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for those seeking a place to belong.
All are welcome at FUMC so dive on in! We are a warm and welcoming congregation where you can meet people, celebrate life, grow deeper and stronger in your faith, and turn energy into action that transforms the world. EVERYONE is invited and if you’d like us to meet you at the door, email us HERE and we’ll be there! 
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1-06-20 FUMC Update

HAPPY NEW YEAR and many blessings for a wonderful year of abundance! I had an amazing visit with my grandchildren in Arkansas last weekend, and I’m so grateful to Brother Henry and everyone who helped make worship special on Sunday.
Now that the holidays are over and routines are back to normal, I am praying that the commitments you made to God in November bring you closer in your relationship with Him this year! I also look forward to everyone being back together on Sunday mornings as we start a new series on the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation because worshipping together is a HUGE part of growing in our faith together! This is especially important during this time that the United Methodist Church makes decisions about splitting over the issue of human sexuality. 
PLANS FOR THE UMC TO SPLIT “AMICABLY” ~ Last week, agreed-upon details of what’s become known as the “Indianapolis Plan” (Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation) was released but none of the reports have dealt with how all this affects our church. I want to share a few clarifying statements and give clarity on how this potential separation could impact us.

First, I encourage you to read the actual protocol and if you want to read some other thoughts on the background on some of the rationale for decisions here are some links:
The Indianapolis Plan: Basic Provisions  
UMC News: Mixed Reactions
Embody Grace: How Did the Indianapolis Plan Come to Be 

BUT PLEASE HEAR THIS ~ This plan is not a final decision! It is a plan being submitted to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church for deliberation in May 2020. There are some agreed-upon principles within it, but keep in mind – only the General Conference can make decisions affecting the United Methodist Church.

The basics of this new plan are this: a new traditionalist Methodist denomination would be formed that would disallow same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons. That new denomination would be formed by the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) and would follow their newly proposed Book of Doctrines and Discipline for a New Methodist Church.

This plan would also allow for the continuation of the United Methodist Church which would remain intact with our Book of Discipline, but the restrictive language disallowing same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons will be removed.  Each pastor, local church, and annual conference would decide whether they would do weddings or ordain clergy. This plan allows churches, annual conferences, and central conferences to choose if they want to remain in the United Methodist Church or leave to join the new, traditionalist Methodist denomination. All churches would keep their properties and assets.

Now for us … I think you all know how much I LOVE First United Methodist Church Winnsboro. We are a diverse community of faithful people who love Jesus, we impact the world for Christ in many different ways, we each live out Christ’s love in relevant ways in the community, and we are generous people! At FUMC, we don’t agree on everything but we do agree on the essentials of the faith … to love God and love all people as we make disciples for Jesus Christ. 
The life and ministry of Jesus Christ is the primary way we see God intersect with the world and for me, if I want to know what God would do in any given situation, I look to Jesus. In Matthew Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’  For I have come not to call the righteous but sinners.”  Matthew 9:13
We must all learn what Jesus means when He says He desires mercy over sacrifice.

The issues of same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT persons will continue to be debated in the United Methodist Church and there will be a lot of theological diversity within the UMC going forward, as there has been in the past. But we can be part of the family and have different views! (We just finished a season of holidays and I’m guessing you know what I mean if the topic of religion or politics came up!) We don’t agree on everything, but we love each other and we would never break fellowship over our disagreements.

There are many resources that address the different BIBLICAL views Christians have on the LGBTQ issue; and in this coming year, we will explore these scriptures together so we can grow in our Biblical literacy on this. In the meantime, I would ask you to pray for me and your elected Church leadership as we approach the MAY CONFERENCE. I am praying for peace, understanding, love, and kindness and I am also praying for calm in the midst of storms. I look forward to embodying God’s grace with you!!
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN ~ Thursday, January 9, 10 am, Asbury ~ All women in the church are invited as a new year kicks off!
Men: February 27- March 1
Women: April 23-26, 2020
Want to know more? CLICK HERE for the application at the very bottom of the page. Please don’t wait if you want to go as there are preparations we must make on our end to get ready!

