WELCOME TO FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH WINNSBORO!

All are welcome at Winnsboro’s First Church so dive on in! We are a warm and welcoming congregation where you can meet people, celebrate life, grow deeper, stronger in your faith and turn energy into action that transforms the world. EVERYONE is invited and if you’d like us to meet you at the door, email us HERE and we’ll be there! 
 
Sunday Morning Worship
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10:50 a.m.

 
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watch past Sunday services and/or devotionals.
 
 
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2-16-21 FUMC Updates – Buildings Remain Closed Through Friday

Brrrrrrr!!! Today is Fat Tuesday, the day before the sacrificial season of Lent begins … this is the day of Mardi Gras and last-minute BINGING before the fasting begins. But today? Well, as if COVID didn’t damper the celebratory spirit enough, here we are like bears hibernating in winter, locked in our homes trying to stay warm! I’ve closed all my blinds to keep as much heat in as I can, I’ve closed the vents in the rooms I do not use, I cooked a few things that would require a stove (knowing that keeping things COLD wouldn’t be a problem), and with no electricity for the last 2 hours this morning, it’s been darker than it WOULD be on a normal day!  Who knew Texas could get this much snow and have such bitterly cold temperatures!

I have heard from some of you who have been without electricity for HOURS and HOURS and your spirits are good and you’re doing your best to stay warm! I know we’ve been told to prepare for rolling blackouts and I pray that all of you have everything you need to be safe and sound in the coming days … please let me know if you DO need anything!  The forecast is warning us that it could be difficult through mid-Friday but … to everything there is a season and throughout history, some seasons are a little tougher than others! This too shall pass!!

During my devotion time this morning I came across this scripture from JOB … it reminds me that God created the seasons, He knows what He’s doing and when we trust Him, we also know that amid the ICE AND SNOW, He is always working for good … always!!!

God roars with his wondrous voice;
    he does great things we can’t know.
He says to the snow, “Fall to earth,”
    and to the downpour of rain, “Be a mighty shower.”
He stamps the hand of every person
    so all can know his work.
The wild beast enters its lair,
    lies down in its den.
The storm comes from its chamber,
    the cold from the north wind.
By God’s breath ice forms;
    water’s expanse becomes solid.
He also fills clouds with moisture;
    his lightning scatters clouds.
He overturns the circling clouds;
    by his guidance they do their work,
    doing everything he commands over the entire earth.
Whether for punishment, for his world,
        or for kindness,
    God can make it all happen. JOB 37:5-13

BUILDINGS WILL REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH FRIDAY, 2/19 …this is certainly no surprise, but it does mean that our Ash Wednesday service will be on Facebook NOT in the sanctuary.

WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY? 2/17, 6:30 PM, Facebook LIVE … I hope you’ll all plan to make time for this incredibly special and sacred service that begins the Lent season. If you still do not have Facebook to watch it with us LIVE, it will be on YouTube as soon thereafter as we can get it uploaded. Throughout church history Christians have used the 40 days before Easter, (not including the 6 Sundays), to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us and to prepare for the glorious resurrection! We do this by intentional focus on fasting, prayer, penance, almsgiving, devotion, and study. It begins with Ash Wednesday, reminding us that because of sin, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, forced to live lives with toil, pain & trouble, and then ultimately die. And yet, in God’s mercy and grace, He sent His son to offer us FORGIVENESS and return to us the gift of His presence in ETERNAL LIFE.

On Wednesday night we’ll impose ashes on our foreheads together … while you can use a drop of simple olive oil, please light a candle at the beginning of the service as part of your sacred space, then at the end, you will blow that candle out and when the wick is cool, you can use the ash from the wick. If you don’t have a candle, you can use a match or a lighter to burn the bottom of a can from your cupboard and rub off the ‘SOOT’ when the can is cool.  This is all symbolic but the symbolism, which we’ll talk in-depth about on Wednesday night, is powerful.

ZOOM LENT STUDY WEDNESDAY, 2/17 10 AM … we begin our WIND IN THE WILDERNESS study with Isaiah who sees the winds of the Holy Spirit blowing in the worst of times.  The analogy of a magnificent skyscraper beginning with a deep hole in the ground is where we’ll begin so please join us … get the info on the calendar HERE.

