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3-5-22 FUMC Updates – Lent begins

I continue to find myself in awe at what is happening in Ukraine … there are just no words! But a friend of mine sent me an article from the JIM DENISON MINISTRIES yesterday that I found very profound and explores the question: why does God allow this? While we continue to PRAY, I think you’ll find some comfort in the article HERE.

Tomorrow we continue the season of LENT and during this season we’ll try to keep announcements during the service to a minimum and the worship focus to a maximum. I will try to get our emails out by MONDAYS but you can also use our website calendar and Facebook for updates. 

If you missed the ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE you can watch it online anytime, HERE.

2022 LENTEN OFFERING: Every year during LENT we ask people to prayerfully consider giving above and beyond the regular tithe as Lenten ALMSGIVING. Almsgiving is the Christian practice of giving money, food, or other material goods to people living in poverty. Providing alms is often considered an act of virtue or charity and John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, preached of this often. 

This year we are committing to serve the Ukrainian refugees thru the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMC churches around the world contribute to the admin costs so YOUR donations go directly to the people who need it. The humanitarian crisis is HUGE but WE CAN HELP!  In these next 6 weeks there will be metal buckets by the doors of the sanctuary – drop your loose change, your dollar bills, or write a check to THIS church and we will send one large gift to UMCOR so OUR Voice is heard!


–       MONDAYS: Brother Henry’s men’s gathering, Hope Café

–       MONDAYS: Knitters & stitchers, 1 PM, FLC

–       TUESDAYS: Kids Beach Club, 3:30-5 PM at WISD Memorial

–       WEDNESDAYS: Crafters, 3 pm, Asbury

BROTHER HENRY’S BIBLE STUDY: 3rd Tuesday, 3/15, 10 AM … everyone is welcome.

KIDS BEACH CLUB UPDATE: about 60 kids got NEW Bibles this week and if you want to see JOY … see this week’s video HERE.

Blessings to you all!

Pastor Debbie


2-25-22 FUMC Updates … pray for PEACE

Like you, I am watching in shock at what’s happening to the sovereign nation and innocent people of Ukraine.  I find myself wondering how it’s possible that one mortal man from Russia, a country whose economy (GDP) is 1/10th the size of the United States, ½ the size of Germany, England, and France can be allowed to cause so much havoc and disaster in our world? Then I remember that we have asked this question in our recent past as other dictators, like Russia’s Lenin, followed by Stalin, Italy’s Mussolini, Uganda’s Idi Amin, and of course, Germany’s Hitler instigated unjust ways, killing so many people and destroying so many people’s homes and livelihoods.

One thing I know is this: when we don’t know what to DO we do know what we BELIEVE …God is our refuge and our strength! It is in God in whom we trust! (Psalm 91:2) Of all the Biblical wars in history, the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2nd Chronicles has ALWAYS stuck with me and some of the texts have been burned into my memory.  AT that time, the people of Judah cried out to the Lord because they were terrified, being threatened by warring enemies on all sides who wanted to crush them with their much larger armies and more powerful weapons.  They begged God to intervene, “Our God, won’t you punish them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chron. 20:12.  Jehoshaphat gathered the people together to PRAY – they PRAYED! And God responded: Don’t be afraid or discouraged by this great army because the battle isn’t yours. It belongs to God! 2 Chron. 20:15

Whatever battles and fears we face, let’s ALWAYS seek God first! We may not know what to do, but you can be faithful and pray and BELIEVE that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! 

BISHOP McKEE shared A pastoral letter from Bishop Christian Alsted of the Nordic and Baltic Area, chair of the Connectional Table.  Bishop McKee asks that we “continue to pray for peace, for reconciliation and for an end to all war.” If you would like to follow Bishop Alsted on his Facebook page go here … https://www.facebook.com/christian.alsted.5


UPDATE ON KIDS BEACH CLUB … click here to see a 3 MIN video of week 3.  Please PRAY for our amazing volunteers as they prepare to give the kids their OWN, brand new Bible on Tuesday.  Many thanks to everyone who helped cut, laminate, and punch, who contributed to snacks and who bought Bibles, and who show up every Tuesday to make JESUS COOL AT SCHOOL! I have attached the prayer for our TEACHERS that I send to all the parents every week… it has the Administrator and teachers’ names we pray for on it.