FINANCIAL PEACE IS COMING TO FUMC ~ Nine-Week Course, Mondays, 6-7:30 p.m., Beginning January 27 through March 16 ~ As part of our community outreach, the most successful financial management program in the country is coming to FUMC and the most EXCITING news is that for this FIRST course, a generous donor is underwriting the cost! It’s only going to be $25 pp/family instead of $99! AND WE’LL PROVIDE CHILDCARE! DAVE RAMSEY’S nine-week Financial Peace University is life-changing financial management system for ANYONE in the community interested in taking control of their debt, savings and money! We have purchased workbooks in bulk so please email or call the office to reserve a book now!
BACKPACK FOR MINISTRY RAISED $1,906 ~ Thanks to all of you who gave so generously. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” ~ Matthew 25:40
TUESDAY PRAYER TIME CONTINUES ~ I believe that prayer is ESSENTIAL for the life and growth of the church so the sanctuary will continue to be open at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. Please come and pray at your own pace and on your own. Prayer books are available on the first pew if you want them.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEALS STARTS BACK THIS WEEK, 5:45 p.m. ~ Come for Red Beans and Rice and a GREAT night of Fellowship!

WOMEN’S WEDNESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY STARTS BACK, January 22, 9 a.m. ~ The next nine-week study by Leslie James will be on the Book of Philippians and all women in the community are welcome!

NEW WORSHIP SERIES STARTS THIS WEEK ~ In the next seven weeks, we’ll explore the seven LETTERS to the seven CHURCHES in the 1st three chapters of the Book of Revelation. We’ll do this because everyone who is looking for a church is searching for a GREAT church and the early churches show us the way! Don’t miss it!

SENIOR MINISTRY RAMPING UP, Annie Mae’s on Main Street this THURSDAY, January 9 ~ If you want to be part of the planning, come join us!
2 pm … Games Team Planning 
3 pm … Special Events Planning

