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!

3-23-20 FUMC Updates

Thanks to all of you who are joining together in worship on Sunday mornings. I hope by now you have Facebook on your phone, tablet or TV because it really IS special knowing we’re all together. Each week we make some improvements so hang in there with us. A few of you said you have sound problems (be sure your media column is turn up) but most said everything was loud and clear! Again, we have already tweaked a few things so it will be even BETTER next week! Many thanks to Elaina and Ken Ragsdale, Kade Martin, Danny McMahon and Lola Blundell for being part of getting God’s message out there. THEY ARE AMAZING!

If you don’t have Facebook, you can listen to the service HERE.

COME BY AND “SEE” ME TODAY! I truly miss seeing everyone, and while we can’t be within six feet of each other we can SEE each other! I’m going to be in my “temporary office” inside the sanctuary doors on CHURCH STREET, under the drive-through, TODAY, MONDAY, March 23, from 1-2 so drive by and say hello! I’ll ask God to bless you after you tell me how you’re doing and we’ll have that moment to connect! Hope to see you today!

HERE’S THE DEVOTIONAL FROM TODAY ON FACEBOOK:  We need 1/4″ elastic please! 

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Good morning. Today is Monday, March 23, and I am celebrating with you today that we have made it to the halfway point of the 15-day self-isolation imposed on everyone in the country to slow the spread of the corona virus! Wow, who could have EVER imagined this could happen but it HAS, and we’re all doing our best to stay positive and faithful!

It was GREAT having so many of you with us yesterday for Sunday morning worship. You can go back and watch it anytime. In fact, start a watch party with your friends (the little purple button under the video). I know it sounds weird but being “together” in any way we can DOES help!

Speaking of help we need YOURS! There is a vital shortage of face masks for our healthcare workers, and we want to do whatever we can to KEEP THEM SAFE! While we have the CDC compliant patterns and the fabric, we desperately need 1/4-inch elastic! Please go to your craft rooms and closets and look for ½-inch elastic. You can mail it or drop it off through our mail slot by the office, but we sure could use it!

ALSO, while these are certainly unusual times in which we live and I MISS seeing everyone, I’m moving my office to the “drive-through” doors of our sanctuary this afternoon from 1-2. We will keep our six-foot distance and you won’t have to get out of the car. But please drive by and say hello, TODAY, Monday after lunch.

By the way, I know there are a lot of emotions swirling around since this virus has changed our lives. Fear, impatience, anxiety, but please try to remember, this is new for EVERYONE and everyone will handle this differently. We all handle stress in different ways and nothing brings more stress than CHANGE.

I think I’ll talk about that tomorrow – so until then,

Please check in on each other – the phones still work – and wash your hands, stay six feet away from everyone, pray diligently and trust in God!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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3-19-20 FUMC Update

It is with bittersweet love in my heart that I tell you our wonderful and amazing Office Manager, Laquita, will be leaving her position at FUMC next week to spend more time at home caring for her husband. Not only has she seen this church through some difficult times in the last eight years, but she has also been my ROCK since I’ve been here the last 2 ½ years. 

Laquita did NOT want a going away party. She said it would just be too hard … but if you would like to drop off a card or a note for her, I know she would love to know how much she has been appreciated!

On a happy note, we have hired a new Office Manager, DEANNA ROUSSET (pronounced DEENA ROUSAY) and Laquita and I have both enjoyed getting to know her this week! Deanna has a LOT of office AND church experience, and I can already tell she’s a team player because we are being NEUROTIC about staying six feet apart in a small space, and she is so joyful about it all! Please feel free to call and welcome her!

FACEBOOK POST 3/19/20 – FUMC

I was planning to fly to SC for my niece’s wedding on March 28. She and Joseph have been together for more than five years and were so excited about their special day! Yesterday, her dream hit a roadblock. Due to new restrictions of group gatherings of more than 10, and concerned for the safety of her family and friends, she had to cancel her entire wedding.

Now you would THINK she would be devastated, and make no mistake … she IS extremely sad about it, and my sister, her mom, is also extremely sad, but here’s what Kelly wrote on her Facebook …

This morning I woke up grateful.

Last night we went to sleep grateful.

This has been a devastating week for so many people.

Joseph and I, as many of you know, were scheduled to have our dream wedding next weekend. Today was the day we were doing our final walk through and confirming all the little details. Everything was planned and absolutely perfect.

We have decided to still get married next weekend but with our family only. We are going to do a one-year Vow Renewal in 2021 when this mess is over and my Aunt Debbie Lyons and our friends will be able to attend and do our ceremony and we will have a massive party.

Kelly went on to discuss her GRATITUDE to all the people who helped plan for and pay for her special day and guess what … she and Joseph are getting married NOT next weekend but THIS FRIDAY NIGHT! They’re having an intimate lovely wedding for a few family members. Kelly is FILLED with joy because, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the one-day wedding that mattered, it’s their life-long MARRIAGE that matters. It’s about their LOVE.

