WELCOME TO FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH WINNSBORO!

All are welcome at Winnsboro’s First Church so dive on in! We are a warm and welcoming congregation where you can meet people, celebrate life, grow deeper, 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! 
 
Sunday Morning Worship
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

10:50 a.m.

 
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watch past Sunday services and/or devotionals.
CLICK HERE to go to YouTube for
past Sunday services and/or devotionals.
 
Looking for a Sunday Small Group?
 

We’re easy to find in Winnsboro!

 

3-8-21 FUMC Updates

My family had a silly rhyme when I was growing up …

“Spring has sprung, the grass has ris’,
where then are the flowers is?”

After our severe ice storms a few weeks ago, I was wondering if our flowers would bloom this year, but God’s creation is resilient! I have already seen wild daffodils blooming all over the sides of our country roads, and how is it that dandelions have no trouble coming up?  To everything there is a season, and can you feel the spring fever in the air?

As people began coming into the church on Sunday, I looked at the few socially distanced choir folks and exclaimed that I could FEEL the energy growing! It was so darn GREAT to see so many of you again!  As I mentioned, before we release COVID restrictions, we were waiting for the CDC guidelines to come out with safety protocols for those who have been fully vaccinated, and we now have them … CLICK HERE. You will see some changes, slowly over the next few weeks, but again, please be patient as it appears most of our safety measures will still be necessary for a little while longer.

HAVE YOU WATCHED AN ONLINE SERVICE LATELY? Yes, we can’t wait for people to come back but there will always be people, especially VISITORS, who want to “check us out” before they come and/or they live too far away to come in-person! Ken and Kade have worked hard on the broadcast so please watch it … listen to the sound quality and the music … let us know what is working and what isn’t! CLICK HERE for this past Sunday’s message.

SPRING FORWARD/FALL BACK: don’t forget to set your clocks FORWARD on Saturday night before you go to bed … the days are getting longer!

CHURCH COUNCIL MEMBERS WILL BE COMMISSIONED SUNDAY: I want you to know what an amazing group of leaders we have in our church!  On Saturday we had an exciting KICK-OFF to start planning what church will look like in a post-pandemic world.  We all understand 2 things:  Jesus is the “Captain of our ship”, and our mission is clear: TO MAKE DISCIPLES FOR JESUS CHRIST.  This Sunday we will officially commission these amazing, faithful servants into their roles on the Church Council … please pray for us all as we work to do the exciting work of sharing God’s love with those who do not know His love!

Joanna Horton, Chair
Danny Moss, Trustee Chair
JaneAnne Newton, Finance Co-Chair
Mary Tom McLemore, Finance Co-Chair
Cyndie Ewert, Staff Parish Relations Chair
Ted Haynes, Lay Leader
Ken Ragsdale
Sandra Strickland
Clint Cooper*
Sue Gross*
Joe Chandler*
Kade Martin*
Judy Beaty*

                      *Starting new terms

THANKS TO THOSE WHO TOOK THE CORE VALUES SURVEY: attached results CLICK HERE, although I was disappointed that only 9 congregation members shared their thoughts, the Church Council was well represented (in blue).  We will be focusing to grow our top 6 ASPIRATIONAL categories which just happen to line-up beautifully with our mission, to MAKE DISCIPLES! (I love it when He affirms that we’re on the right track!) Please call if you have questions!

CRAFTERS MEET THIS TUESDAY, 9 am, Asbury … CRAFTERS are excited about starting to gather again on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 9 am. We’re getting ready for Christmas in the Park, a great fundraiser for the church so won’t YOU please consider joining them?  Or, you could start making some good quality, affordable, “Etsy” saleable crafts (you crafters know all about Etsy, right?) at home! Remember …what we put out to sell reflects who we are so let’s be thoughtful and creative! 

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN: Thursday, March 11, 10 am, Asbury Hall … if you’re looking for fellowship with a heart for mission, join UMW this week! Sandra Patrick will give a presentation on women who have been influential in the UMW.  All are welcome!