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


12-17-19 FUMC Update

I can’t thank you all enough for the outpouring of prayers and texts and calls after my dad’s death this week. My dad lived a rich, full life of 88 years, had six kids that he raised and sent to college with my mom of 51 years, and he was lucky enough to meet and love/be loved by my bonus mom, Joan. I will miss the beautiful photos he posted on Facebook, his regular conversations about challenging words on the daily crossword puzzles, and of course, the continuing “lessons” he shared from things he discovered on his iPad (which was glued to his body!)!
I will be going to Charlotte today, Tuesday, to support Joan and see my sister and brother from Chicago, and I’ll be back on Saturday. We’ll have a simple celebration and scatter my dad’s ashes with my Mom’s. My dad kept her ashes in a beautiful urn that my sister made for 14 years so they could be scattered together. Again, many thanks for keeping us in your prayers!
Welcome Jerry and Tracey Calvert ~ It’s with great joy we welcome Tracey and Jerry BACK to FUMC. They were married here 48 years ago and came back to Winnsboro a few years ago only to find their way “home” again! It’s always special to share in a reaffirmation of faith with those who feel so inspired in their journey. Thanks for jumping right in and getting involved!
Wednesday Night ~ December 18, 5:45 p.m. ~ The last Fellowship meal for 2019 will be a wonderful Christmas celebration so don’t miss it!  Please bring your favorite cookies or candy and after dinner, the Family Ties class will package them up and deliver them to those who have to work on Christmas Eve.
Christmas is Only a Week Away ~ Our Christmas Eve service is at 5 p.m., so please be praying for those who do not have a church home to FIND a church home here with us! Christmas is one of the BEST opportunities we have to show visitors and guests who Jesus is and who WE are so please consider who you might invite to join us!  Here are TWO things you can do right now:                     
1) SHARE our posts on your Facebook page and 2) RSVP to our EVENTS by saying YES
Let’s Be Good Hosts on Christmas Eve ~ 
Parking: Please come in as few cars as possible; if you can drop off those who need assistance or walk just a little further, please leave the spots around the church open for our guests and park on the grass lot in front of the Baptist Church, OR you can park in my driveway (309 Church) AND park in the lot next to my house, the entrance will be marked. 
Seating: Can you imagine coming to a new church for the first time and having to sit in the front pews? Let’s not do this to our guests. If everyone would move up three pews and move IN to the centers, how wonderful this will be for new people. And isn’t THIS what hospitality is all about!
Greeting: It’s one thing to say hello, and it’s another to warmly welcome and tell them you hope they’ll come back! In fact, we have scheduled our 5th Sunday event (Adler and Hearne) as an easy, non-threatening event to invite people to come back. Tell them you’ll watch for them!
5th SUNDAY, December 29, 9:30 a.m., Adler & Hearne ~ While you’re on Facebook RSVPing for Christmas and sharing posts to your page, do the same for our VERY special 5th Sunday event with hometown Texas artists, Adler and Hearne! With 12 recordings and decades of touring between them, their passion for Christ comes through loud and clear in their testimonies and music! Come at 9:30 a.m. for their mini-concert and storytelling time, then stay for worship as they will work with Pastor Debbie on a music-filled morning of praise! This is an event DESIGNED to invite people to attend a music event they’d have to buy a TICKET for if they went to the Winnsboro Arts Center. We are providing this wonderful day for EVERYONE!
Winnsboro Backpack Food Ministry ~ It’s exciting to see our money trees filling up and the money trees will be up through December so do what you can to help!
Let’s Go Camping! Beaver’s Bend State Park, March 29-31 ~ Who do you know that has a tent, RV, motorhome or who might want to stay in the lodge with us? We will be camping in the Armadillo Campground at Beaver’s Bend and have reserved Sites 13 – 20. They are pull through and full hookup sites (WES) for $29/night if you are under 62 and $27/night if you are 62 or older. We will be leaving right after church and if you want to stay longer, that will be up to each one to make those adjustments to the confirmations. These sites are blocked through December 26 and after that date these sites will be released if not reserved by someone calling in their reservation. The process to secure your site is as follows:
~ Sites are blocked until December 26, after which they will be released to the public as no credit card was given to reserve any sites. (This can be adjusted so let us know if you want to go!)
~ Each party will need to call during this time to secure your reservation for a site, paying the full amount for the stay with a credit card. The blocked sites are under First United Methodist Church, Winnsboro, Texas with my telephone number. You will need to call either 580-494-6300 or 580-494-6538 and tell them which site that you want and tell them the site is in the Armadillo Campground. You will need to give them your telephone number and your email.
~ There is a 10 day prior to the arrival cancellation policy.
~ Lodge reservation, only one mile from the campsite, can be made directly with the lodge.
There are many things to see and do near Beavers Bend including but not limited to things in the park, museums, trout fishing, trail rides, hiking, etc. This should be a fun first event. As the time nears, we can make more specific plans on meals, campfires, group activities and such. THANKS TO THE PAGES AND CALVERTS FOR ALL THEIR WORK! For more information:
Jerry & Tracey Calvert
“Cat”Mandu Needs a Home ~ Our big, lovable stray cat needs a loving home so won’t you please consider taking him home? He has been neutered, had a rabies shot, and will come with a GIANT bag of food! He would be a great indoor/outdoor cat (we brought him in over Halloween week and we could barely get him to leave!). He can be all outside or in and out. We love him but he loves people too much so we need him to go!
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst ~ But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Timothy 1:15-17 
Debbie Lyons, Pastor


