Welcome to First United Methodist Church Winnsboro, where all people are welcome all the time!                  (Even if it IS on social media!)

Out of an abundance of caution, but more out of an abundance of love, we have made the unprecedented decision to cancel all church activities until the Centers for Disease Control tell us its safe to be together again. Until then, we will continue the following:
 
– Sunday morning worship, 10:50 AM on Facebook 
– Drive by our Church Street entrance on MONDAYS from 1-3 and say hello & receive a blessing – I’d love to see you!
– I will continue to do a morning devotional, also on Facebook 3-4 mornings a week
– We have mobilized people to make cloth FACE MASKS that are so desperately needed by our health care workers … CLICK HERE if you can sew or cut fabric!
– And we will PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

NEED INFO ON COVID 19?

cdc-logo
 
CLICK HERE to go directly to the CDC website for current information on
testing and symptons.
 I want everyone to know … the buildings may be closed but GOD’S CHURCH is still worshiping, learning, loving and serving! SUNDAY WORSHIP will still be at 10:50 AM on Sundays but we will worship together, yes TOGETHER, live on Facebook instead of in the sanctuary!
 

We will still be checking in on our neighbors and doing our Lenten devotionals … we will still be PRAYING, maybe more now than ever! We’ll keep this page updated so stay tuned, Pastor Debbie

 
CLICK HERE to go to our FACEBOOK page for updates and a morning devotional!
 

Sunday Mornings

9:30 a.m. ~ Sunday School PAUSED

 
Check out the MANY ways to get involved HERE!
 

We’re easy to find in Winnsboro!

3-30-20 FUMC Update

Well, it looks like our social distancing restrictions have been extended through APRIL 30. No one is sadder about this than I am because I TRULY MISS YOU ALL! Unfortunately, this means we will not be gathering in our sanctuary together until at least May; and never before in the history of the world has a pandemic caused such strict isolation guidelines in order to save lives. I know this is extremely difficult. Like me, I’m sure you waited for the COVID TASK FORCE briefing hoping beyond hope we would have good news since we are blessed not to have become a hot spot for the disease and the COVID cases creeping into our local counties has been minimal. And I’d SURE like to see it STAY this way! This is so difficult for all of us in so many different ways … physically, financially, socially, and spiritually, but as difficult as it is, we WILL GET THROUGH THIS! It does, however, mean we all need to do our best to stay home. ATTACHED is the audio from today’s Facebook devotional if you didn’t see it.
 
PALM SUNDAY is THIS SUNDAY, April 5 at 10:50 a.m. ~ Parents, please drive by the church office this FRIDAY, APRIL 3, from 1-3 p.m. and pick up one palm for each of your kids or grandchildren. And please take one palm for each of your kid’s friends and ask them to give to a FRIEND! Please then take a SHORT 30-45 second video of your kids saying HOSANNA and welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem and text it to me before Saturday at NOON. We will have a “virtual” processional this Sunday morning to begin our worship service! We will ALSO be having a very special “communion” service together and I will have more details on that this week. You don’t want to miss it!
 
HOLY WEEK: April 5 through April 11 ~ I am working on our services for this special week but PLEASE mark HOLY THURSDAY at 6:30 p.m. for our worship time together. We WILL be together on Facebook or ZOOM so stay tuned.
 
WHAT IS ZOOM? Zoom is a FREE video conferencing app that allows you to watch and listen (or just call in and participate) while desktop images can be SHARED with those watching. Your device must have a CAMERA and a MICROPHONE to participate visually OR you can call a phone number and participate verbally. It’s an incredible technology that allows us to interact verbally and visually, VERY valuable during this time of social distancing. In fact, ZOOM is offering all TEACHERS free unlimited conference time during these coronavirus restrictions because the teacher and students can see each other in REAL time!  
 