A MODEST MEAL (6 pm) & ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE (6:45 pm), 3/2 …our first Wednesday of the month fellowship meal will be a wonderful opportunity to gather together and begin the mindset of Lenten fasting. The meal will be appropriately modest, and the special service afterwards will be a powerful introduction to the most sacred season of the year. Ashes will be imposed on your forehead as we come forward, as a church family, to hear these words: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.” I hope you’ll all make an effort to attend this special service begin to consider how YOU will invest in your spiritual soul this Lent.

PRAYER QUILT MINISTRY SEW DAY, 3/3, 9 am – 3 pm, Asbury: this has been rescheduled for this Thursday so bring a lunch and come get involved with this awesome ministry.

SANCTUARY REFRESHENING, 3/3, 5 PM, Asbury … we’re going to have an informal conversation about how to freshen up our sanctuary using the generous gifts that people have designated to do this. We’ll pray for guidance on how to best use this love offering to glorify God and enhance the worship experience, and we’ll start by looking at how other churches have done small things to make a big difference.


Pastor Debbie 


2/21 FUMC Updates … Lent is around the corner

It’s so exciting to see our COVID hospitalizations and cases decrease and our in-person worship attendance INCREASE again! There was so much energy and joy in church yesterday, and I am so thankful that we can enjoy what I HOPE will be more than just a lull in the infection rates.

KIDS BEACH CLUB: as Clint told you on Sunday, we will not be super-focused on KBC every week but in WEEK 3 of KBC we’re starting to get in the swing of things as more and more volunteers have stepped in the help make this such a great experience for kids. CLICK HERE to see the 1 ½ min. recap of KBC last week … this ministry can NOT happen without you ALL!  I am also still amazed at how GREAT the messaging is in the curriculum AND how polite and respectful the kids are!! 

Thanks to everyone who donated money for SNACKS in Kids Beach Club! The kids will be having bottles of grape or strawberry water and packs of Cheez-Its, Pop-Tarts, Peanut Butter Crackers, and MORE yummy treats after their long day of school thanks to YOU!!  AND PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY!

LENT STARTS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2nd, ASH WEDNESDAY, 6 pm dinner, worship at 6:45 pm: our next FIRST WEDNESDAY meal will be the 1st day of Lent and we’ll gather for a modest meal and a very special worship service.  Lent, the 6 weeks/40 days of preparation for the suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is a somber, reflective season focused on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (giving to others.)  I am anticipating a very powerful service that night so please mark your calendars to be with us.

PRAYER QUILT “SEW DAY”: Thursday, 2/24, 9 am – 3 pm … bring a lunch and come be part of the fellowship and help with the cutting, piecing, and sewing for this incredible ministry that touches so many lives!

CHURCH CALENDAR: keep on top of ongoing and upcoming events on the church calendar here.

FRESHENING UP THE SANCTUARY: Thursday, 3/3, 5 pm, ASBURY HALL: we have received generous donations of $22,000 to freshen up our sanctuary but what might that look like? We’re going to meet together and PRAY how to best use this love offering to glorify God and enhance the worship experience. This conversation will be casual and VERY preliminary but we’re excited to start looking at how other churches have done small things to make a big difference.

We will end our worship series on FOOD THAT LASTS FOREVER this Sunday with a look at The Best Seat in the House (Luke 14:1-11) and the story of Zacchaeus, Invite Yourself Over (Luke 19:1-10).  If you missed any of the earlier messages, you can always go back and watch on FACEBOOK.

Blessings to you all,

Pastor Debbie


2/12/22 FUMC Updates – Kids Beach Club up and running!

WOW! What an amazing afternoon we had at our FIRST Kids Beach Club this week! It was ALL HANDS ON DECK to accommodate 41 kids (15 of who showed up at 3:30 with paperwork in hand!), and our volunteers were absolutely incredible: they quickly flipped over their own name tags to write KIDS names on the back of theirs, assistant team leaders switched to take on their own groups, more water bottles and snacks were added, greeters stayed the whole afternoon to help give out tickets, and, well … we were all incredibly flexible!! (CLICK HERE to see a 2 min. video recap.)

