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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10:50 a.m.

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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
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11-27-18 FUMC Updates

The countdown is on!  Now that Thanksgiving is over, let the Christmas season BEGIN and as of today, Christmas is exactly 4 weeks away!  Many, many thanks to everyone who helped deck the halls of our beautiful sanctuary and participate in the “organized chaos” of the Hanging of the Greens … a special thanks to Janat Erwin who worked to freshen up our chrismon ornaments for the tree, and to Amy and Danny Moss and Joanna and Wayne Horton who got all the decorations out of storage making set-up MUCH easier on Sunday!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT FELLOWSHIP (5:45 pm) followed by BACK TO BETHLEHEM (6:30pm):  our Wednesday night fellowship meals take on a festive atmosphere in December so please come!  The kitchen team is hard at work making our time together special and your love offerings are MUCH appreciated … why not consider INVITING YOUR FRIENDS?
After dinner, those staying for the Christmas bible study will head over to WESLEY HALL for a conversation about what it means to have Christmas come into our lives year after year … we’ll be done by 7:45 and EVERYONE is welcome.
I also want to let you know that of the 38 votes we had in our Advent/Christmas survey I asked for volunteers who might be willing to teach 1 (or more!) lessons to our elementary kids, and no one volunteered.  I have also offered the “job” to several people, (yes, I’ve offered to PAY people!) but I have not found anyone. We LOVE our kids at FUMC so if you are Ministry Safe trained and would like to teach a lesson or 2, we have the lessons ready to go!
WELCOME TO ADVENT, December 2-24: Christian churches around the world begin the season of ADVENT this Sunday, 12/2, with 4 weeks of preparation for the birth of Christ. Our worship series this December will focus on a look at the “back side” of the Christmas stories, those stories that sometimes get left out of the “happy & bright” Christmas message, but stories that have significant IMPACT on the text.  
Lighting the Advent wreath these next 4 weeks, and on Christmas Eve, will be some of the NEW members of our church … we are excited for you to get to know THEM and for them to participate in worship!
OUR CHRISTMAS GIVING TREE for CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER: please make a point to notice the GIVING TREES in the front lobby of the church this month as your donations, clipped to the trees, will be given to prevent, investigate, prevent and treat child abuse in our community. (If you’re writing a check write CHILDREN in the memo line please.) At our fellowship dinner this Wednesday night, 11/29, you’ll meet Imelda Tatsch and Jennifer Williams, directors of the NE Texas Center, who will tell us how our Christmas giving can help.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN: Thursday, December 6th, noon … all ladies of the church are invited to bring a salad and enjoy a beautiful holiday lunch together!  Bring a friend!
THE BENCH FOR CITY PARK IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION!  (Come see it on December 17th!) Many, many thanks to Elaina Ragsdale and Julie Lewis for designing and coordinating the development of a bench to be donated to the City Park.  As a member of the Winnsboro Cultural Arts District Board, I am coordinating an “all church” project with the other churches in the area to provide seating around the new playground.  There are some talented builders also involved, and I’ll share their names soon, but please, please mark your calendars to come to the HOLIDAY IN THE PARK on Tuesday, December 17th, 6-7:30 PM.
Since I am one of the community coordinators for this event, I have asked the larger churches to ask for 3-4 volunteers to bring a dozen cookies for the evening of December 17th.  Won’t you please help make this event DELICIOUS? Please reply to this email and let me know, and I thank you in advance for helping make this such a fun event!
Debbie Lyons, Pastor
First United Methodist Church Winnsboro
301 Church Street, Winnsboro, TX. 75494
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10-25-18 FUMC Updates

Where has everyone been? Church attendance has dropped, Wednesday night dinner has dropped … IT’S NOT THE SAME WITHOUT YOU!  Wouldn’t it be AMAZING if everyone who called First Church home could all be together? We’d be bursting at the seams and God would be smiling “out loud”! I hope to see everyone back this week!
I’m almost afraid to say it but …… Christmas is only 61 days away!  I know we still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to enjoy but, the truth is … the Christmas season actually BEGINS the week after Thanksgiving so I’m already hard at work on ADVENT!  That being said … I want your feedback please … 
– Will you attend the Hanging of the Greens service on 11/25 at 4 PM?
– What day would be best for YOU to attend a 4 week Advent Bible study?
– What time do you think the Christmas Eve service should be?
– Our Christmas outreach offering will be to the Children’s Advocacy Center – would you rather make a donation or shop for a specific child?
I’d rather plan this important season around what works best for you so please, it should take you less than 2 minutes! This is an ANONYMOUS, short term survey that will CLOSE on Monday, 10/29 at MIDNIGHT so please do it now!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT FELLOWSHIP DINNERS ... thanks to all the hard working kitchen crew and dessert makers who make our delicious dinners every week, and thanks to all of YOU who are generous with your love offerings! SEE YOU TONIGHT!  (Just a reminder … THERE WILL BE NO DINNER, or ALPHA, ON HALLOWEEN, October 31st.)
MANY THANKS TO OUR CRAFTERS!  Christmas in the Park is Saturday, November 10th, 9 am – 3 pm … thanks to everyone working hard to get all your wonderful things delivered and priced for this terrific craft event!  Be sure to mark this date on your calendar and come have LUNCH with the Methodist Men too!
I have been honored to serve on the CULTURAL ARTS DISTRICT BOARD in Winnsboro … did you know that Winnsboro is one of only 40 cities in the entire State of Texas that has this prestigious designation? One of the projects we are working on is “re-inventing” old pianos that have been gathering dust and artists are creating beautiful masterpieces with them! After they are finished, we’ll place them around town in various places for people to enjoy sooooooo … Ken Atkins has let me borrow an AMAZING dolly but I need some muscle!  Please email me if you can help!
EAST DISTRICT CHARGE CONFERENCE: Sunday, November 11th, 3-5 PM, Wesley UMC, Greenville … join our District Superintendent and all the other churches in the District for a “year end” worship celebration and business close-out of the Charge Conference. 
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 
Hebrews 10:24-25