PLEASE CONSIDER GIVING BLOOD: Thursday, April 8, 10 am -3 pm, we’re partnering again with First Baptist to bring TWO bloodmobiles to Winnsboro … they do FREE Covid-Antigen testing when you give blood so make an appointment today!

PLANNING AHEAD FOR EASTER?

  • 3/28 PALM SUNDAY, 10:50 am … children will meet in the lobby at 10:45 to carry the palm branches through the church.
  •  4/1 HOLY THURSDAY, 6:30 pm … join us in the sanctuary to remember the Last Supper.
  • 4/4 EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE, 6:50 am … at the Ragsdale’s, 270 CR 4228
      • TRADITIONAL SERVICE, 10:50 am … in the sanctuary, Adler & Hearn will help us celebrate.

THIS SUNDAY we move into a critical turning point in Mark’s Gospel as we now begin the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem.  Chapters 8, 9 and 10 make up the structural center of this gospel and as we begin the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus predicts His death.

And just a reminder, we’re so excited to see people coming back but please be flexible where you sit because half of the pews are still closed so you may not be able to sit where you used to sit.  But I’d love to see more of you upfront with me!  KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR GUESTS, TOO! 

If I don’t “see” you on ZOOM this Wednesday, I’ll see (or “see”) you Sunday!

In Christ Alone,
Pastor Debbie


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3-4-21 FUMC Gathering Updates

With the more spring-like temperatures upon us, and Easter now just 4 weeks away I’m sure we all have a sense of HOPE that God is making all things new!  COVID vaccines are up, cases are down and we can’t wait to be back in church together again!
 
While Governor Abbot has opened all businesses to 100% and removed the mask mandates, my parents had an expression … JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD!  Yes, people have to be responsible for their own behaviors but we also have to be mindful to take care of each other!  Remember .. not everyone has had vaccines or has antibodies. 
 
We ALL want to get back to 100% as soon as we can and we will be considering how to start bringing things back incrementally – so please be patient.  We have already loosened the mask mandate so you only have to wear masks in and out of the buildings or when walking around and talking to people.  We will still disinfect hands and maintain social distancing but over the next few weeks we hope to see more and more things change.
 
Attached (CLICK HERE) is a letter from Bishop Mike McKee suggesting we not rush back to “normal”. He says”for the time being – continue doing what you have been doing as we all remain committed to “do no harm.” 
 
Please continue to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY that things get BETTER and BETTER and BETTER!
 
Pastor Debbie

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3-1-21 FUMC Updates

This week Shiela Haynes told me she was struggling to keep up with her passion for photographing high school sports because both the boys AND the girl’s teams were moving forward AND … BASEBALL WAS STARTING!  Yikes!  Where is this year going!

This reminded me of an article I read about one of our GREAT baseball legends, Hank Aaron, who died on January 22 at age 86. He is remembered not only for record-setting achievements on the ballfield, but also for humility, kindness, perseverance, grace, and faith! Many described him as being “the salt of the earth”! Hhmmm, I wondered … the salt of the earth … who do I know that I could describe like that today?  (The  rest of my devotional, CLICK HERE)

CRAFTERS ARE GETTING READY TO CRAFT AGAIN: Tuesday, 3/2, 9 am, Asbury Hall …we apologize for the late notice but the minute it was confirmed that Christmas in the Park will be back this year (NOVEMBER 13th), our crafters were ready to start getting a new plan in place! If you can’t come tomorrow please start thinking about your ideas and share them with Carla Chitsey.

CHANGE IN “MASK” PLANS: due to the drop in COVID cases and hospitalizations in East Texas, masks will only be required IN and OUT of our buildings or whenever you are “walking around”. We will still maintain 6′ social distancing and hand disinfecting but please pray that more and more people getting vaccinated will be able to start coming back to church … we miss MANY of you!!

