Reaching beyond our church walls
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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2-5-19 FUMC Updates

I have been extremely humbled this week … I came home late last Wednesday night after an intense 3 1/2 day Board of Ministry meeting where we interviewed 18 potential new candidates to become ordained pastors in the United Methodist Church. It’s quite amazing to see how the Holy Spirit works in this important discernment process – I can’t explain it, but it’s powerful and it’s truly based on holy conferencing among the lay leaders and clergy on the Board. It’s painful to tell candidates they aren’t quite ready … this year we had 6 who we hope will come back next year. But I am so excited to tell you that the 12 people we referred for commissioning are AMAZING!! They have incredible VISION for the future of what the Church will look like in this changing world and they understand that making disciples for Jesus Christ requires some innovating ideas. Please say a prayer for all 18 of these people who are called to serve Christ in the years to come!

I did, however, come home exhausted and … SICK!  Oh, I may have had a slight cold in years gone by … I remember having strep throat when I was 16, but I don’t even have a thermometer in my house because I’m fortunate to have a good immune system! But when I got up with a fever on Monday, I broke down and went to the doctor and learned I had a viral lung infection … wow, this has knocked me off my feet!!  I say I feel humbled because I know I’m going to feel miserable for another day or so, but there are people who struggle every, single day with health challenges that are MUCH more difficult than this! Please, please, please … call people you have not seen in church, write a note to someone you know is struggling, or drop by and see someone from your Sunday school class or choir who might not be feeling that great.


We have 3 adult Sunday school groups that meet on Sunday mornings where relationships grow deeper and people study together to strengthen their faith. They all welcome visitors ANYTIME so why not visit them and see if one of them might be right for you? If you haven’t found a small group to plug into yet, please consider being part of a new class that Amy Moss will be starting at the end of this month. What might that look like? What would inspire YOU to belong? Let’s talk about it on Sunday, February 17th at 10 AM … come meet new people and share your thoughts about what this new class might look like.


We’re very excited to roll out the details on our NEW Endowment Fund!  As approved by the church membership last October, the $200,000 gift from the Milner Estate has been used to start a NEW Endowment Fund to enable people to give to the church in a way that is socially faithful to further our mission: TO MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST. What is it? How does it work? Why have we done this? After dinner on, Wednesday, February 20th, come meet Rev. Carol Montgomery from the Texas Methodist Foundation and she’ll explain it all with our new Endowment Committee.


God has answered our prayers by sending us 2 excellent candidates for our position of MUSIC MINISTER. Representatives from our Staff Parish Relation team are finishing interviews this week and we hope to be making an offer soon. Won’t you please pray with me that God’s hand continues to guide our decision making process and that our new Music Minister will be a wonderful addition to our worship experience.

We have time to thank Judy Beaty appropriately for all she has done over the last 2 years to lead and guide our choir but let me begin now … JUDY BEATY YOU ARE AMAZING!!  Judy’s selfless gift to help the church through this time has been absolutely incredible and while I know she is looking forward to turning over the reigns, I will always rely on her for her knowledge and ideas … she truly IS amazing!!


If you miss a week of our Sunday study on the Book of Ephesians you can listen on the website (CLICK HERE) or watch the VIDEO on your Facebook (just scroll to ANY Sunday and you’ll find them!) This Sunday we’re continuing Ephesians Chapter 2 … our focus will be on verses 11-22 so you might want to read the whole chapter. (HERE)

Debbie Lyons, Pastor
First United Methodist Church Winnsboro
301 Church Street, Winnsboro, TX. 75494
CLICK HERE for our Facebook


1-14-19 FUMC Updates

What an exciting worship we had yesterday!! The Spirit was hard at work and it was so wonderful to see so many people there and quite a few NEW faces! (104 people there!) It makes a BIG difference when the “whole family is at the table” so don’t miss the movement that Jesus is orchestrating!

We are full steam ahead into the new year and with the installation of our new CHURCH COUNCIL, I have been overseeing the “passing of the baton” from former leaders to new leaders! This leadership team is the group of people, elected at the all church CHARGE CONFERENCE in the fall, to provide for planning and implementation of a program for nurturing, outreach, witness, and management of resources in the church. They also vision and plan for the future, implement strategies and annually evaluating the mission and ministry of the church: to MAKE DISCIPLES of JESUS CHRIST for the transformation of the world.  I am excited to work with them all and I’m excited to work toward our 2019 goals!

