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FUMC Updates 11-28-22

Thanks to those of you who came to the first Advent study this morning!  I have truly been inspired by the study of ANGELS AMONG US and the input from those of you who came today was so refreshing!  Our Tuesday morning conversations (10 am in Asbury) will continue through December 20th so please carve out some time to spend with us … it’s great getting to know each other and I love hearing your stories!

AND THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED WITH THE ADVENT FAMILY KICK-OFF!  Sunday afternoon was a lot of fun for the kids AND the adults … the crafts were spot on to the Advent message of hope and waiting, and the movie was typical of Tim Allen as Santa Claus!  Thanks to Heather, Nicco and Brenton, and all the volunteers for working hard to make it such a great afternoon!

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Last Sunday we talked about the FEAR which seems to be a common response from all the characters in the Christmas story when they are approached by  angels. Zechariah was a priest who had all the faith in the world and even HE had a hard time believing an angel had come to answer his prayers! (Watch it here.) Are you ready to pay attention to the messengers God sends to you

This Sunday, we’ll continue to see the Angel Gabriel hard at work as he delivers another shocking message to Mary, a virgin. When she learns that she will give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, she is perplexed: But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30 



Then, next Tuesday morning we’ll go much deeper into the story and the role angels play in our lives today. 

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ADVENT GIVING TREES will benefit the CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER … it was so heartwarming to already see some checks and money clipped to the lobby giving trees.  Sadly, child abuse and neglect are common: at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States. This is likely an underestimate because many cases are unreported. Because of the stress poverty causes on families, rates of child abuse and neglect are 5 times higher for children in families with low socioeconomic status, and in our community, we have more families living in poverty than the State of Texas average. Prayerfully consider YOUR above-and-beyond giving for children in absolutely unimaginable situations. There will be a giving tree in the CHOIR hall and one in the FRONT lobby through December.



Who might YOU invite this year?

Candlelight Christmas Eve Service: Saturday, 12/24, 5 pm

Christmas Morning Service: Sunday, 12/25, 10:50 am, kids can come in their jammies!

WEDNESDAY FELLOWSHIP MEAL: I hope to see you all at dinner Wednesday night – the kitchen crew is making beef stew and I’m sure it was be DELICIOUS!  Bring someone you know who will appreciate a great home-cooked meal and relaxing time with NEW friends!


May your heart be filled with HOPE,




HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK!  I pray you all have a wonderful week with family and friends, and I hope you find ways to carry on our Sunday message (watch on Facebook anytime) to make your thanksgiving more than just a day, but an attitude of gratitude every day of the year!

ADVENT BEGINS THIS SUNDAY: Thanks so much to everyone who stayed to help get the sanctuary ready for ADVENT which begins this Sunday in preparation for the birth of Jesus. Elaina and Julie are working hard on the altarscapes for the Christmas season and all this work is to enhance the worship experience as we await the birth of the Christ child.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival” and refers to the first time Jesus came, more than 2000 years ago.  But it also looks forward to the Second Advent when Jesus will come again. In this “double focus” on past and future, we live “between the times” where, as God’s people, we have been commissioned to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as yourself”.

Yesterday, we decorated the church with evergreen wreaths, garlands, and our beautiful tree that symbolizes the new and everlasting life brought by Jesus.  This Sunday, we’ll light the first candle of the Advent Wreath which also has significant meaning: the circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end; the green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life.

The Advent wreath candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which themselves symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ. Sometimes, the candles are purple, usually associated with the color of suffering and mourning, and penitence as used during Lent and Holy Week. We use the color BLUE because Advent is about anticipation, characterized by the 4 candles of hope, peace, joy, and love.

The center candle of the Advent Wreath reminds us that Christ was born fully human and fully divine, and HE is the heart of the season. The Christ Candle is traditionally lit on Christmas Eve for when Jesus was born the light of the world came into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope. It also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we should reflect the light of God’s grace to others (Isa 42:6).

Our new worship series, THE MESSENGERS of CHRISTMAS will focus on the angels who brought a simple message … DO NOT BE AFRAID. As the candles are lit over these next four weeks, the darkness of fear and hopelessness recede and the shadows of sin fall away as more and more light is shed into the world! The flame of each new candle says something is happening, and that more is yet to come … so get ready!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!


Sunday, November 27, 2 – 4 PM, all church FAMILY Christmas Kick-Off! For the kid in all of us, Heather is planning to help start the first Sunday of Advent with cookie decorating, making Christmas crafts, and the premier of the Tim Allen Santa Claus 4 series! You can COME AND GO or stay and watch as much of the movie as you want! Everyone is welcome!