How will WE be forced to make necessary changes through the restrictions placed on us during this very infectious coronavirus? Our wonderful office manager is retiring and she has been training her replacement but they have to stay at LEAST six feet away from each other and this is challenging! I’ve washed my hands more in the last two weeks than I have in the last 2 years. Not to mention the change we made to bring our worship to FACEBOOK and you have NO IDEA how odd it is to preach in an empty sanctuary!

BUT THESE ARE MINOR CHANGES compared to what some of you, like Kelly and Joseph are having to face. Look at what our health care workers and first responders are going through? They are tirelessly working to care for people who are sick and scared, and while we’re hunkered down and staying at home they’re going right into the danger zones!

Did you see the spontaneous act of gratitude in Spain this week? Right after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivered a televised address to the nation informing everyone they would be confined to their homes except to make short trips to buy supplies, quarantined people went to their windows and balconies to give a round of applause in gratitude to the work being carried out by Spain’s health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.  They cheered and clapped amid shouts of “Long Live Doctors!”

Gratitude … a word used to express thankfulness and praise NOT JUST in blessings but also in the trials of life. The apostle Paul tells us to give thanks for all things and in all circumstances even in suffering and to do everything in the name of Jesus out of a spirit of gratitude (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Romans 5:3-5 ; James 1:1-4, Colossians 3:17).

Do you see DROPLETS OF GRACE all around you? I know you might need to be FLOODED with grace and you WILL be! But maybe today you can see the DROPLETS of grace all around you. Let’s pray for the safety of our healthcare providers and first responders today and let’s THANK GOD for their selfless service!

DON’T FORGET. Wash your hands. Stay six feet apart from each other. Pray diligently and TRUST IN GOD!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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3-17-20 FUMC Update

Good morning – afternoon – whenever you read this. This is the video message I posted on Facebook today. If you don’t have Facebook yet, the instructions were in yesterday’s email. Also, while I may be in the office this week, and Laquita is training our new Office Manager, WE ARE MAINTAINING the required 6 feet of distance between us. Please keep that in mind if you have to pick something up or drop anything off.

We all woke up this morning to a new day in our battle against the coronavirus. And make no mistake as we heard in the coronavirus taskforce yesterday we are battling an invisible enemy.
 

BUT WE CAN DO THIS! We MUST do this and the sooner we make the sacrifices NOW. The sooner we get ahead of this nasty little germ and the faster we can get back to normal! THIS IS A TEMPORARY NEW NORMAL and this too shall pass!

As you know we WILL worship together this Sunday at 10:50 a.m. right here on Facebook. So invite your friends who ALSO find themselves following the new guideleine. You heard them, right? For the next 15 days (and this will be re-evaluated), NO GROUPS larger than 10 should gather. ANY interaction with another person should be at least 6 feet apart – and if you’re sick – stay HOME and call your doctor.

AGAIN … WE CAN DO THIS! If you have elderly neighbors, call them before you go to the grocery store and offer to pick up a few things – or pick up a prescription. Social distancing is not in our nature but we can actually TALK to each other on the phone or engage on Facebook together. I think we should call this PHYSICAL distancing, not social distancing because we need social interaction!

Yesterday I talked about worry (attached) but today I want to talk about fear and this is the best scripture EVER, especially for this time … get ready to write it down … are you ready  …

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear,
but rather a spirit of power and of love 
and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)


GOD did not give us a spirit of fear. We tend to muster up fear all on our own! GOD gave us a spirit of POWER, do you hear – of POWER for love and self-discipline! We will need love and self-discipline more than ever and if EVERYONE is responsible then this VIRUS … well, it too shall pass!

I couldn’t help but imagine a life without fear, worry, or anxiety.

THIS IS WHAT GOD WANTS FOR US  … freedom from anxiety but it seems the things that is so difficult today is … the unknown.  What will I do IF … How will I handle this WHEN …

If we stop to think about it, our lives are pretty much one large pile of unknowns. We take risks of one sort or another every day of our lives and most of these unknowns don’t trouble us at all. And if they do, we deal with them easily. But sometimes, we face an unknown that scares us, paralyzes us, and robs of us whatever peace of mind we might have enjoyed. Such an unknown can cause us to make terrible decisions.

Trust or turn back?

I was studying FEAR in the Bible this weekend and reading from the END of book of Numbers chapter 13:30-14:4. It’s a GREAT story of a choice the Israelites had to make after escaping from slavery in Egypt.

After they had fled across the Red Sea, God led Moses and the people to Mt. Sinai where He laid out the covenant within which God and the people would live together. This was a set of instructions for what it means to love God and to love neighbor, including the Ten Commandments. He also gave them instructions to build a movable home in which God would dwell with them.

Then God led them from Mt. Sinai to the borders of Canaan so that the Israelites might move into the land that God had promised to Abraham centuries before. Yet despite all this, the people seemed plagued and troubled by fears, doubts, and anxieties, sometimes even going so far as to wish they were still back in Egypt.

Time and again, they quickly forgot about their escape from Pharaoh and even the food God had rained down upon them from heaven (Exodus 16). Instead, they could see only the unknowns ahead and embrace only their own fears.