JOIN ME FOR A ZOOM BIBLE STUDY THURSDAY MORNINGS at 10 a.m. ~ Believe me, this is ALL NEW TO ME TOO but unusual times push us ALL into learning new things so we’ll do our best! You don’t NEED the app to join the study. But please click on this link and go NOW to see how easy it is … 
Join Zoom Meeting Visually …  https://zoom.us/j/872980258
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
OR
CALL INTO THE MEETING:  253 215 8782 or 301 715 8592 
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
 
“LIVE” WORSHIP (and other stuff) ON FACEBOOK ~I can’t thank Ken and Elaina Ragsdale and Kade Martin for managing the required technology we need to worship together. Danny has been singing wonderful songs and Lola has been playing the piano beautifully! I’m not nearly as nervous as I was when we started (you have no idea how hard it is to preach to a little black camera!) and it is sooooooo heartwarming to see so many of you watching together! However, I know not ALL of you are able to watch.
 
1. If you have a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a tablet (iPad, Fire, etc.) or a cell phone where you can get on the internet, please call if you want help getting the Facebook app. You don’t have to use it for anything but CHURCH if you don’t want to but you’ll not only be able to join worship but also see the morning devotionals but also the daily things happening. You all have an email address and that’s all you need!
2.  If you don’t have WiFi, bring your tablet, laptop or phone to the church and sign into OUR wifi. Again, call and we can help you!
3.  If you have a SMART TV, have you set up your SMART TV to watch Facebook on your bigger screen? Since we’ll be using Facebook for our Sunday morning worship (Sunday 10:50 am) there are two ways to go from watching on a tiny phone or a small laptop to watching on your TV? YOUNG PEOPLE, help your parents! https://www.facebook.com/help/276515126152168
 
NEED SOME SPIRITUAL EXERCISE? This is an amazing resource for FREE METHODIST STUDY GUIDES for all ages if you’re looking for a way to keep up with your faith growth during this time. There is a great study by Adam Hamilton on FEAR here (available through April 19th) and PARENTS, you’ll find a children’s study too, here. Parents, homeschooling must be challenging but this will help you teach “Sunday school”!  CLICK HERE  
 
THANKS FOR MAKING FACE MASKS! WE NEED MORE! I had a call for Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron’s office today and there are doctors calling the courthouse asking where they can get MASKS. They need them for PATIENTS who are flooding their offices and they want to use them to protect their patients from each other and they are! If you need fabric, please let us know.  Amy and Penny have done a great job coordinating all of this and MANY of you came by to take fabric home. THANK YOU. Please drop them in the plastic tub at the office door when they’re ready.
 

WE NEED YOUR OLD TOWELS, SCRAPS, NON-DONATABLE CLOTHES ~ As I said yesterday in worship, people are cleaning out closets and taking their donatable things to the Blessing Box AND thankful that they have a PET to snuggle up with during this no-contact time. Our Wood County Animal Shelter cannot have volunteers coming in to do the work so volunteers are fostering and setting appointments for adoption. Right now, they have 40 dogs ready to be adopted (by appointment) but they REALLY need large old bath towels, beach towels and “stuffing,” old t-shirts, fabric scraps, clothes (not donatable) that can be cut into scraps, etc.  The QUILTING CREW is doing it all so bring your towels or contact us for how to make them yourselves!

DRIVE THROUGH AND SAY HELLO TODAY: MONDAYS from 1-3 pm through April ~ It was GREAT to see so many of you today. Wow, we were visiting the whole two hours! I refuse to let this social distancing stop us from ALL face-to-face time, even if it’s just a minute or two!  Plan to take a drive through our beautiful East Texas towns and see the wildflowers and the dogwoods blossoming, and squeeze in a “drive-by” at the church on your way going or coming home!

HANG IN THERE EVERYONE!!  This too shall pass …

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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3-25-20 FUMC Update

Today is day 10 of our 15 day quarantine and as I hear from you, it sounds like everyone is doing well!! Mary White gave us some duck eggs (yes, duck eggs!) today and they’re already gone – since you can’t always get eggs in the store, if YOUR chickens are happy and producing more than you need, let us know and we’ll share your name with those who need them!  Also … if you need toilet paper (isn’t it crazy we’re asking this?) please let us know … we have some church supplies that aren’t being used right now.