This year, I’m very excited to be diving into ways to attract people to the love of Christ.  Ken Ragsdale recently sent me a few short articles on this very topic and they DO make me think … what does it take to help someone see the VALUE of being a “church person“?  This article, 6 REASONS PEOPLE WALK AWAY FROM CHURCH was excellent (and short!) and the last one, “7 Ways to REACH the Nones” was also terrific. (And short!) I hope these make you think too because THIS is our task – to feel so inspired by what’s going on at FUMC that we want to share it with the world!

MUSIC MINISTER SEARCH IS ON!  I want to thank John Massey, Mary White, Danny McMahon, Judy Beaty, JaneAnne Newton and Amy Moss (Worship Chair) for their hard work and exceptional input to our discussions on music in worship at FUMC. We have met over the last 3 months and have now focused our efforts on a search for a new MUSIC MINISTER. (Job description attached.)  This is a 10 hour/week position and Judy is excited to help this new person, (and I believe God knows who it will be!)  If you know anyone who “knows anyone”, or you know anyone who might be interested, send them to our website/WORSHIP.  Thanks to Cyndie Ewert,

DO YOU HAVE VERIZON?  As you know, we use a FREE text service for all the prayer requests (60 have committed to PRAY when there is a need), and we also use it to connect groups i.e. Church Council, Youth, Care Team, Choir, etc. Sadly, VERIZON will be charging Remind a new fee that makes it impossible for them to continue supporting free text messaging for anyone who has Verizon Wireless as your phone carrier. Beginning January 28, 2019, the people in our groups who normally get your Remind messages as texts will no longer receive these messages if you have Verizon Wireless as your phone carrier. HOWEVER, to continue receiving your messages,  download the mobile app HERE or enable email notifications HERE (scroll down the page to “Get Email Notifications”—both of which are free of charge.)

WOMEN’S COMMUNITY BIBLE STUDY STARTS THIS WEDNESDAY: 9 AM  The Community Women’s Bible study led my Linda Suche starts back up this Wednesday and Linda has extra books so just come! There are also some other places for women to plug in … knitters, hand quilters, prayer quilters and crafters. (Crafters will start back in February).

PLEASE CONSIDER A WALK TO EMMAUS IF YOU WANT TO DEEPEN YOUR FAITH:  If you are looking for a way to grow in your faith, please pray about attending a 3 day Walk to Emmaus! (There is very LITTLE walking involved … WALK just reminds us of the people walking back home after the death/resurrection of Christ and not recognizing Him.) This incredible discipleship ministry is designed to deepen personal faith and build church leaders and as Pastor Debbie would say, during this time of spiritual renewal, prepare to be amazed by God!  Men, your Walk is first …. details are on our website or talk to Pastor Debbie or those who have experienced this remarkable event: Amy & Danny Moss, Jane Anne and J.A. Newton, Carla Chitsey, Penny Boice, Michael Park, Suzie Hamm, Sara Hays, or Laura Morrison. (If I missed you, please let me know!)

SAFER DOORS/NEW LOCK:  I want to thank Danny Moss, Ed Page and Jim Dyson for helping re-key the locks in Wesley Hall!  The VOLUNTEER Safety Team is continuing their work on making ALL of our doors safe – now, in the event of a fire,  doors in Wesley and the sanctuary have PUSH BARS making exit immediate, which has led to the need to re-key, and Asbury Hall and FLC will be done in the near future. The TRUSTEES will release keys to those who need access to buildings.    

LOOKING AHEAD:  New small group “studies” starting on Wednesday nights, February 6th 

… ALPHA: I am excited that we’ll be having another ALPHA group for anyone that missed the experience in the fall, or for anyone YOU know who does not have a church home and is interested in talking about “not so basic” faith issues. These 10 weeks are CONVERSATIONAL based discussions on topics that appear to be simple but are anything BUT simple! 

… A LIFE WORTH LIVING: another study that is going to be terrific is a conversational course based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. This small group will  look at some of the things Jesus Christ does for us TODAY … the things that make Life Worth Living!

THIS SUNDAY is BAPTISM SUNDAY: This special event in the life of the church not only remembers the baptism of JESUS but it also helps us remember OUR baptisms, and the significance of what it means to be included in the family of faith. Baptism reminds us we are ALL dependent upon the grace of our loving God and in baptism, it’s not about the what the person being baptized does – it’s ALL about what GOD does!  If you or your children would like to be baptized on Sunday, let’s talk! 