When the Israelites arrived at the borders of Canaan, at God’s instruction, they sent in a team of spies to check things out. Sensible enough. However, when the spies returned after forty days, they reported that though the land flowed with “milk and honey,” the Canaanites were simply too strong and as big as giants. In their fear, the people turned back, some even desiring to return to Egypt.

Despite their experiences with God, their experience of God, their faith was weak. They trusted God too little. They weren’t really sure that God would or could keep his promises. Indeed, their faith was not really placed in Yahweh, the God of Moses.

Rather, their faith was in a god of their own making, a god much too small to trust with life and death. So, led astray by this tiny god of their own conception, the people would wander aimlessly for forty years until they had died, until their children were ready to trust, fully trust, the God-Who-Is and begin their conquest of Canaan.

Trust or panic?  LET’S CHOOSE TRUST.

Watch the video on Facebook tomorrow – I’ll try to post before noon.

Don’t forget … wash your hands, pray diligently and  TRUST IN GOD.

Debbie Lyons, Pastor

 

 


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3-16-20 FUMC Update

Well, it’s a challenging time … AND GOD IS WITH US!
 
As you all probably know, the news and events surrounding the CoronaVirus (COVID 19) have come hard and fast, and information changes daily. Last week, when we made the very difficult decision to cancel all church activities and close all our buildings, we did so out of an abundance of caution and more importantly, an abundance of LOVE for each other. In no way do we ever, in any even small way, want to jeopardize your health, especially when we have the capability to worship “together” on Facebook. I believe we definitely made the right choice, but I also know THIS IS TEMPORARY! 
 
Like you, I am relying on the Center for Disease Control for information and recommendations. As of now, the “CDC recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.”
 

But I will admit, this makes me take a deep breath and my mind goes into overdrive to think about: how will we take care of each other, how will we stay in touch, how will we worship? But then I remind myself:

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

Again, I believe we have done the right thing, and your Church Council will be meeting tonight to talk about plans for the future. So I will email you all tomorrow with updates.WE ARE NOT ALONE!

First and foremost, communication will be key.
 
1. EMAIL ~ I cannot send “all church emails” from my computer, but we will work to change that this week. I will communicate as often as possible when we get that done so I apologize this hasn’t gotten out sooner. 
 
2. PRAYER CHAIN ~ As we already have 74 receiving messages by text, this is the best resource for prayers AND info updates. For larger messages, I will give you a link that you can open.YOU WILL NOT GET MULTIPLE REPLIES and your number WILL NOT BE VISIBLE OR SHARED.
Here’s what to do:
         – Send a TEXT to this number: 81010 (this is a short phone # only for us).
         – Send this exact message:  @now-pray
       
  – Please set your notifications to let you know when you DO get a text
If you do not have TEXTS, you can gain access to messages online by signing in herehttps://www.remind.com/join/now-pray
 
3. FACEBOOK ~ If you don’t have a Facebook account, please get one. Even if you DON’T want to share any of your information with anyone – you don’t have to!  Facebook is free and all you need is an email address, and it will help you stay socially engaged during a time we’re keeping physical distance, AND you can be part of worship with us! CLICK HERE for simple instructions. I will be posting a daily message on Facebook and we will continue to have worship on Facebook. Call us if you need help and we’ll try to help! If you have a SMART TV, you probably already have the Facebook app on your TV so you can even watch Sunday worship on your big screen! (Your kids can help with this too!)
 
4. WEBSITE ~ We will make audio recordings of the full worship service and a short version of the message only so you have a choice. CLICK HERE for audio recordings of all past sermons.
 
5. DIRECTORY ~ I have ATTACHED a copy of our most recent directory (you can access the more detailed list, with emails on the website, password FUMC309). Call each other – check in with each other – if you are going to the store see if you can pick up a few things for your neighbor. Think about the people that sit around you in church – they are your “neighbors!” (And send us a “head & shoulders” picture of you individually and as a family if we don’t have one.)
 
WE HAD A GREAT WORSHIP YESTERDAY! It was unusual, yes, but thanks to Ken & Elaina Ragsdale, Kade Martin, Danny and Lola, and thanks to the hundreds of people who joined us online, we worshipped God! And we will continue to worship God! Thanks to those of you who commented, engaged and participated. If you have any ideas on how to make it BETTER please tell me!
 

As of today, our worship on Sunday reached 1,266 people (this does not include when more than two people listened together!). Perhaps this is one SMALL way that God is working for good! If we use the same metrics to determine how many full views we had (total minutes watched, 4,263, divided by the length of the worship, 43 min.) we had 100 full views. I PRAY we are reaching NEW people for Jesus Christ!

DO YOU NEED ANY ASSISTANCE?  Picking up a few things from the grocery store, a prescription from the drugstore? PLEASE LET US KNOW! We will try to find volunteers to help you! I DO want to encourage everyone to stay safe which means following the CDC guidelines to stay six feet away from each other, but there is PLENTY we can do within that recommendation.

I know I am missing things so watch your emails …until then …

WASH YOUR HANDS, PRAY DILIGENTLY and TRUST IN GOD!
 

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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