9-28-23 FUMC WEEKLY UPDATES … let the rivalry begin!

LET THE RIVALRY BEGIN!  Winnsboro has challenged Mt Vernon off the field to see WHICH community can bring the MOST canned food goods to the home game next Friday, 10/6!  We’ll take donations here at the church up through Thursday 10/5 but all other donations must be dropped off inside the gate as you enter the stadium Friday night so the cans be COUNTED at halftime. The food pantry with the most cans will receive $1000, and the other food pantry will get $500! Let’s help our pantries get well stocked for the holiday season by bringing canned goods to the stadium NEXT Friday night, or to church on SUNDAY, 10/1, WEDNESDAY FELLOWSHIP MEAL, 10/4, THURSDAY SENIOR CENTER, anytime today or 10/5, or bringing them to the church office Mon 10/2-Thursday 10/5. Help Winnsboro win the challenge and help stock the shelves of the Community Resources Center at the same time!!

Who said ONE hour of worship in a week is enough? I want to invite you ALL to the 1st THURSDAY Eat-Worship-Sing service this week at 11:30 and enjoy a light lunch, your love offerings are welcome, and an engaging worship experience! Next week we’ll be RENEW, REFRESH & REJOICE and it sure would be nice to have some of YOU, our church members, there to get to know our guests.  Please come and sit with someone you don’t know and see what it’s all about!  (BTW, Bingo is at 10 am!)

The JOY (JUST OLDER YOUTH) Bible study WILL also be on Thursday afternoon at 3 – great conversation about essential faith topics.

BREAKING NEWS is tomorrow, FRIDAY, 10 am at Backstage Coffee on Market Street, and tonight I’ll be working on the current events we’ll be addressing. We will NOT meet on 10/13 as I’ll be out of town.

Bishop Saenze will be in Mt. Version with us this Saturday from 3 -5 … if you’re interested in learning more about the future of the United Methodist Church, don’t miss it!
Okay, TRIVIA bugs (or trivia “ringers”, you know who you are!) … our table did REALLY well last year and we can do it again!  We’re moving to the CIVIC Center this year to raise money to provide grants for teachers who want to go above and beyond for their students, and WE get to help by playing TRIVIA!  The dinner tickets are only $35, the silent auction is outstanding and I’d love you at our table!! Make your check for $35 out to WISD EDUCATION FOUNDATION and I’ll reserve your spot if you let me know you’re coming!

This Sunday we continue our look at how our passion fuels our PURPOSE for Jesus Christ and we’ll see how LEARNING plays an important role in our discipleship. 

SEE YOU SUNDAY!  (Or Friday morning!)

Pastor Debbie


9-18-23 FUMC NEWS … what blocks US in our faith?

Think about a time something or someone has BLOCKED you from moving forward in life……. 

Did you ever wonder if being blocked from those things was a GIFT from God, or maybe a WARNING from God, or do you tend to see those things as part of the normal cycles of life?  Bear with me as I WILL come back to this …….

Last Friday morning at our BREAKING NEWS gathering we talked about the shocking number of natural disasters in the world and the ships being BLOCKED because of drought in Panama really caught my eye because the lock system has always fascinated me.

Built-in 1914, the Panama Canal became a 50-mile artificial waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, which are both at very different water levels on either side of the canal. This enabled a cost-saving shortcut to 14,000 ships a year, enabling them to avoid lengthy travel around the tip of South America. After a vessel enters a canal lock at one level, the chamber is locked watertight, and 55 to 125 million gallons of fresh water per ship, depending on its size, either raises or lowers the ship up/down 85 feet so it can pass into the next lock. Today there are 12 different locks! It’s quite an incredible feat of engineering that the supply chains around the world depend on until …. it is BLOCKED.

The lack of adequate rainfall in Panama has resulted in a shortage of water needed to float the normal number of ships through the canal. Today, only 32 ships can travel through the canal daily compared with the normal 38, and because water levels are so low, some ships have to carry up to 40% less cargo to avoid hitting the bottom!  Also, the average wait time for August was nearly four times what it was in June! And guess what … this is mostly affecting gas tankers or bulk carriers.