CALENDAR CLICK HERE … we try to keep the calendar updated with what we know about so if you see things that are incorrect or things you want to add/delete, please let me know!  The link to join the WEDNESDAY Lent study is also there … this week we’re addressing WORST BABY NAMES EVER (and here’s something to make you think …“The LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, marry a prostitute and have children of prostitution, for the people of the land commit great prostitution by deserting the LORD’ ” (Hosea 1:2). YUP … what was God thinking?

MARK’S GOSPEL CONTINUES … yesterday we talked about MIRACLES (Reflection Questions, CLICK HERE) and this Sunday, 3/7 we’ll move into chapter 7 with a particular focus on the 2nd half of the chapter. If you’re still staying home, you can always watch on YouTube if you don’t have Facebook.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Debbie


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2-22-21 FUMC Update

What a GORGEOUS day it is today and even though it’s on the cool side, it’s amazing how WARM it feels after such a frigid week!  I have only heard from one family that had no water for the week (and they assured me it was “no problem” because they have handy people in their family who could fix it) and I hope those of you who were without hot water or water for a day or two are all thawed out!  Please let us know how you’re doing or if you need any help!

As I told you in church yesterday, we kept close eyes on our buildings through the ice storm and fortunately, Ken, Conner & Cheyanne walked the building again on Saturday morning and, low and behold, the Wesley Hall dishwasher must have JUST started to leak because the water hadn’t even hit the center of the kitchen!  Fortunately, we got the water turned off, mopped up the water, dried off the floors and it seems we’ll only need to replace the dishwasher!  I AM SO GRATEFUL!!

I spoke to Brother David last night at 1st Baptist and they, too, were able to be on top of their broken pipe damage quickly – I asked what we could do to help, and he said they think they have it managed. I AM SO GRATEFUL to have such a good working relationship with our neighbors doing God’s work!

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL … I must admit that while I spend very little time on Facebook, I did love seeing all your pictures in the snow last week! Some of you were trying to get a tiny bit of fresh air while appreciating the historic amount of snow we had! As the snow and ice began to melt, (it’s going to be 70 tomorrow!) most of us enjoyed the fact that we won’t likely have snow like this again for an awfully long time! Halleluiah!

For artists out there, our temperatures last week were too cold, and our snow was too powdery to see any great snow sculptures, but I came across some SPECTAULAR snow art on the internet! Did you know that for 30 years, almost every year in January there has been an International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, CO.?  Teams from around the world compete to hand-carve 20-ton blocks of snow into enormous, intricate works of art and artists are only allowed to use hand tools, creativity, and inspiration to bring their ideas to life! They are quite incredible, (check out this 1 minute VIDEO) … see the pictures and the rest of the devotional (CLICK HERE).

WIND IN THE WILDERNESS, Lenten Bible Study, Wednesday, 10 AM … last week we talked about how the Prophet Isaiah saw the winds of change coming and this week we’ll explore Jeremiah 23 and look at STICKS and STONES. Sign in and help videos on the calendar.

SANCTUARY OPEN FOR PRAYER: Tuesday mornings, 9 am – 10:30 am … prayer guides are in the 1st pew in front of the pulpit or take time to “be still and know that God is God”!

LENT DEVOTIONALS ATTACHED:  yesterday, February 21, was the 1st Sunday of Lent and we packed a LOT into the morning!  You can watch the message on YouTube or the entire service on Facebook.  You can always find the Mark reflections questions on the website but I also want to thank DON BEATY who shared Lent reflection questions for ALL the 6 weeks of Lent … THANK YOU DON! 

This Sunday we’ll be looking at MIRACLES and their MEANINGS in Mark … if you have been staying at home to keep safe but have now received your 2 COVID vaccines, we’d love to see you back!