I was blown away by how polite and engaged the kids at WISD Intermediate were, especially as things were a little hectic at the beginning! Before we had even started the fun stuff (in fact I was going over the “rules”), one little boy raised his hand and asked, “Is this church?”  I replied and said “No, this is SCHOOL but we’re making Jesus COOL at school, so it’s a little bit like church!” and he quickly, and said with pure joy, “Well, I go to a cowboy church and I’ve had more fun in a few minutes here than I’ve ever had there!”  ALL the kids clapped and it was a GREAT way to get started!

Thanks so very much: Becky Poe, who had done all the registration & was printing name tags & completing paperwork up until KBC started: Sandra Strickland, JaneAnne Newton, Tricia Clark (Presbyterian Church), Carolyn Stewart, and Ashley Wilcox who led small groups; Ed & Ellie Page, Mary White & Brad Scharf and Clint Cooper, our greeters and all-around helpers; Erika Martin led our MEMORY VERSE activity and will take on a small group next week; and Heather Warren, what a great help she was all day and everywhere, even taking pictures!! Also, Crystal Chandler and Cyndie Ewert are writing WELCOME notes to our kids and I know this will mean the WORLD to them!

If you’d still like to help, we need the following:

–  SNACKS AND DRINKS: Elaina Ragsdale is the SNACK QUEEN but she needs some Snack Prince and Princesses to either bring snacks to the school or donate money for snacks.  We’ll be feeding about 60 kids each week so contact Elaina …elaina.ragsdale@winnsboroisd.org

–  A TREASURE CHEST HERO: someone to go from group to group with the treasure chest filled with “goodies” and collect tickets from the kids that they earn throughout the day. (Tuesdays, 3:30- 4:15)

–  2 DISMISSAL ADULTS: while the team leaders are cleaning up, adults walk the kids outside to be picked up by their parents and manage who is picking up who on Chestnut (Tuesdays, 4:45-5:15)

–  A 3rd GRADE GROUP LEADER/A FEW ASSISTANT LEADERS: last week we had 1 third, 2 fourth, and 1 fifth grade group and we’ve had to add another group to each grade. The curriculum spells it ALL out for you so let me know if you have questions! (Tuesdays, 3:30—5)

NO MORE WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEALS THIS MONTH … if you missed the Wednesday night meal this week it was fabulous and we are so grateful and amazed by what our kitchen crew does! They have, however, decided to return to one meal a month, FIRST OF THE MONTH, fellowship meal so our next gdinner will be on Wednesday, March 2nd at 6 PM … believe it or not, that’s ASH WEDNESDAY so mark your calendar now!

BROTHER HENRY’S MONTHLY BIBLE STUDY, Tuesday, 2/15, 10 AM, Wesley Hall … everyone is welcome to dive into the Beatitudes!  CLICK HERE for questions

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN, Thursday, 2/17, 10 AM, Asbury Hall … all women looking for fellowship and purpose are welcome!

LOOKING AHEAD:  Thursday, March 3, 5 PM, Asbury Hall … I am very excited to let you know that 2 generous people have given us $22,000 to freshen up our sanctuary! We’re going to start looking at possibilities for how to use these wonderful gifts most effectively and if you’d like to be part of our search for possible ideas, please join us on and we’ll start the conversation. 

IF YOU’RE NOT GETTING OUR PRAYER TEXTS, click here for a link that will let you get PRAYER REQUESTS between 8:30 am and 8:30 pm.  You’re also welcome to meet in my office on Thursday mornings at 9 am to pray!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pastor Debbie


2-3-22 FUMC Updates

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, inside it’s so delightful …”

Yesterday I felt like a little kid anticipating that schools would be closed for a snow day and I’ll admit that when I woke up this morning and there wasn’t even a tiny bit of snow, I was a little sad … BUT JUST A LITTLE SAD.  The afternoon brought a slight freezing drizzle and I’m thankful it hasn’t been worse and pray that it doesn’t GET any worse as the icy temperatures continue. I grew up learning how to drive and living in states with very winter climates: Pennsylvania, Utah, Illinois, and Ohio so I have a healthy respect for what ICE STORMS can do.  Roads might look only wet until you have to turn a corner or put on your brakes and then you realize how dangerous black ice is.  Please be careful if you must be on the roads because remember, you have to watch out for other people too!

Thanks to our BUILDING MAINTENANCE TEAM who were all made aware and/or helped prepare our facilities for freezing weather. In the event there is a power outage, tree limbs down, frozen pipes, etc. they are communicating with each other to help care for our gathering spaces and make sure we all remain safe.