Peter said to them, “Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)  

Debbie Lyons, Pastor

First United Methodist Church Winnsboro

301 Church Street, Winnsboro, TX. 75494

CLICK HERE for our Facebook


1-3-18 FUMC Updates

2019 … can you believe it? I must admit I’ve never been one to make resolutions although I DO admit that all of the top 3 resolutions for 2019 I could use … getting fit, losing weight and saving more money. I DO however, like to set goals because goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. I don’t know why I’m better at this in my calling than in my personal life, but THAT is something I WILL work on this year!
I am always amazed, however, at how SPIRITUAL goals are never, ever in the top 10 lists of New Year goals … I mean, really?  Our earthly goals are good for a short term, but our FAITH goals have ETERNAL REWARDS … not only that, faith goals can have a HUGE impact on our earthly goals if we make a commitment to really put God first!
This Sunday is the first Sunday of the New Year and I hope to see you ALL there so we can kick-off the new year together! Until then, if you’re still thinking about what YOUR faith resolutions might be, consider these:
– My favorite: SURRENDER to GOD!  As humans, we want to control everything in our lives and as a result, many of us struggle with giving our problems and issues over to Him. Doing this frees us from guilt, stress, worry, or whatever we’re struggling with, and puts everything in His loving and capable hands to take care of. This is easier said than done, however, so you need some of the following to help …
– Commit to spending intentional time with Him every day in prayer, journaling or devotional reading 
– Read the bible every day (CLICK here for our online daily reading plan) 
– Lean into your SPIRITUAL GIFTS … start with the simple online gifts test and see where it takes you! God needs you to use the gifts He has given you for His kingdom and I’d love to hear from you after you discover YOUR gifts!
– Read one spiritual book a quarter (The UMC website recommends a few here.)
– Give just 10% more to the church than you did in 2018 or give every single week whether you’re in church or not and see how God fulfills His promise to BLESS YOU! (Setting up your gifts to God is as easy as scheduling your gas or electric bill … see our GIVING page)
– Consider the discipline of FASTING … Methodists have LONG been believers of healthy fasting … check it out here.
– LOOK for opportunities to spread JOY and KINDNESS and avoid “bashing” others
WOMEN: Get plugged in this year!
– United Methodist Women: Thursday, 1/10, 10 AM … they meet the 2nd Thursday of every month
-The Community Women’s Bible study led my Linda Suche starts back up on Wednesday, January 16th and Linda has extra books so just come!
– Knitters hang out together every Monday afternoon from 1-3 PM for fellowship and encouragement and support
– Hand quilters meet every Tuesday morning at 8 AM (Crafters will be starting back soon on Tuesdays at 9 AM)
– Our prayer quilt ministry meets the 2nd and 4th MONDAYS at 9 am
MEN: is God calling you to be part of something more?
As you can see, we have a LOT of opportunities for women to get involved but we don’t have anything for our men! What do YOU think we can do to provide some time for fellowship, outings, learning, etc.? If you’d like to be a part of the conversation, please contact me!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEALS will be back next Wednesday night at 5:45!  How about inviting a friend to our 1st night back??
See you Sunday!
Debbie Lyons, Pastor
First United Methodist Church Winnsboro
301 Church Street, Winnsboro, TX. 75494
CLICK HERE for our Facebook


