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 morning worship, 10:50 AM on Facebook 
– 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.
 

 

NEED INFO ON COVID 19?

cdc-logo
 
CLICK HERE to go directly to the CDC website for current information on
testing and symptons.

– We have mobilized people to make cloth FACE MASKS that everyone will likely be wearing as we transition back to Church contact us if you need one, love offerings welcome!
 
– And we will PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!
 

I want everyone to know … the buildings may be closed but 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!

3-24-20 FUMC Update

Thanks to ALL of you who drove through to say HELLO yesterday afternoon. I was richly blessed and my soul overflowed with more love than you can imagine! In this time of social distancing, I have missed you all so very much that just seeing so many of your faces, it was amazing! 

NEXT MONDAY: I’ll be there from 1-2 p.m. again, and I’ll stay as long as I need to to see you!

Below is my Facebook post from today, but I have ATTACHED the fabric cutting instructions for FACE MASKS for any of you that might want to come by and pick up some fabric or you have fabric at home to start cutting.  If you just want to cut fabric, you can come by anytime. Please let us know you’re coming. We should have a pattern ready to send in tomorrow’s email.

We will have a very DISTANT gathering in Wesley Hall this Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m. No one will be even CLOSE to six feet apart! If you want to make your own mask with Penny or Amy giving guidance, please come (and be prepared to stay FAR AWAY from each other!): 

Please bring the following if you want to sew:

Short extension cord

Power strip (if they have one)

Sewing machine

Cutting tools

General sewing equipment (scissors, pins, etc)

Measuring tool

Marking tool (pencil, pen, or chalk)

FACEBOOK POST TODAY:  3/24/20 

I want to start with an update on the FACE MASKS. This Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m. we are inviting a few people who can make FACE MASKS to come and pick up the material they need to make masks. In our large Wesley Hall, we will have a LIMITED # of tables set up, at LEAST six feet apart, for those who want to set up their sewing machine and learn how to follow the pattern. Or, if you just want to help cut fabric, or work at home, we can have a pattern and fabric ready for you.

PLEASE post or send us a message and let us know what you want to do as space will be limited and we don’t want people CONGREGATING.

Thanks so much for EVERYTHING! We have reached out to our nursing homes, police and fire, and our hospital and we’ll make sure they have what they need, and then we’ll ship to the Methodist Hospital System.

Now, on another note, I must admit, I’ve never spent much time thinking about fear. My kids hate watching scary movies or thrillers with me because I scream OUT LOUD even when I know it’s coming! MY SCREAM then makes THEM jump out of their skin and then I get the “MOMMMMMMMM!!”

Fear can be contagious – 

Yes, we’re in a very serious crisis right now in our country and it requires us ALL to make sacrifices, NOT just to protect ourselves but to protect our neighbors, our community. But fear cannot STOP the virus. Our ACTIONS can stop this virus and we must ALL do our part and make some changes!

What changes have YOU had to make since we have begun taking drastic measures to STOP this virus?

My daughter Lyssa lives just north of the Dallas county border and Dallas is in lockdown or SHELTER IN PLACE until April 3. This is an attempt to prevent the hospitals from being overloaded. She is committed to staying in her house, she has no job in Dallas anymore and she is now doing online video to her children’s gym members and her personal Cross Fit clients.

Change …….  

We get to choose how we handle this temporary coronavirus problem. Will we choose to power through our FEAR of CHANGE and do what has to be done? Or risk our own health and the health of others?

I was thinking about the story of NICODEMUS in the Gospel of John who pushed through his fear and took a HUGE risk! Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a leader of the Jews. An important man. A man with much to protect. But when he had heard the strange story of how a man from Nazareth named Jesus, who had changed water into wine during a large wedding party in Cana was healing people and doing other miracles.