12-10-19 FUMC Update

A special thanks to the Newton Family for lighting the Advent candles on Sunday. How wonderful to see our young families stand together for Jesus Christ! I also want to welcome Bobbie Henson who joined the church on Sunday. She has transferred her membership from another denomination and we are delighted to support her commitment to God!
Christmas is only two weeks away and outside of Easter, it’s the second most attended service by visitors and guests than ANY other service of the year! Over half of Americans will go to church on Christmas,  and of those who don’t, 57% said they would be open to an invitation to go. Someone you KNOW is longing to be included in the greatest celebration of the year! Someone you may come across is waiting to feel like they are included and they will be welcome! Someone, you know is just waiting for you to say, “We have a great, casual Christmas Eve celebration planned, I’d be happy to meet you if you’d like to come?”
GIVING TREES FOR THE BACKPACK MINISTRY ~ Wow, Heather Lanier Lopez was an amazing representative of the BackPack Food ministry last week, and I think we were ALL inspired to give generously to such a need in our community! Currently, this ministry feeds about 70 kids, 40 elementary and 30 middle school, a few in high school and are also providing clothes and special needs. I spoke with the Administration office and learned that of our 1,490 kids enrolled, 55% are “economically deprived.” 55%!  We have an opportunity to BE THE CHURCH this month. I hope you’ll consider giving a little beyond what you are already giving to God’s church.
9:30 am, Asbury ~ Our last Christmas Bible study will focus on the details of Joseph’s role and the location of Bethlehem in the Christmas story. Everyone is welcome!
5:45 pm, FLC ~ Fellowship Meal, and it’s my favorite … meatloaf!
Plan ahead to the December 18 dinner ~ This will be the last dinner until school goes back in January and we’ll be having a cookies/candy dessert extravaganza, NOT just for us but to serve the people in our community who have to work on Christmas Eve. The Family Ties class is asking everyone to bring your favorite cookies or candy and they will then wrap up what is not eaten and deliver it to those in our community who have to work on Christmas Eve: hospital, police, fire department, etc. We are BLESSED to be a blessing!
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN, Thursday, December 12, Noon ~ You’re invited to join the UMW at a special Christmas gathering at the home of Sandra Patrick, 621 W. Coke Rd., Winnsboro.  (Notice the time adjustment to noon. They will NOT meet in Asbury  Hall).
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE ~ December 24, 5 p.m. ~ I’m very excited about our service being earlier this year and don’t worry, sunset is at 5:20 p.m., so it will be dark when our very own Danny McMahon sings Oh Holy Night! I do want to remind you that I anticipate having a lot of guests this year so let’s be the BEST hosts possible! That means leaving the seats in the back for our visitors and moving up to the front pews to take the anxiety away from visitors worried about “what to do.” Also, please consider parking in the empty lot next to the parsonage on Church Street if you have a truck that can get over the curb OR enter the lot from the backside on Blackjack. Let’s leave the front spots in the lot in front of the Baptist Church for guests also.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  James 2:14-18
Debbie Lyons, Pastor


12-03-19 FUMC Update

What a wonderful Sunday we had to kick off the first Sunday of the pre-Christmas season of Advent! It was a joy to welcome Crystal Chandler as a new member of the church and a double blessing to see the Chandler family light our first Advent candle. 
Advent Giving Trees in December ~ Our 2019 Advent Mission will be the Winnsboro BackPack Food Program, a wonderful ministry to provide food for children who are at risk of going hungry on weekends and holidays. You can leave cash or make your checks to FUMC, marking BackPack in the memo line. Come meet the Backpack Program director Heather Lopez this Wednesday evening after fellowship dinner and find out more! 
Come Join Us Wednesday, December 4, 9-10:30 am for Bible study in Asbury ~ I love a small group Bible study because we get to talk about things in MUCH greater depth than we do in a 20-minute sermon! Let’s talk this week about the background stories of Mary, the angels and why NAZARETH is important in the Christmas story.
Wednesday, December 4, 5:45 pm, Fellowship Meal in the FLC ~ Come meet the Backpack Program Director Heather Lopez. We will have chili and all the fixin’s!
Have you Ordered Your Photos ~ We will be emailing your proof this week but you can also see them in the lobby of the sanctuary through December 15. For $20, you can get any two sheets of combinations (8 x 10’s, 5 x 7’s, wallets, etc.). You can always contact Jim Dyson directly at 903-365-2450.
Thanks for Returning Your 2020 Commitment Cards ~ I want to thank the 28 families who returned your 2020 commitment cards. Every Tuesday this month we are praying over your cards and asking God to provide beautiful pathways for you to continue to grow in your faith! If you need a card, we have them in the sanctuary and the ushers can get you one. Please be sure to put your name on the front because as you know, you will get them back next November, unopened. It’s also not too late to bring them to church!
Would You Like to Connect to One of Our Senior Adults Ministry Planning Groups? We’ve now had teams gather to start the conversations about camping and RV trips, game nights and specials events/trips. And now that we’re getting up and running, we’d LOVE you to get involved to be part of the excitement! PLEASE REPLY to Pastor Debbie and let us know if you’d like to be included in the updates and meeting announcements. Think about what  YOU might be interested in inviting your friends to attend?  Come and let us know! Mark your calendars for these upcoming follow-up meetings ~
RV/Camping ~ Thursday, December 12, 9:30 a.m., Annie Mae’s on Main
Special Events/Trips ~ Monday, December 16, 10 a.m., Annie Mae’s on Main
Games ~ Thursday, January 9, 2 p.m., Annie Mae’s on Main
Candlelight Christmas Eve Services
Tuesday, December 24, 5 p.m. 
Debbie Lyons, Pastor


11-26-19 FUMC Update

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!  As we end our season of ABUNDANCE and move into the season of CHRISTMAS, I want to thank everyone who sent pictures for our slideshows and I want to thank Art Simmons for filming and editing all of our “blessings” videos!  All the videos are on Facebook so scroll back to early November and see videos from Wanda Noe, Tracy Calvert, Don and Judy Beaty, Mike Ewert, John Hargus, Jim Dyson, Callen Lewis, Phoenix Galloway, Meredith Ewert, Ed Page, Bettye Gilbert, Amy Moss, and Penny Boice.  