ADVENT STUDY STARTS TUESDAY MORNINGS, November 29, 10-11 am… as I was preparing our sermon series on the angels who delivered the birth messages to Zechariah, Joseph, Mary, and the Shepherds, I realized that Sunday mornings don’t give us nearly enough time to REALLY get into the role angels played in this remarkable Christmas story. And, we don’t get to talk about some of these amazing ANGELS! So, starting next Tuesday morning, 11/29 come join me as we talk about the scripture and dive much deeper into how it’s relevant to us today in the 4 weeks to come.

MEALS on WHEELS, a rewarding and easy way to serve … once every two months, members of our church drive over to Pine Street Baptist and pick up prepared meals to deliver to elderly people who depend on us for regular and healthy meals. For less than 1 hour every 2 months, we get to do something so simple and so rewarding and you can help, too!  You can work by yourself or work with a partner but please answer Christ’s call and call our coordinator, PAT ST. MIKLOSSY, 903-850-5131… “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” MA. 25:39-40

Our church buildings are closed and there will be no scheduled events this Thanksgiving week.

Knitters & Stitchers will return Monday, 11/28, 1-3 PM

Wednesday Night Fellowship Meal will return 11/30, 6 -7 PM

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

May the blessings of Thanksgiving be yours!

Pastor Debbie


11-14-22 FUMC Updates … THANKFUL!

What a great weekend it was!  On Saturday, Christmas in the Park was a huge success thanks to so many people who made so many wonderful crafts, made and served cornbread muffins and soup, helped haul tables and boxes, baked brownies, cobblers, and pies, worked the hospitality tables at the UMW, craft or quilt tables, or bought things to support the church! Working together, we have raised over $3,300 and it was an incredible TEAM effort! Special thanks to the coordinators: JaneAnne Newton and Tina Satterwhite (crafts), Shiela & Ted Haynes (lunch), Janat Erwin (RADA), and Betty Craddock (pies & cobblers).


We had so many great crafts that we have moved what is left to the Family Life Center so you will still have an opportunity to buy a few things!  Don’t miss dinner this Wednesday night at 6 pm and see what you missed!





Sunday was another great day as we welcomed 6 new members to our church! These new members joined us in our commitment to support God’s church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness!


Sharon & Bob Bakie

David Gilbreath

Sara Hayes

Tammie and Jack Maier



Tuesday, 11/15, 10 AM, Brother Henry’s monthly study … they’re moving to ASBURY so there is more room … everyone is invited!


Wednesday, 11/17, 6 PM, Wednesday Fellowship Meal … come shop all the Christmas in the Park crafts and stay for great fellowship and food! This week we’re having baked chicken breasts, creamed corn, and MORE!  (NO DINNER on 11/23)


Saturday, 11/19, 10 AM – 3 PM, Give Blood, First Baptist Church … what a great opportunity to give the gift of life!  Make an appointment HERE or walk in!


Sunday, 11/20, NOON, HANGING of the GREENS and LUNCH …  can you believe it? This Sunday after church we invite everyone to stay for just a few minutes after church to help us DECK THE HALLS for the coming of the King!  Yes, Advent starts on November 27th so we need to get ready before the Thanksgiving holiday week.  All the boxes will be stacked in the choir hall and many hands will make light work so let’s work a little then have hot soup and cornbread muffins for lunch!


Sunday, 11/20, 6-8 PM, JUNIOR HIGH CONNECT, The Loft … this is a special time for kids in 6th – 8th grades and Heather has a fabulous night planned!  Bring your friends for dinner, fun, and meaningful devotional conversations that stick!


THIS SUNDAY we’ll be talking about what an attitude of gratitude looks like … and make no mistake, being thankful is only part of LIVING with an attitude of gratitude! Please stay and help us put up our tree, garland, and wreaths after church – then, we’ll have lunch together in Wesley Hall!

With thanksgiving,

Pastor Debbie


11-5-22 Christmas in the Park is 7 days away!


This is such an exciting event and there are LOTS of places you can serve – and while most sign-up slots are 1 1/2 or 2 hours, you can pick as many slots as you want!  There will be sign-up sheets in church tomorrow but don’t wait … CLICK HERE (if you get a warning, don’t worry – anything from SignUp.com is ours!) and browse the opportunities so you can work around YOUR schedule! If you already mentioned to someone you’d do something, please confirm your support on the SIGNUP sheets or website.  Here’s where your church needs you this week …

–  Wednesday, 3-5 pm, bring your last-minute crafts or come & help price and pack items

–  Friday, 1 pm, meet at Wesley to deliver crafts to the Civic Center or meet at Civic Center to help set everything up; pies and cobblers for the sale and/or brownies for the lunch can be delivered then too.  By the way, thanks to the Coffee & Conversation class for spearheading the lunch this year (See details below)

–  Saturday, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm … deliver your homemade pies and brownies to the Civic Center between 8:30 and 9:00, please; we need 1-2 people at the quilt table selling raffle tickets, 2-3 people at the crafts tables doing customer service and hospitality … you can sign up for 2 hours shifts throughout the day

–   Saturday, 3 pm … meet at the Civic Center to bring things back to the church

This is a really important event for the church so don’t be left out! Be the one who says – “This is my Church – I did it!! 

