Welcome to First United Methodist Church Winnsboro, where all people are welcome all the time!                    (Even if it IS on social media!)

We’re all very excited about SLOWLY and SAFELY starting to gather, in limited numbers, so check out our HAPPENING NOW page for details!  I want to remind everyone who is over 65 and/or with underlying health conditions to be aware of the CDC guidelines about getting out and about too soon!
 
Some of our Sunday School classes have started back too and you can get info on those classes HERE.  and Until then, we will continue the following:
– Sunday at 10:50 am morning worship in the sanctuary begins in JUNE, CLICK HERE (email us here if you are coming as we will be at 40% occupancy to maintain 6′ distancing) and we’ll be LIVE on Facebook 
 

 

NEED INFO ON COVID 19?

cdc-logo
 
CLICK HERE to go directly to the CDC website for current information on
testing and symptons.
– I will continue to do a devotional at least once a week also on Facebook, it should post before NOON on Tuesdays
– We will have a ZOOM BIBLE TALK on WEDNESDAY MORNINGS at 10 AM CLICK HERE to see the topics.
 

I want everyone to know … the buildings are beginning to open and GOD’S CHURCH is still worshiping, learning, loving and serving!  We will still be checking in on our neighbors and doing our  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 to watch past Sunday services and/or devotionals.
 

Sunday Mornings

9:30 a.m. ~ Sunday School (Some are starting back)

We’re easy to find in Winnsboro!

4-4-20 FUMC Update

Today on Facebook I posted an explanation of why our worship service tomorrow is so important. I have attached the audio and posted the message below.
 
In-Home Communion this Sunday, April 5 ~ As I told you a few days ago, we WILL have communion together on Sunday although you’ll be in YOUR home and I’ll be in church “with” you. Please create a sacred space (candle, bible, bread, juice, etc.) and have it ready so we may taste a taste of the heavenly banquet together! PLEASE TEXT OR EMAIL ME pictures of your space, or post your pictures before the service as the five-minute countdown begins at 10:45 a.m. 
 
Are You Ready for Bible Study? Monday, April 6, 10 a.m. ~
Download Zoom app and play with it; this video will show you how simple it is!
 
Topic: We Walk THROUGH the Valley!  23rd Psalm
 
To join Zoom Meeting CLICK HERE at 9:55ish
Meeting ID: 742 309 728
or
If you only want to call in dial: 253 215 8782 or 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 742 309 728
+++++++++++++++++++++++
 
Tomorrow, Sunday, April 5, is the beginning of the holiest WEEK of the church year, and I want to share with you some BACKGROUND on the historically important and sacred event we’ll share together – a very UNIQUE Holy Communion experience.
 
This week begins with the joyful celebration of Palm Sunday tomorrow, and moves into a focus on the suffering, humiliation, and death of Jesus Christ. The week ends, of course, with the glorious Resurrection as we recognize the tomb WAS empty, but the promise of newness and life, COMES against the shadows and darkness of the Last Supper and Good Friday. Only in realizing the horror and magnitude of sin and its consequences in the world can we find JOY in accepting what Jesus did for us on the cross. Only in contemplating the ending and despair can truly understand the light and hope of Sunday morning!
 
I hope you’ll ALL share in the Palm Sunday service tomorrow because at the end we will ALSO have communion together, yes VIRTUALLY. In the Methodist church, we practice two Sacraments, two religious ceremonies or acts that are regarded as outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual divine grace by the presence of the Holy Spirit. We celebrate Baptism and Holy Communion because Jesus himself established these sacraments. Baptism was established when Jesus himself was baptized. Holy Communion was established during the Last Supper.
 
Sacraments center us and focus us on the presence of the Holy all around us, ushering and strengthening our relationship with God. And in this time of self-isolation and being separated from people we love and activities that we dearly miss. We need this relationship with GOD now more than ever, don’t we? But I do want to explain why the communion we will have together in our virtual worship tomorrow will be so beautiful but OH SO unique. Communion is not an individual, private sacrament! It is meant to be celebrated by the whole gathered congregation, faithful disciples physically surrounding Christ’s table with a credentialed pastor who has been called by God to preside sacramentally over the service, sharing together. The pastor brings the body of Christ together to SHARE the simple elements of bread and juice in a sacred, yet mysterious way.
 