Ken Ragsdale did a great presentation in church last Sunday explaining that each of our buildings has a team member assigned to watch for safety and maintenance issues. In every building, look for an 8 x 10 frame with the name and phone number of who you should call/text if you see anything that you can’t fix yourself (for example, if you see a lightbulb out, bring one and replace it!).  I want to remind everyone that this is your church too, and we need everyone to respond when you see something – please say something!  Don’t assume that someone else will take care of it …if you have to, take a picture of the SIGN identifying the person assigned to that building so you remember to call/text.

BY THE WAY:  if the schools are closed again tomorrow, Friday, our 2nd round of Beach Club flyers won’t go home until MONDAY so let’s all pray the HOLY SPIRIT is working in the hearts of the parents right now!

YOUR ONE WORD: thanks to all of you who have shared your words with me! If you missed any of the sermons or the devotional worksheets I’ve attached them with LINKS to the 4 sermons where we explored how to prepare to hear God’s word.  Once you know your word, please share it with me, post it on Facebook (HERE), and complete the 4th devotional so you’ll “remember to remember” how important God’s word for you IS! You can also share this resource with friends on our website WORSHIP page at the bottom.

The CRAFTERS have graciously offered to make us MAGNETS with our WORD on them so please send me your word as soon as you know it so they can get started on those!  Thanks to Carla, Wanda, Tracey, JaneAnne, and ALL those who will help with this project … it would be awesome if you want to paint your own magnet … everyone is welcome! (Crafters are moving to Wednesdays, 3-5 PM)

THIS SUNDAYCOMMUNION: we’ll have the sanctuary nice and warm as we start a NEW worship series: Food That Lasts Forever.  In the Gospel of Luke, there are 10 meals that Jesus ate with all kinds of people and we’ll look at why food was important and how Jesus used meal times to minister to people and teach invaluable lessons. We will be using the small communion cups in the sanctuary this Sunday, hopefully for the last time, so if you’re watching at home, please have your elements ready.

KIDS BEACH CLUB STARTS TUESDAY, 2/8: please thank all of our AMAZING volunteers who are going to help make Kids Beach Club so amazing for the kids on Tuesday afternoons!  They are all Ministry Safe trained, background checked, and ready to go and we’re all excited! This is an ALL CHURCH project and whether there are 10 kids or 50 kids, we’ll do our best to be sure they all have a GREAT time and they all know how much they are LOVED, by Jesus Christ and by us.  If you’d like to be a “Snack of the Week” contributor (a small bottle of water & a Pop-Tart, bag of Cheez Its, or something similar), please contact our SNACK QUEEN below for dates … we won’t be able to give you good numbers for a week or two.

PRAYER TEAM:  All of you!

SURF TEAM LEADERS & ASSISTANTS: Ashley Wilcox & Mary Bevil, Sandra Strickland & JaneAnne Newton, Carolyn Stewart & Tricia Clark (if we need 4 groups Carolyn & Tricia will go solo)


GREETERS*: Ed & Ellie Page, Mary & Brad Scharf and Clint Cooper

MEMORY VERSE* and GAME LEADERS*:  Ericka Martin & Amy Moss

SNACK* QUEEN: Elaina Ragsdale (email her for a snack day … elaina.ragsdale@winnsboroisd.org



NOTE CREATOR & WRITERS: Heather Warren and Cyndie Ewert & Crystal Chandler

BACKUP WHEN NEEDED: Carla Chitsey and Ken Ragsdale

*If you still want to help, it’s not too late!

KNITTERS will be back on MONDAYS, 1 PM, Family Life Center … if you knit, stitch or crochet, come join them

CRAFTERS will meet WEDNESDAYS, 3 – 5 PM … come and craft and then stay for dinner. 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEALS START BACK NEXT WEEK: 2/9, 6 pm … the kitchen team is gearing up for a special VALENTINE’S DAY meal so don’t miss it!

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN MEET NEXT WEEK, 2/10, 10 am, Asbury Hall … come join the fellowship and mission, and enjoy a great program.

BROTHER HENRY’S MONTHLY BIBLE STUDY, 2/18, 10 am, Wesley HallHERE is the study outline for THE BEATITUDES, everyone is welcome!

I hope to see you all Sunday … and don’t forget to share your ONE WORD with me!

Pastor Debbie