12-18-18 FUMC Updates

I’m feeling incredibly JOYFUL today after the great support from OUR church at the Holiday in the Park last night – I was honored to help coordinate the City’s work on choosing a Mission Statement, and I was honored to work with the Pastors of the other churches to design and donate benches for the new City Rotary Park but I am feeling MOST blessed because of YOU, so many of YOU coming to support our Church in the Community.
I have worked hard to meet as MANY people as I can in this amazing community in which we live! Sometimes, I wish that all my time could be spent sitting in my office and immersing myself in doing research for sermons, reading wonderful books on scripture, writing congregational prayers and benedictions, teaching inspiring Bible studies or sitting for long visits with people who aren’t able to get to church. But honestly, I truly DO embrace our mission statement: to GO and make disciples for the transformation of the world! I truly DO feel compelled to reach those who do not know the love of Christ or who don’t have a church home to grow in their relationship with Him! The engine of this discipling, though, runs on love and without love, all our effort, intentionality, and strategies are wasted … so, my work in the community is JUST as it is within this congregation …  it’s focused on LOVE. I say all this to again say … THANK YOU for what YOU are doing to make disciples … and last night, your attendance was testimony to your support!
LAST WEDNESDAY NIGHT EVENTS OF THE YEAR: December 19th is our last Wednesday night meal and our last Christmas Bible study of December. I want to thank ALL the hard working, dedicated people who work to make our Wednesday night meals so incredible … those who shop, slice/dice, stir, serve the food, scrub pots and pans, pick up the salt and pepper, make the iced tea, make the desserts, etc. etc. etc.
CHRISTMAS EVE CAROLING AT AUTUMN WINDS: Monday, December 24th, 6:15 – 7:30 meet in the lobby … thanks to John Massey for coordinating a sing-along for folks who may not be able to get out for a Christmas service!  Song sheets will be provided and this is for ALL volunteers, NOT JUST CHOIR MEMBERS … just show up and sing with JOY!
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE: Monday, December 24th, 10 PM … this is one of the BIGGEST services attended by guests of the entire year so let’s be great HOSTS!!  Here are some things to consider:
– Please PRAY, PRAY, PRAY that God touches the heart of people in this community who do NOT have a church home to come and worship Him with us! Let me say it again – pray, pray, pray!
– Be aware of people you don’t know and be sure to introduce yourself and thank them, for coming – one of the number 1 reasons people DON’T come back to a church is because people don’t speak to them
-Please park, if you are able, in the lot by the Baptist church leaving as many spaces at the church as possible for guests. (Ride share with your family too!)
– Visitors are tentative about how things “work” in the service and they don’t like to sit in the FRONT … please leave the rows in the back for our visitors
– We expect better attendance on Christmas Eve so please move IN to the center of the pews if the ushers ask you to make room.
DON’T FORGET … GIVING TREES FOR CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER will be up until December 30th … thanks so much for caring for the children in our community!  The trees are in the front lobby and there are plenty of clips left for YOUR cash or checks!
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14


‘Tis the season to be jolly but it’s also a season to focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ! When I was growing up, I was the oldest of 6 kids, all within 10 years of each other, and Christmas seemed so effortless for my mother! Everything was always joyful, organized, delicious and exciting!  She always said as long as she could sit in church on Sundays and see her family all together, it was all she needed to be the Mom she felt God called her to be!
Me? I have always worked outside my home, unlike my Mom, so things have not always been “calm and bright” … especially after I finally accepted my call to ministry, Christmas Eve and Christmas, became VERY different than they used to be. Gone are the days of pressing my mom’s beautiful linen tablecloths, of polishing the silver and preparing fancy meals … now, chili made in a crockpot is our standard Christmas Eve meal, and a simple  meal on Christmas Day has replaced the “once a year on Christmas” feast I USED to prepare!
And guess what … we all LOVE it this way! We have all adjusted to the casual, comfort of Christmas – less work, less stress, less money, less, less, less of what doesn’t matter!  We have more time to focus on each other and my focus on worship can be more relaxed and authentic!
During this Advent, please look for ways to find Jesus in all the nooks and crannies of your life … He is everywhere, waiting for you to embrace Him!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Because of Bethlehem, 6:30 – 7:45, Wesley Hall
After our wonderful dinner on Wednesday night at 5:45, stroll over for an Advent study on what the birth of Christ REALLY means for us!  Last week, we compared the 1st coming of Christ, the birth, with the anticipated 2nd coming of Christ and THIS week, we’ll talk about how WORSHIP is more than just an hour on Sunday – it’s a mind set!  I hope you’ll come when you can … the lessons stand alone!
GIVING TREES IN THE CHURCH LOBBY … it’s so exciting to start seeing money and checks added to the Children’s Advocacy Center giving trees!  This giving is a gift to Jesus Himself as He says … ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ MA 25:40
UMW CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON, Thursday, December 6th, 12-1PM
All women of the church are invited to come fellowship and rest a bit over lunch.  There will be no meeting … just fun.  Bring a salad or if short on time – just come on and share the bounty.  Merry Christmas!
HOLIDAY in the PARK and BENCH JUDGING! Monday, 12/17, 6 – 7:30  I have mentioned to you in the past that I serve on the Cultural Arts District Board and we are working with the City on a night of caroling, cookies and cocoa, voting on a City mission statement AND voting on the benches that some of the churches are making for the City park!  I am so excited for you to see the bench that Elaina and Julie have designed and are painting, and that JA Newton, Conner and Cason Ragsdale built … you don’t HAVE to vote on this bench but I promise – you’re going to LOVE it!!  We’ll all end up enjoying fellowship around a bonfire so please come! Thanks, also, to Jeannie Thompson, Bettye Gilbert, Penny Boice and Carla Chitsey for making cookies for the HOLIDAY in the PARK.
Wishing you a faith filled season of JOY!
Debbie Lyons, Pastor
First United Methodist Church Winnsboro
301 Church Street, Winnsboro, TX. 75494
CLICK HERE for our Facebook