Why are ONLY pastors given the precious responsibility to do this? Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 11:21-22. We see a very self-centered Lord’s Supper being practiced in ancient Corinth. Some were going ahead with a lavish meal, even to the point of drunkenness, while others were sneaking in at the last minute and receiving very little if anything. Paul tells them to correct their problem by following this simple rule: “So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33).
 
Mark W. Stamm, in his book “Sacraments and Discipleship: Understanding Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in a United Methodist Context,” explains, “The rule requiring the pastor to preside at the Lord’s Table is an ancient discipline with a wise end in mind: It requires the church to ‘wait for one another’; that is, it requires the church to gather for Eucharist. Many spiritual disciplines DO retain their integrity when practiced by individuals and by independently organized small groups, but not the Eucharist. By its very nature, the Lord’s Supper must be a corporate experience. … Celebration of the Eucharist requires a pastor and a congregation.”
 
Well, because of COVID-19, there is a growing need to blend activities in physical places with digital spaces and so, in this new frontier for COMMUNITY faith formation, tomorrow, Sunday, April 5, and Thursday evening, April 9 at 6:30 pm, we WILL all be together, LIVE in WORSHIP as pastor and congregation. We will have communion thanks to a special dispensation given by Bishop McKee of our North Texas Conference to have virtual sacramental communion through this Holy Week only. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and Thursday night is the night we will share with Jesus in HIS last supper before he was crucified the next day.
 
Please join us tomorrow for this historical, and what I HOPE will be a very holy experience. Please prepare a sacred space near your computer or phone or TV or wherever you will be listening. Maybe your bible, a candle signifying the light of Christ in your home, some cut evergreens or flowers reminding us everlasting life or the new birth of spring. And please have some a single serving of bread or crackers and juice for each person at the table. Your elements WILL be consecrated tomorrow during the service. And what a MAGNIFICENT mystery it will be.
 
If any bread and juice remain, please eat or drink it, or return it to the earth by pouring, burying, scattering.
Until tomorrow, SUNDAY, April 5, at 10:50 am.
 
Wash your hands … don’t touch your face … stay 6 feet apart … pray honestly … and trust in God.
 
CDC COVID 19 Symptoms andTesting: CLICK HERE
 
Debbie Lyons, Pastor

Read more...

4-1-20 FUMC Update

There are no words to tell you how much sadness I feel in my heart not being able to see each other and to worship together. Every day I hear stories that touch me deeply and there is little we can do to “fix” things EXCEPT stay away from each other, wash our hands, not touch our face, and continue to reach out to each other, pray HONESTLY and trust in God!  
 
I will not be doing a Facebook message today but I am attaching the AUDIO message I did yesterday. I hope you find some solace in knowing that this season of LENT is about becoming more aware of God’s presence. Let’s try to do JUST that!
 
As you all probably know, the State of Texas has now issued a statewide STAY AT HOME Executive Order (attached). This means only non-essential travel (grocery/doctors/gas, etc.) is allowed and all places of business are mandated to be closed accept those of essential workers (see that list here.) “This executive order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID- 19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.” 
 
(BTW, the State Parks are ONLY allowing admission for those with State Passes, you can no longer pay by the day.)
 
This Executive Order is now the law and it goes on to say: “WHEREAS, under Section 418. 173, failure to comply with any executive order issued during the COVD-19 disaster is an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both fine and confinement.”
 
BUT WE WILL STILL WORSHIP AND LEARN TOGETHER REMOTELY! Please do what you can to help your “non-connected” friends find a way to connect. If you don’t have Facebook and can get it, talk to your kids, they’ll help you!
 
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, then we will have a Holy Thursday service and then …..
 
image.png
 
 
JOIN ME FOR A ZOOM BIBLE STUDY THURSDAY MORNINGS at 10 AM ~ Believe me, this is ALL NEW TO ME TOO but unusual times push us ALL into learning new things so we’ll do our best!  You don’t NEED the app to join the study, but please click on this link and go NOW to see how easy it is ~ 
Join Zoom Meeting Visually …  https://zoom.us/j/872980258
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
OR
CALL INTO THE MEETING:  253 215 8782 or 301 715 8592 
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
 
WE’LL BE CONNECTING ON ZOOM:  Zoom is a FREE video conferencing app that allows you to watch and listen (or just call in and participate) while desktop images can be SHARED with those watching. Your device must have a CAMERA and a MICROPHONE to participate visually OR you can call a phone number and participate verbally. It’s an incredible technology that allows us to interact verbally and visually, VERY valuable during this time of social distancing. 
 