Nicodemus wanted to meet this Jesus for some sort of explanation but he couldn’t just walk UP to him. He had a reputation to protect and already, some of the Pharisees were talking about the need to confront Jesus … sooooo …

Fearing what might happen if he DID meet with Jesus, Nicodemus snuck out in the dark of night so no one would know. But as AFRAID as Nicodemus was to go to meet Jesus, after he did, Nicodemus was CHANGED when he finally understood what Jesus meant when he said … YOU MUST BE BORN ANEW. He changed so much so, that later, Nicodemus would stand up and defend Jesus! Later still, it was Nicodemus who would join Joseph of Arimathea caring for Jesus’ body when he was taken down from the cross

Nicodemus was deeply affected by his encounter with Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to make CHANGES because he was open to the notion of a God much larger and very different from the God he had known! 

If we trust that God really IS working for good, if we believe in Him and BELIEVE that this coronavirus WILL pass. We will be MUCH more likely to survive the EMOTIONAL impact of isolation and loss.

Let’s not fear change. Let’s do what we have to do and see God’s droplets of grace all around us!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


Read more...

3-23-20 FUMC Updates

Thanks to all of you who are joining together in worship on Sunday mornings. I hope by now you have Facebook on your phone, tablet or TV because it really IS special knowing we’re all together. Each week we make some improvements so hang in there with us. A few of you said you have sound problems (be sure your media column is turn up) but most said everything was loud and clear! Again, we have already tweaked a few things so it will be even BETTER next week! Many thanks to Elaina and Ken Ragsdale, Kade Martin, Danny McMahon and Lola Blundell for being part of getting God’s message out there. THEY ARE AMAZING!

If you don’t have Facebook, you can listen to the service HERE.

COME BY AND “SEE” ME TODAY! I truly miss seeing everyone, and while we can’t be within six feet of each other we can SEE each other! I’m going to be in my “temporary office” inside the sanctuary doors on CHURCH STREET, under the drive-through, TODAY, MONDAY, March 23, from 1-2 so drive by and say hello! I’ll ask God to bless you after you tell me how you’re doing and we’ll have that moment to connect! Hope to see you today!

HERE’S THE DEVOTIONAL FROM TODAY ON FACEBOOK:  We need 1/4″ elastic please! 

================

Good morning. Today is Monday, March 23, and I am celebrating with you today that we have made it to the halfway point of the 15-day self-isolation imposed on everyone in the country to slow the spread of the corona virus! Wow, who could have EVER imagined this could happen but it HAS, and we’re all doing our best to stay positive and faithful!

It was GREAT having so many of you with us yesterday for Sunday morning worship. You can go back and watch it anytime. In fact, start a watch party with your friends (the little purple button under the video). I know it sounds weird but being “together” in any way we can DOES help!

Speaking of help we need YOURS! There is a vital shortage of face masks for our healthcare workers, and we want to do whatever we can to KEEP THEM SAFE! While we have the CDC compliant patterns and the fabric, we desperately need 1/4-inch elastic! Please go to your craft rooms and closets and look for ½-inch elastic. You can mail it or drop it off through our mail slot by the office, but we sure could use it!

ALSO, while these are certainly unusual times in which we live and I MISS seeing everyone, I’m moving my office to the “drive-through” doors of our sanctuary this afternoon from 1-2. We will keep our six-foot distance and you won’t have to get out of the car. But please drive by and say hello, TODAY, Monday after lunch.

By the way, I know there are a lot of emotions swirling around since this virus has changed our lives. Fear, impatience, anxiety, but please try to remember, this is new for EVERYONE and everyone will handle this differently. We all handle stress in different ways and nothing brings more stress than CHANGE.

I think I’ll talk about that tomorrow – so until then,

Please check in on each other – the phones still work – and wash your hands, stay six feet away from everyone, pray diligently and trust in God!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


Read more...

3-19-20 FUMC Update

It is with bittersweet love in my heart that I tell you our wonderful and amazing Office Manager, Laquita, will be leaving her position at FUMC next week to spend more time at home caring for her husband. Not only has she seen this church through some difficult times in the last eight years, but she has also been my ROCK since I’ve been here the last 2 ½ years. 

Laquita did NOT want a going away party. She said it would just be too hard … but if you would like to drop off a card or a note for her, I know she would love to know how much she has been appreciated!