 
I could not find my notes on the morning devotional so I converted the Facebook video into an audio file … we’re still VERY much needing 1/8 or 1/4 elastic for our face masks so please reach out to your craft friends … we have a box at the office door they can be dropped there.  We are providing 15 masks to our police and we have already sent 25 to Autumn Winds thanks to Amy Moss, Penny Boice, and Priscilla Massey … Sandra Strickland has already come back for her 2nd batch of fabric and she’s doing LOTS of cutting.  If you are cutting at home (the pattern was in yesterday’s email), you can bag the 3 different size rectangles by size and drop them in the box too.)  If you want to come with your sewing machine/extension cord/thread (see yesterday’s email) you WILL be asked to stay at least 6′ away from everyone, or tomorrow we will also have patterns if you want to sew at home.  If you want fabric and/or elastic to cut/sew at home let us know if you don’t want to stay tomorrow, 3/26 … we’ll be here at 10.
 
AUDIO AND BULLETIN ATTACHED!
Do not remember the former things,
    or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
    IS. 43:18-10
 
Stay safe!!
Debbie Lyons, Pastor

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3-26-20 FUMC Update

image.pngWOW … how exciting to people at church today picking up fabric and instructions for making masks! Penny Boice took pictures and wrote instructions if you have fabric at home, and if you don’t have elastic, Amy Moss can walk you through using ribbon that will tie behind the head. If you didn’t see Facebook yesterday, Amy took our SUPERHEROES at the Police Department their requested masks. Aren’t they fabulous?
 

HERE IS MY FACEBOOK POST FROM TODAY:  Could you open the audio I sent yesterday? I’ve attached this new one as I didn’t hear from anyone it DIDN’T work! I will NOT be sending a Friday post but I hope you’ll all be at WORSHIP with us on Facebook Sunday at 10:50 am!

A LOT of people in the United States will be getting droplets of grace very soon. The government is going to give MANY people UNEXPECTED money! Even though it isn’t the government’s fault this contagious virus caused them to mandate “stay at home” restrictions, they have agreed to HELP people through the chaos in the economy that has resulted from efforts to keep people at home to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Watching the democratic governors from our two largest states most greatly affected by the disease work so closely with our republican President for the greater good DOES inspire me! They are showing that when it comes to doing what’s best for EVERYONE. In circumstances that NO ONE could have planned for or been prepared for, our government officials are trying to do everything they can to save lives!

Just yesterday, the FEDERAL government has even gone a step further. They have also taken responsibility for helping people get THROUGH this time by sending many people a “refund check” from taxes you’ve paid. And make no mistake, we WILL get through it!  

I don’t pretend to have details yet, so please watch the Corona Virus Task Force UPDATES held every day!

I want to challenge you to think about that – how will you honor God with whatever you get back! All throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament we are told over 100x to give generously. In fact, many times the amount we are to give is CLEAR. We are to give 10% BACK to Him from everything he provides in order to help build His kingdom on this earth. 

Proverbs 3 says: Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine (Proverbs 3:9-10)

God doesn’t NEED your money. He doesn’t ask you to be FAITHFUL because he wants generosity FROM you. He wants generosity FOR you! Let me say that again. God doesn’t want generosity FROM you. He wants generosity FOR you! And when you are generous to Him, he promises to bless you RICHLY.

He even challenges you to TEST HIM ON THIS PROMISE saying: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

Can you imagine what GREATNESS could come in this world if EVERY faithful person would give 10% of their refund checks to GOD? Can you IMAGINE the blessings that will be poured out on our families and our communities?

Now let me be clear. This DOESN’T mean FINANCIAL blessings will be returned to you. Who KNOWS how you’ll receive your blessing, maybe in ways worth MUCH more than whatever you give!

This is who GOD is! Are you ready to be blessed by YOUR faithfulness?  

THANKS FOR ALL YOU’RE DOING TO CHECK IN ON EACH OTHER!!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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3-24-20 FUMC Update

Thanks to ALL of you who drove through to say HELLO yesterday afternoon. I was richly blessed and my soul overflowed with more love than you can imagine! In this time of social distancing, I have missed you all so very much that just seeing so many of your faces, it was amazing! 