FACE MASK UPDATE:  Thanks to all of you working hard to make masks, the more the merrier! We have delivered about 130 masks so far, supplied the Winnsboro Police AND five different assisted living/nursing homes. We have also sent some masks to the Wood County Courthouse for doctors who are searching for masks because of overcrowded waiting rooms. We will obviously need MORE in these next few weeks so keep sewing!
 
DON’T FORGET TO BRING US YOUR OLD BATH TOWELS/BEACH TOWELS: And any old t-shirts or scraps of clothes that can be used to stuff the dog beds. Check out animals for adoption here.
 
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7 
 
Debbie Lyons, Pastor

Read more...

3-30-20 FUMC Update

Well, it looks like our social distancing restrictions have been extended through APRIL 30. No one is sadder about this than I am because I TRULY MISS YOU ALL! Unfortunately, this means we will not be gathering in our sanctuary together until at least May; and never before in the history of the world has a pandemic caused such strict isolation guidelines in order to save lives. I know this is extremely difficult. Like me, I’m sure you waited for the COVID TASK FORCE briefing hoping beyond hope we would have good news since we are blessed not to have become a hot spot for the disease and the COVID cases creeping into our local counties has been minimal. And I’d SURE like to see it STAY this way! This is so difficult for all of us in so many different ways … physically, financially, socially, and spiritually, but as difficult as it is, we WILL GET THROUGH THIS! It does, however, mean we all need to do our best to stay home. ATTACHED is the audio from today’s Facebook devotional if you didn’t see it.
 
PALM SUNDAY is THIS SUNDAY, April 5 at 10:50 a.m. ~ Parents, please drive by the church office this FRIDAY, APRIL 3, from 1-3 p.m. and pick up one palm for each of your kids or grandchildren. And please take one palm for each of your kid’s friends and ask them to give to a FRIEND! Please then take a SHORT 30-45 second video of your kids saying HOSANNA and welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem and text it to me before Saturday at NOON. We will have a “virtual” processional this Sunday morning to begin our worship service! We will ALSO be having a very special “communion” service together and I will have more details on that this week. You don’t want to miss it!
 
HOLY WEEK: April 5 through April 11 ~ I am working on our services for this special week but PLEASE mark HOLY THURSDAY at 6:30 p.m. for our worship time together. We WILL be together on Facebook or ZOOM so stay tuned.
 
WHAT IS ZOOM? Zoom is a FREE video conferencing app that allows you to watch and listen (or just call in and participate) while desktop images can be SHARED with those watching. Your device must have a CAMERA and a MICROPHONE to participate visually OR you can call a phone number and participate verbally. It’s an incredible technology that allows us to interact verbally and visually, VERY valuable during this time of social distancing. In fact, ZOOM is offering all TEACHERS free unlimited conference time during these coronavirus restrictions because the teacher and students can see each other in REAL time!  
 
JOIN ME FOR A ZOOM BIBLE STUDY THURSDAY MORNINGS at 10 a.m. ~ Believe me, this is ALL NEW TO ME TOO but unusual times push us ALL into learning new things so we’ll do our best! You don’t NEED the app to join the study. But please click on this link and go NOW to see how easy it is … 
Join Zoom Meeting Visually …  https://zoom.us/j/872980258
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
OR
CALL INTO THE MEETING:  253 215 8782 or 301 715 8592 
Meeting ID: 872 980 258
 
“LIVE” WORSHIP (and other stuff) ON FACEBOOK ~I can’t thank Ken and Elaina Ragsdale and Kade Martin for managing the required technology we need to worship together. Danny has been singing wonderful songs and Lola has been playing the piano beautifully! I’m not nearly as nervous as I was when we started (you have no idea how hard it is to preach to a little black camera!) and it is sooooooo heartwarming to see so many of you watching together! However, I know not ALL of you are able to watch.
 
