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

7/1/20 … While we’ve all been very excited about SLOWLY and SAFELY starting to gather, in limited numbers, the spike in COVID cases has encouraged us to PAUSE our re-opening and close the sanctuary in July. Check out our HAPPENING NOW page for details and  remind everyone who is over 65 and/or with underlying health conditions to please be aware of the CDC guidelines about getting out and about too soon! 

– Sunday morning worship is now only LIVE on Facebook at 10:50 AM through July.  We do hope you’ll “come” and comment that you’re watching with us!
 
I will also have a ZOOM BIBLE TALK on WEDNESDAY MORNINGS at 10 AM CLICK HERE to see the details … I’d love to get to know you and we dive deep into the influential chapters of the New Testament this summer!

 

NEED INFO ON COVID 19?

cdc-logo
 
CLICK HERE to go directly to the CDC website for current information on
testing and symptons.
– Some of our Sunday School classes have started back too and you can get info on those classes HERE. 
 

As our original opening documents stated The the advice of public health officials may change as more becomes known about COVID-19 so we want to reiterate that we may move back and forth between phases of reopening if second or third waves of infections emerge.”  Sadly, while we moved forward when things looked good, it’s now time to take a step back, TEMPORARILY!  We just didn’t want to risk even ONE person getting sick and if that means engaging our spiritual gift of PATIENCE!  Please continue to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY that we can stop the spread and get back together, IN PERSON, in August! And as always, I hope to “see” you on Facebook!       ~ 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!

3-26-20 FUMC Update

image.pngWOW … how exciting to people at church today picking up fabric and instructions for making masks! Penny Boice took pictures and wrote instructions if you have fabric at home, and if you don’t have elastic, Amy Moss can walk you through using ribbon that will tie behind the head. If you didn’t see Facebook yesterday, Amy took our SUPERHEROES at the Police Department their requested masks. Aren’t they fabulous?
 

HERE IS MY FACEBOOK POST FROM TODAY:  Could you open the audio I sent yesterday? I’ve attached this new one as I didn’t hear from anyone it DIDN’T work! I will NOT be sending a Friday post but I hope you’ll all be at WORSHIP with us on Facebook Sunday at 10:50 am!

A LOT of people in the United States will be getting droplets of grace very soon. The government is going to give MANY people UNEXPECTED money! Even though it isn’t the government’s fault this contagious virus caused them to mandate “stay at home” restrictions, they have agreed to HELP people through the chaos in the economy that has resulted from efforts to keep people at home to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Watching the democratic governors from our two largest states most greatly affected by the disease work so closely with our republican President for the greater good DOES inspire me! They are showing that when it comes to doing what’s best for EVERYONE. In circumstances that NO ONE could have planned for or been prepared for, our government officials are trying to do everything they can to save lives!

Just yesterday, the FEDERAL government has even gone a step further. They have also taken responsibility for helping people get THROUGH this time by sending many people a “refund check” from taxes you’ve paid. And make no mistake, we WILL get through it!  

I don’t pretend to have details yet, so please watch the Corona Virus Task Force UPDATES held every day!

I want to challenge you to think about that – how will you honor God with whatever you get back! All throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament we are told over 100x to give generously. In fact, many times the amount we are to give is CLEAR. We are to give 10% BACK to Him from everything he provides in order to help build His kingdom on this earth. 

Proverbs 3 says: Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine (Proverbs 3:9-10)

God doesn’t NEED your money. He doesn’t ask you to be FAITHFUL because he wants generosity FROM you. He wants generosity FOR you! Let me say that again. God doesn’t want generosity FROM you. He wants generosity FOR you! And when you are generous to Him, he promises to bless you RICHLY.

He even challenges you to TEST HIM ON THIS PROMISE saying: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

Can you imagine what GREATNESS could come in this world if EVERY faithful person would give 10% of their refund checks to GOD? Can you IMAGINE the blessings that will be poured out on our families and our communities?

Now let me be clear. This DOESN’T mean FINANCIAL blessings will be returned to you. Who KNOWS how you’ll receive your blessing, maybe in ways worth MUCH more than whatever you give!

This is who GOD is! Are you ready to be blessed by YOUR faithfulness?  

THANKS FOR ALL YOU’RE DOING TO CHECK IN ON EACH OTHER!!

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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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


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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! 

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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


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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


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