Debbie Lyons, Pastor

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


What an amazing weekend it was for our high school juniors and seniors who went to Glen Rose this weekend … in spite of some rain, they had an INCREDIBLE experience and I can’t wait for them to tell us about it on Sunday! 

I am also delighted to welcome Jim Marshall and Danny McMahon as new members at First Church! It was a joy to celebrate their renewed passion for Christ with them as they remembered their baptism on Sunday.

NO 5th SUNDAY POT LUCK on 9/30:
The Church Council has voted that next year, our 5th Sunday Pot Lucks will be replaced with invitation Sundays and we have some GREAT ideas for those Sundays coming up so if you’d like to be part of that planning, let us know!! Instead, we are having the Wesley Hall consecration service after church on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14th.
I had a wonderful experience today … someone came by my office to make a generous financial gift toward the upgrade of our projectors in the sanctuary. As you know, because you ALL probably have HD TV’s in your own homes, technology changes rapidly and we’d like to upgrade our projectors next year. The person that came by the office said they were required to receive a MINIMUM DISTRIBUTION from their IRA account but, if that distribution is directly given to the church, NO TAXES ARE OWED. This generous person thought their church deserved the money because otherwise, the money is just “gone to groceries before you know it”. As you prepare for your year end accounting, think about the way God might use YOUR gifts in the future.

VOLUNTEER SAFETY TEAM UPDATE:You may have heard that a small group of people in our congregation has accepted the responsibility to establish and maintain the safety of our church as much as feasible. So far this year they have:

-Written Emergency Policies and Procedures Guide

-Fire safety and severe weather procedures review with Winnsboro Fire Dept

-Emergency exit door bars for the Sanctuary building

-Security camera system


 ALL SAINTS DAY: Sunday, October 28th
All Saints Day is a beautiful opportunity to give thanks for all those who have died and gone before us in the previous year. It is a time to celebrate our history, what United Methodists call the tradition of the church, and the “great cloud of witnesses” who surround and encourage us. We will automatically include those directly connected to our church (members/regular visitors), but if you would like to come forward that day and remember a family member who died in the last year as well, please let us know by October 22nd, the name of your family member who died, and the date they passed away, and we will be happy to include them on the memorial page in the bulletin on October 28th.
As we look back at 2018, and begin looking ahead to 2019, I want to invite you to our ALL CHURCH CHARGE CONFERENCE, and I want to encourage you ALL to please come …

Monday, October 15th

6:30 PM … Wesley Hall

(All professing members of the church are members of this Conference but everyone is invited to attend.)

Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.
 Proverbs 16:3

An annual Charge Conference is designed to report the business of the church (budgets/finances, membership numbers, professions of faith, baptisms, etc.) and also discuss future business goals and decisions. This year, church members will, for example, vote on creating a ENDOWMENT with the money from the Milner Estate.

Here is some of what our Book of Discipline says:

¶ 246General Provisions-1. Within the pastoral charge the basic unit in the connectional system of The United Methodist Church is the charge conference. The charge conference shall therefore be organized from the church or churches in every pastoral charge as set forth in the Constitution (¶ 43). It shall meet annually for the purposes set forth in ¶ 247. It may meet at other times as indicated in § 7 below.

  1. The membership of the charge conference shall be all members of the church council or other appropriate body, together with retired ordained ministers and retired diaconal ministers who elect to hold their membership in said charge conference and any others as may be designated in the Discipline. If more than one church is on the pastoral charge, all members of each church council shall be members of the charge conference.
  2. The membership of the charge conference shall be all members of the church council or other appropriate body, together with retired ordained ministers and retired diaconal ministers who elect to hold their membership in said charge conference and any others as may be designated in the Discipline. If more than one church is on the pastoral charge, all members of each church council shall be members of the charge conference.

¶ 247Powers and Duties-1. The charge conference shall be the connecting link between the local church and the general Church and shall have general oversight of the church council(s).

  1. The charge conference, the district superintendent, and the pastor, when a pastor has been appointed (see ¶205.4), shall organize and administer the pastoral charge and churches according to the policies and plans herein set forth. When the membership size, program scope, mission resources, or other circumstances so require, the charge conference may, in consultation with and upon the approval of the district superintendent, modify the organizational plans, provided that the provisions of ¶ 243 are observed. Such other circumstances may include, but not limited to, alternative models for the conception of a local church, such as coffee house ministries, mall ministries, outdoor ministries, retirement home ministries, restaurant ministries, and other emergent ways in which people can gather in God’s name to be the church.
  2. The primary responsibilities of the charge conference in the annual meeting shall be to review and evaluate the total mission and ministry of the church (¶¶ 120-124), receive reports, and adopt objectives and goals recommended by the church council that are in keeping with the objectives of The United Methodist Church.

Debbie Lyons, Pastor

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