THANKS TO COFFEE AND CONVERSATION for preparing the LUNCH on Saturday: Shiela Haynes is setting up 1 ½ shifts and if you can work more than one shift, that would be great because 6 people are needed in the kitchen at all times to ensure a great lunch! You can contact Shiela, or CLICK HERE to pick the times you want. (If you get a warning, it’s OK.)

8:30a – Prep the soup and make muffins

10:30a – Serve (and make more muffins)

Noon – 1:30p  Serve

1:30p – Serve and Clean up


We also need brownie bakers to bring single-serving brownies packaged in clear wrap or baggies as well.  Thanks for anything you can do to help with this!

RADA SALES SUPPORT UMW MISSIONS:  be sure to stop by their table next Saturday!



8 AM MEN’s BREAKFAST,  Hope Café … join Brother Henry and other men for fellowship & conversation

1-3 PM: KNITTERS & STITCHERS, Family Life Center … you’re welcome to join every week!


EVERY TUESDAY: Sewers, 10 AM – 3 PM … bring your fabric, your machines or whatever you’re working on and com


TUESDAY, 11/8, ELECTION DAY … don’t forget to vote!


EVERY WEDNESDAY 6:00 pm … fellowship dinner in FLC … we’ll be having MEXICAN CASSEROLE, SPANISH RICE, and SALAD for dinner


11/9 STRATEGIC PLANNING, 6:45 pm …  after dinner we’ll stay in the FLC to do some strategic work on future goals.  Start praying about how God is leading us to focus on children, evangelism, and discipleship in the new year!


THURSDAY, 11/10 10 am, Asbury Hall … United Methodist Women invite everyone all women to attend!


SUNDAY, 11/13, 10:50 am, Joining Day …thanks to those of you who have let me know if you’ll be joining the church next Sunday.  Whether you have never joined a church before and want to be baptized, or you’ll be transferring your membership from another church, just let me know and we’ll share the joy with the rest of your church family.


It’s a busy week, folks … fasten your seatbelt and say “YES, this is my church, I’ll do it” … CLICK HERE to be part of Christmas in the Park!

Breathing in the Holy Spirit,

Pastor Debbie


10-17-22 FUMC Updates … Remembering Our Saints

Most of you know, I don’t have a mind for detail … I’m kind of a “big picture” person so I have never developed a good storage system in my brain for miscellaneous facts and trivia. My family, however, has always loved playing TRIVIAL PURSUIT, and still, when I get together with them, I already know who I want, no … who I NEED on my team: my ex-husband and my oldest daughter!  They both have REMARKABLE memories of little things that I would never, even in the remote recesses of my brain, be able to retrieve!



On Friday night, November 4th … our church is hosting the first, inaugural event of the brand new and exciting, WISD EDUCATION FOUNDATION and it’s a TRIVIA CONTEST!  This is our chance to be fully engaged in our community for a really great cause and for a $25 ticket, you can have a really fun night, including a taco dinner, AND play TRIVIA as tables of 6 compete!

Our church is well represented on the Foundation Board so Ted Haynes, Ken Ragsdale, and Sandra Strickland and I need your help, and we’d love your support for our schools!  (But if you’re good at TRIVIA, please sit at MY table because I really need you!!)

There will also be a SILENT AUCTION so if you have access to a timeshare, a bed and breakfast get-away, or dinner gift cards, gift baskets, or anything else you want to donate that will help raise money, please let any of us know! (Check out these ideas from DonorBox)

This foundation has been created to raise money for our exceptional teachers who want to offer MORE for their students than our public education budgets can provide.  Teachers will submit detailed applications of their needs/costs/goals and the Foundation will award grants to those most worthy.   (click here to see the brochure) 

Let’s be the FACE of FUMC in our community and have some FUN doing it together!

