have you cast your burden on the Lord and found that he has sustained you?

We all remember that, in a way, Moses led the Israelites’ on a 40-year TRIP TO NOWHERE in the wilderness. Oh, they had the opportunity to cross over into the Promised Land, but they refused to listen to the voice of God. As a result, members of that generation, except for Joshua and Caleb (Dt. 1:34-40), all died off leaving the next generation to  enter into the land God had sworn to give them (Joshua 5:6-7).

Sometimes individuals take “trips to nowhere” while other times, an entire community, ethnic or racial group, nation, or even the world, may seem to be going in circles together, never making any apparent progress toward a particular destination, but stuck in the same wilderness for what seems like an eternity. During this pandemic, as isolated and separated from one another as we may feel, we are still experiencing similar trauma together.

Moses said that at one point: “The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything” (DT. 2:7).

Even though the Israelites experienced many hardships as they wandered through the wilderness, Moses said that God had blessed them, watched over them, stayed with them, and provided for them. He’s still doing that for us today!

Someday, we WILL be able to travel safely again. And maybe YOU’LL want to visit a place you think of as “nowhere” — perhaps a small town or one of the smaller states – maybe you’ll discover why people who live there think of it as “somewhere,” a place they love. Or maybe you’ll invite others to the “nowhere” in Winnsboro, TX, and show them how fabulous NOWHERE can be!!

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OUR ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM CONSTRUCTION WILL BE GETTING UNDERWAY ~ We still need about ______ to meet the bid but my heart is so happy to see how many of you have given from your heart to take care of the people we love! The choir hall will be shut down when the work begins but it will be done as quickly as possible! 

WINNSBORO PRAYER WALK ~ Monday, October 15, Meet at First Baptist on Elm at 5:30 p.m. and walk to Martin Luther King Park, seven short blocks. This is ALL people coming together to pray for peace, unity, respect and, love!

WEDNESDAY MORNING ZOOM CLASS, 10-11 AM ~ This Wednesday, we’re looking at the death of Christ. And then we’ll take a break in November and start back up for an ADVENT study for Christmas in December. Want to join us?  CLICK HERE for the ZOOM link.

ALL SAINTS DAY, November 8 ~ If you have family members you would like to remember, please let me know!

YEAR-END GIVING FROM TEXAS METHODIST FOUNDATION ~  At the end of this email is a great article from the Texas Methodist Foundation about special tax benefits for year-end giving ONLY available this year as a result of the COVID government CARES ACT. Talk to your CPA or accountant about how you can benefit your CHURCH at the same time-saving money for yourself, a win-win only in the 2020 tax year.

RADA CATALOG SPECIAL SHIPPING ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH OCTOBER ~ But you can order anytime to support MISSIONS, do some Christmas shopping or get a little something to make YOUR kitchen more efficient anytime by ordering ONLINE HERE.

THIS SUNDAY ~ our last message about DROPLETS of GRACE ~ don’t miss it!

Pastor Debbie

CDC COVID 19 Symptoms and Testing: CLICK HERE

(903) 342-6172  (PASTOR EMERGENCY or TEXT 972-896-5254)
 

FROM THE TEXAS METHODIST FOUNDATION:

In the midst of a turbulent year, we at Texas Methodist Foundation have been inspired by the impact of organizations like El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, the youngest food bank in America. As we enter the final quarter of 2020, I’d like to highlight the charitable provisions included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in late March.

Included in this legislation are three significant charitable provisions, only available in 2020:

  1. You may deduct gifts of cash to public charities to offset as much as 100% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).
  2. If you take the standard deduction, an above-the-line deductible charitable contribution is available for gifts of cash up to $300.00 per each tax filing unit
  3. Corporate giving limits have also been modified by the CARES Act. Typically, corporations can’t deduct more than 10% of their pretax income in a given year for charitable contributions. The CARES Act increases this limit to 25% for cash contributions made to public charities. 

In addition to the charitable provisions included in CARES, Congress also made temporary changes to retirement accounts, waiving the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) in 2020. However, a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) may still be an excellent way to make a gift this year.

To learn more, the following two articles are recommended:

Finally, I invite you to share these articles with your church or favorite not-for-profit to stimulate year-end giving strategies that provide for critical ministries across Texas and New Mexico.

Because of the tax law complexities associated with the rules surrounding the deductibility of charitable contributions, we recommend seeking professional advice when considering new philanthropic opportunities. The Foundation Relations team welcomes the opportunity to explore with you and your advisor(s) whether these opportunities can, and should, be part of your philanthropic plan in 2020. We can be reached by phone at 1(800) 933-5502 or by email at jgould@tmf-fdn.org.

With gratitude,

Justin Gould
VP of Foundation Relations