I’m sending this email in the moments the electricity is now back on … I will now take off 1 of my 3 pair of socks, 2 of my 3 sweatshirts and my coat, and my “fingerless” mittens … make a cup of coffee and heat up some soup … and most importantly, take time to be GRATEFUL for electricity which I have taken for granted!!

Please call if you need anything!
Pastor Debbie


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2-13-21 FUMC Update

Due to the “historic” winter weather advisory, freezing rain, and bitter cold temperatures in the forecast, all our buildings will be closed through Tuesday. 

While Ken and I will be in the sanctuary broadcasting LIVE on Facebook at 10:50 AM Sunday (assuming we have electricity!), please stay safe at home in your nice warm clothes with a hot cup of coffee and worship God from your living room! Keep your electronics charged, bring your pets in, have a plan if your electricity goes out & check on your neighbors!

We’re moving into MARK CHAPTER 5 tomorrow so read the text and get ready because it’s all about DEMONS and DESTINIES!

We’ll reevaluate plans after Tuesday so stay tuned!

https://www.kltv.com/weatheralerts/

Let’s pray for those who must work outside!
Pastor Debbie


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1-9-21 FUMC Updates

Both in Matthew and Mark Jesus told the disciples that it would soon be time for Him to go to Jerusalem where He would suffer and die. Even though the disciples had traveled with Jesus and followed Him for more than 2 years, and even though Jesus tried to prepare them by teaching that He had not come to establish an earthly kingdom but an eternal kingdom, their expectations of Him were still confusing! At one point, Peter, one of Jesus’ most devout disciples, began to rebuke Jesus for having such a fatalistic mindset! But Jesus quickly snapped back saying firmly: “GET BEHIND ME SATAN”. 

Sometimes, when it comes to technology I want to say … GET BEHIND ME SATAN!  As you know, a week ago, we were able to upgrade some of our broadcast equipment, and that very 1st week, everything went great!  Last week, well … let’s just say we had human error (on my part!) AND technology malfunction on the part of Suddenlink not having available the bandwidth to broadcast our HD worship slides. ***SIGH***  We were eventually able to reconnect and broadcast at a lower quality level (you can watch all but the 1st minutes of the sermon here or listen to it all here) but needless to say, Ken and I have both been praying about not turning into “Peters”! God’s kingdom cannot be stopped and we are committed to working harder to make our worship special for those who DO worship online .. we hope our learning curve will get MUCH smaller and we continue to pray that Suddenlink provides the service we need so hang in there with us!

PRAYER QUILT MINISTRY PROJECT:  because we had some connectivity issues on Sunday many of you missed the introduction to a wonderful prayer ministry project that was launched this past Sunday and will be completely revealed this coming Sunday. CLICK HERE to help us pray over the 6 prayer quilts being delivered to 6 special people this week, then tune in THIS Sunday, February 14th to get the rest of the story.

BIBLE TALK ENDS AND LENT BEGINS: Wednesday mornings at 10 am … our last winter Bible Talk ZOOM is tomorrow, Wed. 2/10, at 10 am and we’ll be getting ready for the beginning of LENT with a look at Revelation 22: Heaven, I Can Only Imagine.  Then starting Wednesdays, 2/17, I will be leading a more conversational Lenten study, an exploration of the Prophets and their role in the Easter story.   CLICK HERE for sign-in info and details.

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN: Thursday, 2/11, 10 am, Asbury Hall .. come be part of a great group of women building relationships with one another and growing in their faith!  Their purpose is:  “to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.”  Come join us, masks please.

ASH WEDNESDAY: February 17th, 6:30 PM … believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking ahead to the death and resurrection of Christ! Easter is MORE than a day, it’s a lifestyle because once we accept that Jesus died for us, our lives change! ASH WEDNESDAY kicks off the 6-week season of preparation for Easter … it is a special, sacred service where palm branch ashes are imposed on our foreheads to remind us that God created us from the dust of the earth and we will someday return to dust. But we also know this … God makes BEAUTY from the ashes! If you will be watching from home, please pick up your ashes from the red tub by the office door between Feb. 14 and Feb. 17th, or if you cannot get out, I will mail them to you but please let me know right away.