REMEMBERING THE SAINTS WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US: You might be thinking, “Wait … Methodists don’t believe in SAINTS, do they?” Well, yes and no … we recognize and celebrate All Saints’ Day which, from the early centuries of Christianity, has been observed as a day to remember the dead and remind the Christian faithful of those who have lived holy lives and gone before them.  We also recognize Matthew, Paul, John, Luke, and other early followers of Jesus as saints, and countless numbers of United Methodist churches are named after these saints! But unlike the Catholic Church, UMC.org explains: “Our denomination does not have any system whereby people are elected to sainthood. We do not pray to saints, nor do we believe they serve as mediators to God. United Methodist believe ‘… there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human who gave himself a ransom for all.’ (1 Timothy 2:5-6).”

On Sunday, October 30th, we will open our worship time together by lighting a candle for those whose lives we have celebrated since our last All Saints Day and, any family members you would like to remember also. It will be a time to remember “all the saints who from their labors rest”, a time to remember Christians of every time and place, honoring those who lived faithfully and shared their faith with us. I have already added family members to the following list we will read in 2 weeks.


Pat Ragsdale  

Marine Shaw

June Bass 

Geneva Kennemer 

Jackie Ford  

Dennis Gregory 

Gerry Taylor 

Jack Cowser   

Judy Park   

Jay Thompson

Mickey Stewart

Suzie Hamm 

Tab Brede

Carol Dyson

Patricia Angell 

Raymond Chilson

Francis Hamacher

YEAR-END CHARITABLE GIVING: it sure has been a crazy financial year but blessedly, GOD IS FAITHFUL! As I shared with everyone who attended the Annual Church Conference, we have approved large capital expenses for a new sanctuary AC unit, and done some important tree trimming to remove large, dead limbs after the 2020 freeze and 2022 drought which could have caused damage to roofs/cars/people. This week we are beginning work to fill the large potholes in front of the FLC and fix the trip hazards on our sidewalks around the buildings. As you consider your year-end giving, and now that many of the COVID year-end tax relief programs have ended, you might want to think about how your year-end planning can help you AND your church. See attached or speak to your accountant to learn more.



 Strategic Planning, Wednesday, November 9th, 7 PM … to be faithful to Christ’s call to MAKE DISCIPLES, and after all church input on core values and developing a vision statement, we’re going to do some strategic planning to set goals for HOW to accomplish God’s plan. Mark your calendars and watch for details.

Christmas in the Park, Saturday, November 12th:  This is an ALL HANDS ON DECK opportunity to serve your church, not just making crafts but also taking things to and from the Civic Center, baking brownies, bringing pies, customer service at the tables during the day, helping with the quilt auction, or with lunch!  It’s not too late to make a few things for the only church fundraiser we have, or join the crafters on Wednesdays, 3-5 PM, and help on some projects together – they’re having a lot of fun and getting some great things made!


Joining Day, Sunday, November 13th … I have talked to some of you who are part of this church family but haven’t yet made a commitment to God to join the church or be baptized, and while you can do that any time, some people prefer not to do that alone! I’d love to sit down with you and answer any questions you might have about this because the vows of membership vary depending on whether you’re transferring membership from another church or joining for the first time. If you would like to join with other friends, please talk to me about our next JOINING DAY. Our website has details.


DISCIPLESHIP QUESTIONS CONTINUE: As a follow-up to our last discipleship worship series, this week you’ll continue to receive an email each weekday with one question a day from John Wesley’s 22 faith questions.  I encourage you to reflect on who God is calling you to be and to mediate on possible changes God might be asking you to consider in your life. I find they are not as easy as they look!  If you have a Peoples.com email address, check your SPAM folders. If you have a PEOPLES.COM email account, please check your spam folder for our “Discipleship Questions” emails because People’s is returning those particular emails to us.  All you have to do is reply they are not SPAM.


AN EAST TEXAS COMMUNITY NEED, Saturday, October 2, beginning at 9 am … at the request of Jeremy Bassett, NTC’s Disaster Response Coordinator, there is an elderly couple in Nevada, TX, who recently lost their home to a fire, and unfortunately, they were uninsured and because they do not have any children or grandchildren who could support them through this crisis, they need some help. While an RV has been donated for living accommodations, the immediate need for help is to clear the site of the burned debris.  Dumpsters have been obtained, but we need volunteers to help with the cleanup this coming. The location is an hour or less driving distance from our church so please contact  Rev. Dretha Burris, the pastor of Community UMC in Copeville, TX, for more details, including the address of the cleanup event.  You can reach Rev. Burris at (214) 212-5537.

Don’t FORGET TO SEND ME YOUR TRACTOR PICTURES … this week we’ll be looking at the Holy Spirit, IMPLEMENTS, and ATTACHMENTS and I’d love to share your pictures over the next few weeks!

In Christ Alone,

Pastor Debbie