The longer Panama Canal restrictions stay in place, expected to last into 20024, the greater the likelihood that consumers may face their OWN “blockages”: higher prices and extended wait times for delivery of goods, and fewer products available for purchase during the holiday season.  (SO SHOP EARLY!)  As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most of America’s liquid natural gas exports currently head to Europe to replace sanctioned Russian pipeline supply so fewer U.S. tankers are using the Panama Canal for liquid natural gas shipments to Asia.

So ….. all of this is a roundabout way of getting back to BLOCKAGES … spiritual blockages ……So many scriptures that address this but Paul encountered blockages time and time again!

…In Acts 16, the Holy Spirit stopped him from traveling to Asia and redirected him to proclaim the good news in Europe instead (Acts 16:6-10).

… In Thessalonica, (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 ), Paul alludes to circumstances that prevented him from returning to Thessalonica to visit the Christians there, “but Satan blocked our way.” We don’t know what those specific circumstances were — perhaps a travel embargo or illness — but Paul interprets them as being from the devil.

… And in Ephesus, Paul met with the elders of the church, telling them that the Holy Spirit had testified to him in every city that imprisonment and persecution were waiting for him as he made his way to Jerusalem. But that did not deter him from his purpose of testifying to the good news of God’s grace through Jesus. (Acts 20:22-24).  In spite of receiving many warnings about the dangers ahead if he proceeded to Jerusalem, Paul would not change his plans. Instead, convinced that God had a purpose for him to go, he “set [his] face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7), a phrase similar to one used of Jesus when he “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51), knowing that a cross waited for him there.

What kinds of things hinder or block us from connecting with God or listening to His guidance? I

Sometimes, it’s our OWN poor planning or choices … just ask Billionaire Jeff Bezos about bad planning…. Bezos commissioned the building of a 417-foot megayacht in the Netherlands but forgot to plan how to navigate the ship from the construction site under a BRIDGE that only allowed for 130 feet of clearance. The vessel was towed (not sailed) in the dead of night to Rotterdam by another route to avoid the bridge, even though it could have fit under the bridge without its masts. Some protested, “Why should people feel obligated to solve a mega-billionaire’s self-created problem?”  

What blockages in our personal lives, in our churches, in our society, in our world, might be described as “self-created”? Maybe, more importantly, we should ask how we get THROUGH those blockages. The faith of friends, prayers, slowing down in our busyness, therapy, getting away, focusing on a favorite scripture, some intentional action that redirects us?

When there is a supply chain delay, interruption or crisis, like what may occur at a vital waterway such as the Panama Canal, wise manufacturers and distributors look to identify and correct the problems and weaknesses. But if you see some flaws in the channels that deliver the spiritual supplies you need, try this prayer from the WIRED WORD: O God, when we face rivers we think are uncrossable, or mountains we can’t tunnel through, or blocked pathways hemming us in, remind us that you specialize in things thought impossible, and are able to do what others cannot do. Help us to hear your voice, saying, “This is the way! Walk in it!” and empower us by your Spirit to follow wherever Jesus leads us. Amen. Isaiah 30:21


Some great places to serve!

  1. WEDNESDAY NIGHT DESSERTS:thanks to a great job Bettye Gilbert did, volunteers only have to make desserts once a month – and let’s face it, dessert is ESSENTIAL! I’d like to thank JANET HESTER who is taking over the schedule … please let her know you can help fill in a day!
  2. Meals on Wheels:the 3rdTuesday in even months Oct, Dec, Feb, from 11 AM – NOON … all this requires is stopping by Pine Street Baptist, picking up 6-8 meals, and taking them to those 6-8 homes in Winnsboro. It’s easy to do it alone, you usually have the same people, but it’s fun to do it with your spouse or a friend. Please help be a tiny part of this very BIG cause.

