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!

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

 

 


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3-16-20 FUMC Update

Well, it’s a challenging time … AND GOD IS WITH US!
 
As you all probably know, the news and events surrounding the CoronaVirus (COVID 19) have come hard and fast, and information changes daily. Last week, when we made the very difficult decision to cancel all church activities and close all our buildings, we did so out of an abundance of caution and more importantly, an abundance of LOVE for each other. In no way do we ever, in any even small way, want to jeopardize your health, especially when we have the capability to worship “together” on Facebook. I believe we definitely made the right choice, but I also know THIS IS TEMPORARY! 
 
Like you, I am relying on the Center for Disease Control for information and recommendations. As of now, the “CDC recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.”
 

But I will admit, this makes me take a deep breath and my mind goes into overdrive to think about: how will we take care of each other, how will we stay in touch, how will we worship? But then I remind myself:

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

Again, I believe we have done the right thing, and your Church Council will be meeting tonight to talk about plans for the future. So I will email you all tomorrow with updates.WE ARE NOT ALONE!

First and foremost, communication will be key.
 
1. EMAIL ~ I cannot send “all church emails” from my computer, but we will work to change that this week. I will communicate as often as possible when we get that done so I apologize this hasn’t gotten out sooner. 
 
2. PRAYER CHAIN ~ As we already have 74 receiving messages by text, this is the best resource for prayers AND info updates. For larger messages, I will give you a link that you can open.YOU WILL NOT GET MULTIPLE REPLIES and your number WILL NOT BE VISIBLE OR SHARED.
Here’s what to do:
         – Send a TEXT to this number: 81010 (this is a short phone # only for us).
         – Send this exact message:  @now-pray
       
  – Please set your notifications to let you know when you DO get a text
If you do not have TEXTS, you can gain access to messages online by signing in herehttps://www.remind.com/join/now-pray
 
3. FACEBOOK ~ If you don’t have a Facebook account, please get one. Even if you DON’T want to share any of your information with anyone – you don’t have to!  Facebook is free and all you need is an email address, and it will help you stay socially engaged during a time we’re keeping physical distance, AND you can be part of worship with us! CLICK HERE for simple instructions. I will be posting a daily message on Facebook and we will continue to have worship on Facebook. Call us if you need help and we’ll try to help! If you have a SMART TV, you probably already have the Facebook app on your TV so you can even watch Sunday worship on your big screen! (Your kids can help with this too!)
 
4. WEBSITE ~ We will make audio recordings of the full worship service and a short version of the message only so you have a choice. CLICK HERE for audio recordings of all past sermons.
 
5. DIRECTORY ~ I have ATTACHED a copy of our most recent directory (you can access the more detailed list, with emails on the website, password FUMC309). Call each other – check in with each other – if you are going to the store see if you can pick up a few things for your neighbor. Think about the people that sit around you in church – they are your “neighbors!” (And send us a “head & shoulders” picture of you individually and as a family if we don’t have one.)
 
WE HAD A GREAT WORSHIP YESTERDAY! It was unusual, yes, but thanks to Ken & Elaina Ragsdale, Kade Martin, Danny and Lola, and thanks to the hundreds of people who joined us online, we worshipped God! And we will continue to worship God! Thanks to those of you who commented, engaged and participated. If you have any ideas on how to make it BETTER please tell me!
 

As of today, our worship on Sunday reached 1,266 people (this does not include when more than two people listened together!). Perhaps this is one SMALL way that God is working for good! If we use the same metrics to determine how many full views we had (total minutes watched, 4,263, divided by the length of the worship, 43 min.) we had 100 full views. I PRAY we are reaching NEW people for Jesus Christ!

DO YOU NEED ANY ASSISTANCE?  Picking up a few things from the grocery store, a prescription from the drugstore? PLEASE LET US KNOW! We will try to find volunteers to help you! I DO want to encourage everyone to stay safe which means following the CDC guidelines to stay six feet away from each other, but there is PLENTY we can do within that recommendation.

I know I am missing things so watch your emails …until then …

WASH YOUR HANDS, PRAY DILIGENTLY and TRUST IN GOD!
 

Debbie Lyons, Pastor


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3-05-20 FUMC Update

I hope your LENTEN season has gotten off to a great start and you have found a way to grow spiritually in this pre-Easter season of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. As you know, our Wednesday night excess meal money will be going to the Methodist Children’s Home as part of our commitment to social holiness, but I hope you’re looking for other ways to deepen your faith during this very holy season.

 
BOOK OF REVELATION: Wednesday afternoons, 4-5:30 pm ~ Wow, studying the Book of Revelation has been so enriching for me this month! If you weren’t able to come to our study last night, I hope you can make it next week. I have attached a DEVOTIONAL for the week to help you work through the study of end times with us. It starts with a recap of chapters 1-3; and next week in our study, we’ll start with chapter 4. I went through a wonderful study on this book when I was a member of my home church many years ago and it was taught by a teacher with a PhD from Harvard, Scott Engle, who LOVED research and study, and he brought the message alive!  When I then taught this study at my last church, I used not only Scott’s research but also studied the two books he recommended: Craig Koester’s, Revelation and the End of All Things and Breaking the Code: Understanding the Book of Revelation. I highly recommend them both and I will do MY best to bring the scriptures alive for YOU!
 