Many blessings,
Pastor Debbie


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2-16-21 FUMC Updates – Buildings Remain Closed Through Friday

Brrrrrrr!!! Today is Fat Tuesday, the day before the sacrificial season of Lent begins … this is the day of Mardi Gras and last-minute BINGING before the fasting begins. But today? Well, as if COVID didn’t damper the celebratory spirit enough, here we are like bears hibernating in winter, locked in our homes trying to stay warm! I’ve closed all my blinds to keep as much heat in as I can, I’ve closed the vents in the rooms I do not use, I cooked a few things that would require a stove (knowing that keeping things COLD wouldn’t be a problem), and with no electricity for the last 2 hours this morning, it’s been darker than it WOULD be on a normal day!  Who knew Texas could get this much snow and have such bitterly cold temperatures!

I have heard from some of you who have been without electricity for HOURS and HOURS and your spirits are good and you’re doing your best to stay warm! I know we’ve been told to prepare for rolling blackouts and I pray that all of you have everything you need to be safe and sound in the coming days … please let me know if you DO need anything!  The forecast is warning us that it could be difficult through mid-Friday but … to everything there is a season and throughout history, some seasons are a little tougher than others! This too shall pass!!

During my devotion time this morning I came across this scripture from JOB … it reminds me that God created the seasons, He knows what He’s doing and when we trust Him, we also know that amid the ICE AND SNOW, He is always working for good … always!!!

God roars with his wondrous voice;
    he does great things we can’t know.
He says to the snow, “Fall to earth,”
    and to the downpour of rain, “Be a mighty shower.”
He stamps the hand of every person
    so all can know his work.
The wild beast enters its lair,
    lies down in its den.
The storm comes from its chamber,
    the cold from the north wind.
By God’s breath ice forms;
    water’s expanse becomes solid.
He also fills clouds with moisture;
    his lightning scatters clouds.
He overturns the circling clouds;
    by his guidance they do their work,
    doing everything he commands over the entire earth.
Whether for punishment, for his world,
        or for kindness,
    God can make it all happen. JOB 37:5-13

BUILDINGS WILL REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH FRIDAY, 2/19 …this is certainly no surprise, but it does mean that our Ash Wednesday service will be on Facebook NOT in the sanctuary.

WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY? 2/17, 6:30 PM, Facebook LIVE … I hope you’ll all plan to make time for this incredibly special and sacred service that begins the Lent season. If you still do not have Facebook to watch it with us LIVE, it will be on YouTube as soon thereafter as we can get it uploaded. Throughout church history Christians have used the 40 days before Easter, (not including the 6 Sundays), to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us and to prepare for the glorious resurrection! We do this by intentional focus on fasting, prayer, penance, almsgiving, devotion, and study. It begins with Ash Wednesday, reminding us that because of sin, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, forced to live lives with toil, pain & trouble, and then ultimately die. And yet, in God’s mercy and grace, He sent His son to offer us FORGIVENESS and return to us the gift of His presence in ETERNAL LIFE.

On Wednesday night we’ll impose ashes on our foreheads together … while you can use a drop of simple olive oil, please light a candle at the beginning of the service as part of your sacred space, then at the end, you will blow that candle out and when the wick is cool, you can use the ash from the wick. If you don’t have a candle, you can use a match or a lighter to burn the bottom of a can from your cupboard and rub off the ‘SOOT’ when the can is cool.  This is all symbolic but the symbolism, which we’ll talk in-depth about on Wednesday night, is powerful.

ZOOM LENT STUDY WEDNESDAY, 2/17 10 AM … we begin our WIND IN THE WILDERNESS study with Isaiah who sees the winds of the Holy Spirit blowing in the worst of times.  The analogy of a magnificent skyscraper beginning with a deep hole in the ground is where we’ll begin so please join us … get the info on the calendar HERE.

I’m sending this email in the moments the electricity is now back on … I will now take off 1 of my 3 pair of socks, 2 of my 3 sweatshirts and my coat, and my “fingerless” mittens … make a cup of coffee and heat up some soup … and most importantly, take time to be GRATEFUL for electricity which I have taken for granted!!

Please call if you need anything!
Pastor Debbie


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