Please help me thank these wonderful volunteers: 

Jessica Hutcherson           Sandra Iverson

Carolyn Stewart               Linda Newman

JoNell Newman                Art Simmons

Cyndie Ewert                   Sue Ragsdale

Tammy & Jack Maier

  1. Christmas in the Park …Saturday, November 11, 9 am – 3 pm… the crafters are hard at work on Wednesdays, 3-5 PM and if you are making things at home, please start bringing them to Asbury Hall!  Many thanks to Betty Craddock who has coordinated our Christmas in the park PIES and COBBLERS SALE for many years and it’s time to pass the baton! What does this mean? It means showing up at the Civic Center at 8 am on 11/11 to price any pies or cobblers that haven’t been priced, and arranging for a few happy people to sit at the table and collect money throughout the day! 




 Tuesday, 9/19, 10-11am, Asbury Hall

MONTHLY BIBLE STUDY with Brother Henry

 Thursday, 9/21, 3-4 pm, Wesley Hall

WEEKLY STUDY with Heather Warren on the wonderful Book of acts

 Friday, 9/22, 10-11 am, Backstage Coffee, 217 Market Street

WEEKLY study with me … whatever is in the news this week we’ll find God!


This Sunday we’ll continue in our Passion and Purpose series as we look at chronological time and God’s time and how if we’re not ready to see moments of divine time, we miss moments that make us stronger followers of Jesus!


Pastor Debbie


9-11-23 FUMC Updates … Breaking News is Back!


You’re in a conversation with a fellow Christian who says, “The news is so depressing. I don’t know who to trust anyway, so I’ve stopped following current events.” What would you say?

I read a great article by Brook Mcintyre recently who asked that question and I completely understand why she asked it! Following the news can be overwhelming and discouraging… especially these days. Between talking heads on television, moral lectures from celebrities, and rants on social media, it can seem impossible to dig through the noise and know the truth about anything. However, I strongly believe that Christians should be informed and aware of what is happening in our culture, not only for our own sake (so we can make good decisions), but for others (especially our children, our friends, and our communities)!

Scripture tells us that God is loving and that He is in control. That means that His truth will not change over time, and His truth transcends the contexts of all different cultures. Yes, there are plenty of false facts and LOTS of false narratives that undermine God’s story so HIS story must always come first. On Friday mornings when we look at the news events of the current week, we SEEK “God’s story in the story”!  I’ll admit, it’s not always clear what the Christ-like, loving response to the news should be, but in every story there is something powerful about who WE can be to have a positive impact on the world in which we live!

So how can Christians engage the chaos in the news without getting overwhelmed, discouraged, or burned out? Come join us at BACKSTAGE COFFEE on Market Street, 217 Market Street on the Bowery, on Friday mornings, 10-11 AM, and see what understanding the news through a Christian lens looks like!  We are non-political, open to hearing different opinions and we love engaging in lots of DIFFERENT news events … and there is ALWAYS something more than the event itself!



We are truly honored to come together to honor Bettye Gilbert’s LIFE this Saturday, September 16th at 2 PM.  We will host a private lunch for the family at 11 (contact Shiela Haynes to help) and we will have a Visitation/Reception for friends and family to come from 12:30 – 2 PM in the Family Life Center. (Contact me or Sandra Strickland if you’d like to bring cookies.)  Please pray for Betty’s daughters, Amanda and Jane, and their families.




The United Methodist Women invite you to join them at 10:00 AM this Thursday!



Thursday is also a busy, busy day for SENIORS at FUMC … Bingo is LOTS of fun at 10, exercise at 1, chair yoga at 2, bible study (The Book of Acts) at 3, and Karaoke from 5 – 8!



AND IT’S OFFICIAL: The NEW youth Sunday School is up and running and the kids have already named their class!  Kids in 6th grade and UP are welcome to bring their friends and come to Wesley Hall on Sundays at 9:30!



This Sunday we’re looking UP, IN, and OUT and how God, our congregation, and our community impact our discipleship! 


Pastor Debbie