LET’S PRAY FOR A CURE FOR THE CORONAVIRUS!  The coronavirus has been making headlines for weeks now, causing illness and death around the world, affecting economies, canceling schools, disrupting travel, etc. Like most people, I am certainly not an alarmist, but I also don’t want to be ignorant about how to be safe and make sure I don’t affect the safety of others. The Centers for Disease Control has provided excellent information and updates regularly, CLICK HERE to go to the website, but the most important thing we can do is exactly what we do to avoid the flu!  The prevention and treatment guidelines on the CDC website are excellent so please remind yourself of the simple steps. As people who believe in the mighty, saving power of Jesus Christ, we can ALL pray … for the families of those who have lost lives, that the virus does not spread, that a vaccine is developed quickly, and that those who are infected are healed.  We, of course, will do our best within the church to continue to keep handles, doorknobs, and surfaces clean. And we have placed hand sanitizer in every room but let’s make it a team effort!
 
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK? Did you know you don’t have to wait for a weekly email to know what’s going on? You can ALWAYS find details of what’s happening at the Church on our website CALENDAR, and Shiela Haynes has done a great job helping me with the website and has created another page WHAT’S HAPPENING that provides more detail. And, of course, I try to keep Facebook updated all the time!
 
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR AN AMAZING WORKSHOP PRESENTED BY THE TEXAS METHODIST FOUNDATION:
Saturday morning, April 4, Putting Your House in Order ~ This very popular 1-1/2 hour workshop will guide us through some of life’s toughest planning tasks for when we remain silent about end-of-life conversations ahead of time, we can burden those we love with impossible decisions. This workshop comes with an excellent 45 page workbook that walks you step by step through planning tips and ideas. Stay tuned for details, but please know this will be a community event so spread the word!
 
Debbie Lyons, Pastor

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2-25-20 FUMC Update

How can it be? Lent begins on Wednesday night with the beautiful ASH WEDNESDAY which reminds us of our mortality and sin. This sounds rather depressing; but in actuality, it’s one of the most thought-provoking services of the YEAR because it sets us on the road to the RESSURECTION! Come for dinner at 5:45 p.m. and then join us in the sanctuary at 6:30!
 
ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE:  2/26, 6:30 PM ~ Sanctuary (Dinner at 5:45 in FLC)
 
UNLOCKING THE CODE: A Study of the Apocalyptic  Messages in the Book of Revelation: Wednesday afternoons, March 4 – April 8 ~ The Throne Room of God, Armageddon, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, dragons and beast and scrolls. We’ll work through the most fascinating book of the Bible together!
 
PLANNING MEETING for BEAVER’S BEND CAMPING TRIP: Thursday, March 5, 9:30 a.m. at Annie Mae’s ~ If you’re still interested, please contact Jerry Calvert at 832-549-5042. 
 
IT’S GAME DAY!  Mexican Train Dominos. Thursday, March 5, 1-3 p.m. ~ Bring your friends for great snacks and great fun! Believe me when I tell you you do NOT have to know how to play!!
 
Do you have CAREGIVERS you could recommend? We often get calls from people needing some extra help caring for loved ones – respite care a few hours a week, evening care so sleep is possible, help with bathing or dressing, etc.  We certainly cannot ENDORSE in-home caregivers but we would love to pass on names for people who need some extra help.
 
Perkins Summit for Faith and Learning, March 26-28 ~ If you’re looking for some graduate-level education at remarkably affordable prices, check out SMU Perkins learning forum HERE.
 
THIS SUNDAY we start a new worship series for Lent and I hope you’ll make a commitment to include Sunday worship in your Lenten disciplines. We will be looking at some of the BACKGROUND texts that lead up to the EASTER story!  
 
“The angel [will show you] the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.”(Rev.22:1-2)
 

Debbie Lyons, Pastor

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2-20-20 FUMC Update

My mother had wonderful, simple wisdom. Along with some of her many mantras was, “It’s not a good worry.”  And another one was, “If you have to eat frogs, eat the biggest one first!” I came to understand that when you have a list of things to do that aren’t going to go away, you may as well do the one that’s the hardest first!
 
Both of these expressions are in my heart today as I share with you the hardest part of today’s email. Our amazing and wonderful office manager Laquita Kelm has decided to leave her position here at FUMC to spend more time at home caring for her husband. As many of you know, Laquita has been an integral part of helping to guide our church for more than seven years; and personally speaking, she has been an indispensable part of my work here at FUMC. Over these last few weeks, we have both been reminding each other to SURRENDER and we both believe God works for good in all things! Please pray for Laquita and her family, and pray that our Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) finds someone who will be a good fit for our Church.
 
LUNCH and HYGIENE KITS ON SUNDAY, February 23 ~ Please plan to join us for a fellowship lunch after church on Sunday as we then put together the hygiene kits for UMCOR.  
 
THE BOOK of REVELATION, Wednesdays, March 4 through April 8, 4-5:30 p.m. ~ Join me for a deep dive into one of the most complicated books of the Bible! Mark your calendars to use this season of Lent to do something you might haven’t done before!
 
ASH WEDNESDAY, February 26, 6:30 p.m. ~ After dinner, we’ll all meet together in the sanctuary for this very, special kickoff to the somber season of Lent. To learn more about LENT and Ash Wednesday, this website is very informative.
 
PLANNING MEETING for BEAVER’S BEND CAMPING TRIP, Thursday, March 5, 9:30 a.m., at Annie Mae’s ~ If you’re still interested, please contact Jerry Calvert at 832-549-5042. 
 
IT’S GAME DAY! Mexican Train Dominos, Thursday, March 5, 1-3  p.m. ~ Bring your friends for great snacks and great fun! Believe me when I tell you you do NOT have to know how to play!
 
This Sunday is our last message on the Seven Churches in the book of Revelation. I think it’s interesting that the letters appear in order where the “Church that Made Jesus Sick” comes last!
 
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Rev. 3:17-18 
 
Debbie Lyons, Pastor

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