On a happy note, we have hired a new Office Manager, DEANNA ROUSSET (pronounced DEENA ROUSAY) and Laquita and I have both enjoyed getting to know her this week! Deanna has a LOT of office AND church experience, and I can already tell she’s a team player because we are being NEUROTIC about staying six feet apart in a small space, and she is so joyful about it all! Please feel free to call and welcome her!

FACEBOOK POST 3/19/20 – FUMC

I was planning to fly to SC for my niece’s wedding on March 28. She and Joseph have been together for more than five years and were so excited about their special day! Yesterday, her dream hit a roadblock. Due to new restrictions of group gatherings of more than 10, and concerned for the safety of her family and friends, she had to cancel her entire wedding.

Now you would THINK she would be devastated, and make no mistake … she IS extremely sad about it, and my sister, her mom, is also extremely sad, but here’s what Kelly wrote on her Facebook …

This morning I woke up grateful.

Last night we went to sleep grateful.

This has been a devastating week for so many people.

Joseph and I, as many of you know, were scheduled to have our dream wedding next weekend. Today was the day we were doing our final walk through and confirming all the little details. Everything was planned and absolutely perfect.

We have decided to still get married next weekend but with our family only. We are going to do a one-year Vow Renewal in 2021 when this mess is over and my Aunt Debbie Lyons and our friends will be able to attend and do our ceremony and we will have a massive party.

Kelly went on to discuss her GRATITUDE to all the people who helped plan for and pay for her special day and guess what … she and Joseph are getting married NOT next weekend but THIS FRIDAY NIGHT! They’re having an intimate lovely wedding for a few family members. Kelly is FILLED with joy because, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the one-day wedding that mattered, it’s their life-long MARRIAGE that matters. It’s about their LOVE.

How will WE be forced to make necessary changes through the restrictions placed on us during this very infectious coronavirus? Our wonderful office manager is retiring and she has been training her replacement but they have to stay at LEAST six feet away from each other and this is challenging! I’ve washed my hands more in the last two weeks than I have in the last 2 years. Not to mention the change we made to bring our worship to FACEBOOK and you have NO IDEA how odd it is to preach in an empty sanctuary!

BUT THESE ARE MINOR CHANGES compared to what some of you, like Kelly and Joseph are having to face. Look at what our health care workers and first responders are going through? They are tirelessly working to care for people who are sick and scared, and while we’re hunkered down and staying at home they’re going right into the danger zones!

Did you see the spontaneous act of gratitude in Spain this week? Right after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivered a televised address to the nation informing everyone they would be confined to their homes except to make short trips to buy supplies, quarantined people went to their windows and balconies to give a round of applause in gratitude to the work being carried out by Spain’s health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.  They cheered and clapped amid shouts of “Long Live Doctors!”

Gratitude … a word used to express thankfulness and praise NOT JUST in blessings but also in the trials of life. The apostle Paul tells us to give thanks for all things and in all circumstances even in suffering and to do everything in the name of Jesus out of a spirit of gratitude (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Romans 5:3-5 ; James 1:1-4, Colossians 3:17).

Do you see DROPLETS OF GRACE all around you? I know you might need to be FLOODED with grace and you WILL be! But maybe today you can see the DROPLETS of grace all around you. Let’s pray for the safety of our healthcare providers and first responders today and let’s THANK GOD for their selfless service!

DON’T FORGET. Wash your hands. Stay six feet apart from each other. Pray diligently and TRUST IN GOD!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


Read more...

3-17-20 FUMC Update

Good morning – afternoon – whenever you read this. This is the video message I posted on Facebook today. If you don’t have Facebook yet, the instructions were in yesterday’s email. Also, while I may be in the office this week, and Laquita is training our new Office Manager, WE ARE MAINTAINING the required 6 feet of distance between us. Please keep that in mind if you have to pick something up or drop anything off.

We all woke up this morning to a new day in our battle against the coronavirus. And make no mistake as we heard in the coronavirus taskforce yesterday we are battling an invisible enemy.
 