Many thanks also, to everyone who helped decorate the sanctuary for Christmas. We have decked the halls and we’re ready to embrace the Child who changed the world! 
ADVENT GIVING TREES in DECEMBER ~ While we are sitting down to tables overflowing with food and wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations with our family and friends this week, let’s remember that right here in our own community are people struggling to feed their families. That’s why I’m very excited to announce that our 2019 Advent Mission will be the Winnsboro BackPack Food Program, a wonderful ministry to provide food for children who are at risk of going hungry on weekends and holidays.
WISD caring teachers and staff members identify children who are showing signs of hunger or malnutrition, and discreetly distribute a backpack of food for them to take home on weekends. The backpacks are filled with nutritious, easy-to-open food that does not require stove-top cooking. The backpacks are sent home on Fridays and empty backpacks are returned to and refilled for the following weekend.  This program is operated through the Winnsboro Community Resource Center, a 501c3 organization of the East Texas Food Bank. Donating money allows the Center to purchase the food they need at extreme discounts so please give generously through December by clipping your cash or checks, made out to FUMC, on the money trees in the lobbies.
Wednesday, December 4, 5:45 PM after the Wednesday night meal (There is no meal November 28)
PRAYER IN THE SANCTUARY, Tuesdays at 9 a.m. ~  Come join us! There are prayer guides in the front pews or just come and sit and pray at YOUR leisure!
YOUR PHOTO PROOFS ARE IN THE SANCTUARY LOBBY ~ You can order any combination of 8 x 10 sheets (8 x 10’s, 5 x 7’s, wallets, etc.) so stop by the lobby after church and let Jim know what combinations you want for YOUR families!
CHRISTMAS BIBLE STUDY STARTS THIS WEDNESDAY MORNING, November 27, 9-10:30 am, Asbury ~ Advent is the Christmas season that begins four weeks before Christmas so because of the way the calendar is this year, we’ll begin early and end early on December 18.  This week we’ll be diving into the biblical scriptures surrounding MARY, the mother of the Savior, and the angels in the Christmas story.  Men and women, come join us!
SENIOR MINISTRY Special Events and Trips Planning, Monday, December 2, 10 a.m., at Annie Mae’s on Main Street ~ We’d love to see LOTS of people bring ideas and get involved so please come join us!  (The RV/Camping group will meet again on December 12 at 9:30 a.m., also at Annie Mae’s.)
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO RETURN YOUR 2020 COMMITMENT CARD ~ Many thanks to all of you who returned your commitment cards on Sunday. I hope you found the discernment process refreshing as you planned how YOU want to grow in your faith in 2020. You can bring your cards on Sunday or mail them. They will remain UNOPENED and we will pray over them on Tuesday mornings through December.
WHY DONATING YOUR REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTION MAY SAVE YOU MONEY ~ The Fidelity website explains: “If you are age 70½ or older, IRS rules require you to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) each year from your tax-deferred retirement accounts. This additional taxable income may push you into a higher tax bracket and may also reduce your eligibility for certain tax credits and deductions. To eliminate or reduce the impact of RMD income, charitably inclined investors may want to consider making a qualified charitable distribution.” The IRS requires you take this distribution, no exceptions, and I want to thank those of you who have already directed your distributions to be sent to your church.  GOD IS SMILING! CLICK HERE for details.
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED “DECK THE HALLS” ~ So many wonderful people participated in getting the church ready for Christmas and my heart was FULL watching the organized chaos! The choir sang and readers read scripture and told stories, and we’re ready for the season to begin! Special thanks to Amy and Danny Moss and Penny Boice, and Julie Lewis and Elaina Ragsdale who went above and beyond!
It’s time to RECLAIM Christmas! This Sunday we begin our 4-week Advent worship series and we’ll be singing LOTS of Christmas music and exploring the beautiful Christmas stories, don’t miss a single Sunday!
Debbie Lyons, Pastor