NEXT MONDAY: I’ll be there from 1-2 p.m. again, and I’ll stay as long as I need to to see you!

Below is my Facebook post from today, but I have ATTACHED the fabric cutting instructions for FACE MASKS for any of you that might want to come by and pick up some fabric or you have fabric at home to start cutting.  If you just want to cut fabric, you can come by anytime. Please let us know you’re coming. We should have a pattern ready to send in tomorrow’s email.

We will have a very DISTANT gathering in Wesley Hall this Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m. No one will be even CLOSE to six feet apart! If you want to make your own mask with Penny or Amy giving guidance, please come (and be prepared to stay FAR AWAY from each other!): 

Please bring the following if you want to sew:

Short extension cord

Power strip (if they have one)

Sewing machine

Cutting tools

General sewing equipment (scissors, pins, etc)

Measuring tool

Marking tool (pencil, pen, or chalk)

FACEBOOK POST TODAY:  3/24/20 

I want to start with an update on the FACE MASKS. This Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m. we are inviting a few people who can make FACE MASKS to come and pick up the material they need to make masks. In our large Wesley Hall, we will have a LIMITED # of tables set up, at LEAST six feet apart, for those who want to set up their sewing machine and learn how to follow the pattern. Or, if you just want to help cut fabric, or work at home, we can have a pattern and fabric ready for you.

PLEASE post or send us a message and let us know what you want to do as space will be limited and we don’t want people CONGREGATING.

Thanks so much for EVERYTHING! We have reached out to our nursing homes, police and fire, and our hospital and we’ll make sure they have what they need, and then we’ll ship to the Methodist Hospital System.

Now, on another note, I must admit, I’ve never spent much time thinking about fear. My kids hate watching scary movies or thrillers with me because I scream OUT LOUD even when I know it’s coming! MY SCREAM then makes THEM jump out of their skin and then I get the “MOMMMMMMMM!!”

Fear can be contagious – 

Yes, we’re in a very serious crisis right now in our country and it requires us ALL to make sacrifices, NOT just to protect ourselves but to protect our neighbors, our community. But fear cannot STOP the virus. Our ACTIONS can stop this virus and we must ALL do our part and make some changes!

What changes have YOU had to make since we have begun taking drastic measures to STOP this virus?

My daughter Lyssa lives just north of the Dallas county border and Dallas is in lockdown or SHELTER IN PLACE until April 3. This is an attempt to prevent the hospitals from being overloaded. She is committed to staying in her house, she has no job in Dallas anymore and she is now doing online video to her children’s gym members and her personal Cross Fit clients.

Change …….  

We get to choose how we handle this temporary coronavirus problem. Will we choose to power through our FEAR of CHANGE and do what has to be done? Or risk our own health and the health of others?

I was thinking about the story of NICODEMUS in the Gospel of John who pushed through his fear and took a HUGE risk! Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a leader of the Jews. An important man. A man with much to protect. But when he had heard the strange story of how a man from Nazareth named Jesus, who had changed water into wine during a large wedding party in Cana was healing people and doing other miracles.

Nicodemus wanted to meet this Jesus for some sort of explanation but he couldn’t just walk UP to him. He had a reputation to protect and already, some of the Pharisees were talking about the need to confront Jesus … sooooo …

Fearing what might happen if he DID meet with Jesus, Nicodemus snuck out in the dark of night so no one would know. But as AFRAID as Nicodemus was to go to meet Jesus, after he did, Nicodemus was CHANGED when he finally understood what Jesus meant when he said … YOU MUST BE BORN ANEW. He changed so much so, that later, Nicodemus would stand up and defend Jesus! Later still, it was Nicodemus who would join Joseph of Arimathea caring for Jesus’ body when he was taken down from the cross

Nicodemus was deeply affected by his encounter with Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to make CHANGES because he was open to the notion of a God much larger and very different from the God he had known! 

If we trust that God really IS working for good, if we believe in Him and BELIEVE that this coronavirus WILL pass. We will be MUCH more likely to survive the EMOTIONAL impact of isolation and loss.

Let’s not fear change. Let’s do what we have to do and see God’s droplets of grace all around us!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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