1. If you have a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a tablet (iPad, Fire, etc.) or a cell phone where you can get on the internet, please call if you want help getting the Facebook app. You don’t have to use it for anything but CHURCH if you don’t want to but you’ll not only be able to join worship but also see the morning devotionals but also the daily things happening. You all have an email address and that’s all you need!
2.  If you don’t have WiFi, bring your tablet, laptop or phone to the church and sign into OUR wifi. Again, call and we can help you!
3.  If you have a SMART TV, have you set up your SMART TV to watch Facebook on your bigger screen? Since we’ll be using Facebook for our Sunday morning worship (Sunday 10:50 am) there are two ways to go from watching on a tiny phone or a small laptop to watching on your TV? YOUNG PEOPLE, help your parents! https://www.facebook.com/help/276515126152168
 
NEED SOME SPIRITUAL EXERCISE? This is an amazing resource for FREE METHODIST STUDY GUIDES for all ages if you’re looking for a way to keep up with your faith growth during this time. There is a great study by Adam Hamilton on FEAR here (available through April 19th) and PARENTS, you’ll find a children’s study too, here. Parents, homeschooling must be challenging but this will help you teach “Sunday school”!  CLICK HERE  
 
THANKS FOR MAKING FACE MASKS! WE NEED MORE! I had a call for Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron’s office today and there are doctors calling the courthouse asking where they can get MASKS. They need them for PATIENTS who are flooding their offices and they want to use them to protect their patients from each other and they are! If you need fabric, please let us know.  Amy and Penny have done a great job coordinating all of this and MANY of you came by to take fabric home. THANK YOU. Please drop them in the plastic tub at the office door when they’re ready.
 

WE NEED YOUR OLD TOWELS, SCRAPS, NON-DONATABLE CLOTHES ~ As I said yesterday in worship, people are cleaning out closets and taking their donatable things to the Blessing Box AND thankful that they have a PET to snuggle up with during this no-contact time. Our Wood County Animal Shelter cannot have volunteers coming in to do the work so volunteers are fostering and setting appointments for adoption. Right now, they have 40 dogs ready to be adopted (by appointment) but they REALLY need large old bath towels, beach towels and “stuffing,” old t-shirts, fabric scraps, clothes (not donatable) that can be cut into scraps, etc.  The QUILTING CREW is doing it all so bring your towels or contact us for how to make them yourselves!

DRIVE THROUGH AND SAY HELLO TODAY: MONDAYS from 1-3 pm through April ~ It was GREAT to see so many of you today. Wow, we were visiting the whole two hours! I refuse to let this social distancing stop us from ALL face-to-face time, even if it’s just a minute or two!  Plan to take a drive through our beautiful East Texas towns and see the wildflowers and the dogwoods blossoming, and squeeze in a “drive-by” at the church on your way going or coming home!

HANG IN THERE EVERYONE!!  This too shall pass …

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


Read more...

3-25-20 FUMC Update

Today is day 10 of our 15 day quarantine and as I hear from you, it sounds like everyone is doing well!! Mary White gave us some duck eggs (yes, duck eggs!) today and they’re already gone – since you can’t always get eggs in the store, if YOUR chickens are happy and producing more than you need, let us know and we’ll share your name with those who need them!  Also … if you need toilet paper (isn’t it crazy we’re asking this?) please let us know … we have some church supplies that aren’t being used right now.

 
I could not find my notes on the morning devotional so I converted the Facebook video into an audio file … we’re still VERY much needing 1/8 or 1/4 elastic for our face masks so please reach out to your craft friends … we have a box at the office door they can be dropped there.  We are providing 15 masks to our police and we have already sent 25 to Autumn Winds thanks to Amy Moss, Penny Boice, and Priscilla Massey … Sandra Strickland has already come back for her 2nd batch of fabric and she’s doing LOTS of cutting.  If you are cutting at home (the pattern was in yesterday’s email), you can bag the 3 different size rectangles by size and drop them in the box too.)  If you want to come with your sewing machine/extension cord/thread (see yesterday’s email) you WILL be asked to stay at least 6′ away from everyone, or tomorrow we will also have patterns if you want to sew at home.  If you want fabric and/or elastic to cut/sew at home let us know if you don’t want to stay tomorrow, 3/26 … we’ll be here at 10.
 
AUDIO AND BULLETIN ATTACHED!
Do not remember the former things,
    or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
    IS. 43:18-10
 
Stay safe!!
Debbie Lyons, Pastor

Read more...