BUT WE CAN DO THIS! We MUST do this and the sooner we make the sacrifices NOW. The sooner we get ahead of this nasty little germ and the faster we can get back to normal! THIS IS A TEMPORARY NEW NORMAL and this too shall pass!

As you know we WILL worship together this Sunday at 10:50 a.m. right here on Facebook. So invite your friends who ALSO find themselves following the new guideleine. You heard them, right? For the next 15 days (and this will be re-evaluated), NO GROUPS larger than 10 should gather. ANY interaction with another person should be at least 6 feet apart – and if you’re sick – stay HOME and call your doctor.

AGAIN … WE CAN DO THIS! If you have elderly neighbors, call them before you go to the grocery store and offer to pick up a few things – or pick up a prescription. Social distancing is not in our nature but we can actually TALK to each other on the phone or engage on Facebook together. I think we should call this PHYSICAL distancing, not social distancing because we need social interaction!

Yesterday I talked about worry (attached) but today I want to talk about fear and this is the best scripture EVER, especially for this time … get ready to write it down … are you ready  …

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear,
but rather a spirit of power and of love 
and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)


GOD did not give us a spirit of fear. We tend to muster up fear all on our own! GOD gave us a spirit of POWER, do you hear – of POWER for love and self-discipline! We will need love and self-discipline more than ever and if EVERYONE is responsible then this VIRUS … well, it too shall pass!

I couldn’t help but imagine a life without fear, worry, or anxiety.

THIS IS WHAT GOD WANTS FOR US  … freedom from anxiety but it seems the things that is so difficult today is … the unknown.  What will I do IF … How will I handle this WHEN …

If we stop to think about it, our lives are pretty much one large pile of unknowns. We take risks of one sort or another every day of our lives and most of these unknowns don’t trouble us at all. And if they do, we deal with them easily. But sometimes, we face an unknown that scares us, paralyzes us, and robs of us whatever peace of mind we might have enjoyed. Such an unknown can cause us to make terrible decisions.

Trust or turn back?

I was studying FEAR in the Bible this weekend and reading from the END of book of Numbers chapter 13:30-14:4. It’s a GREAT story of a choice the Israelites had to make after escaping from slavery in Egypt.

After they had fled across the Red Sea, God led Moses and the people to Mt. Sinai where He laid out the covenant within which God and the people would live together. This was a set of instructions for what it means to love God and to love neighbor, including the Ten Commandments. He also gave them instructions to build a movable home in which God would dwell with them.

Then God led them from Mt. Sinai to the borders of Canaan so that the Israelites might move into the land that God had promised to Abraham centuries before. Yet despite all this, the people seemed plagued and troubled by fears, doubts, and anxieties, sometimes even going so far as to wish they were still back in Egypt.

Time and again, they quickly forgot about their escape from Pharaoh and even the food God had rained down upon them from heaven (Exodus 16). Instead, they could see only the unknowns ahead and embrace only their own fears.

When the Israelites arrived at the borders of Canaan, at God’s instruction, they sent in a team of spies to check things out. Sensible enough. However, when the spies returned after forty days, they reported that though the land flowed with “milk and honey,” the Canaanites were simply too strong and as big as giants. In their fear, the people turned back, some even desiring to return to Egypt.

Despite their experiences with God, their experience of God, their faith was weak. They trusted God too little. They weren’t really sure that God would or could keep his promises. Indeed, their faith was not really placed in Yahweh, the God of Moses.

Rather, their faith was in a god of their own making, a god much too small to trust with life and death. So, led astray by this tiny god of their own conception, the people would wander aimlessly for forty years until they had died, until their children were ready to trust, fully trust, the God-Who-Is and begin their conquest of Canaan.

Trust or panic?  LET’S CHOOSE TRUST.

Watch the video on Facebook tomorrow – I’ll try to post before noon.

Don’t forget … wash your hands, pray diligently and  TRUST IN GOD.

Debbie Lyons, Pastor

 

 


Read more...