SUNDAY, MARCH 14th, 10:50 am, DEMONS & DESTINIES … this past Sunday we talked about PARADOX and PARABLES (I attached the chapter 4 reflection questions again CLICK HERE), and this Sunday you will EXPERIENCE a paradox … the message, from Mark 5 is about DEMONS and DESTINIES, but it’s VALENTINE’S DAY so .. we’ll figure out how LOVE leads the way!

Many blessings for a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
Pastor Debbie


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2-2-21 FUMC Updates

It’s February and sadly, for you warm weather fans, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning which means there will be 6 more weeks of winter! But this year, due to COVID-19, there is no crowd on Gobblers Knob – the ceremonies went ahead as planned, but virtually this time around!  But don’t worry since 1886, Ground Hog Day will keep coming, every same, the same way it has every year for 135!

As I watched this annual tradition on the news this morning I couldn’t help but think of the movie GROUNDHOG DAY which came out in 1993 … since then, even the dictionary has a secondary definition of Groundhog Day: “a time loop of experience with everyday feeling the same. A time loop of experience with everyday feeling the same. A time loop of experience with everyday feeling the same”.

My devotional this week is a continuation from last week’s message on words that the OXFORD DICTIONARY selected as impactful in 2020 … I wondered if maybe GROUNDHOG DAY should have been I mean added to the list because come on … how many times during COVID have you used the phrase “it’s just another Groundhog Day!”?

As for shadows seen or not, rarely does Phil predict an early spring – in 135 years over a hundred times he’s emerged to announce in Groundhog-ese, six more weeks of winter “is what I see” but if tradition matters – some events feeling the same is comforting!

OUR WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL was posted yesterday on Facebook and on YouTube, but I have attached it here (CLICK HERE) for you as well … I wanted to continue the conversation I started last week on the Oxford Dictionary words of 2020 so I think you’ll find words like “blursday” and “infodemic” interesting!

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF OUR BRAND-NEW WORSHIP BROADCAST?  Ken Ragsdale and Kade Martin were hard at work last week looking for ways to improve our online worship experience to make viewing more engaging and, hopefully, to expand our outreach.  THEY HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK!  If you were in the sanctuary or not watching worship with us on Facebook this Sunday you can watch it on Facebook or here on our YouTube channel to see the difference in quality. 

It’s important to understand that online worship, while NEVER being able to replace in-person worship, IS going to be part of making disciples for Jesus Christ in the future. Today, people have a LOT more choice in where they worship online so while some faithful church members do watch their own church services, others have realized they can watch any service they want, anywhere they want! That being said, in this modern age of HD big screen TV’s, surround sound and beaming broadcasts, this moderate investment, made possible from designated gifts of people who saw the importance of digital evangelism in the past, will hopefully impact YOUR worship experience!  I also hope more of you will now be excited to click SHARE to your own page so YOUR friends might try something new! 

Barna Research has studied this:

“Churched adults logging in for services usually opt for their regular church home (40%), though 23% have streamed services from a different church, essentially “church-hopping” online. One-third of practicing Christians (34% vs. 16% non-practicing Christians) has also virtually attended a church other than their own in the past month; indeed, we see one-quarter of practicing Christians (26% vs. 12% non-practicing Christians) notes that, during the pandemic, this has become typical of their online attendance. This might not be such a departure from pre-COVID-19 attendance habits, as 35% of churched adults and 26% of practicing Christians told us in December 2019 that they usually divide their attendance among two or more churches.

Not only do some churched adults see online worship as an opportunity to try other services themselves, some also see it as a chance to invite friends—whether Christian (22%) or non-Christian (14%)—to “visit” their churches online.”

HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT HOW TO WATCH FACEBOOK OR YOUTUBE ON YOUR TV? There are lots of great “how to” articles and videos out there and you can do this from your phone, tablet, or PC … if you want to know more, check out this video.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?  Check the calendar

  • Tuesdays: prayer in the sanctuary, 9 am – 10:30 am
  • Wednesdays: ZOOM Bible study, 10am – 11:15 am (This week, “God Loves the People You Can’t Stand, Acts 10)
  • Sundays: 9:30 am … Coffee and Conversation is meeting in POTLUCK temporarily, and Family Ties is meeting in their Wesley classroom.

ATTACHED ARE THE MARK 4 REFLECTION QUESTIONS: if you’re studying along with us, I’ve attached (CLICK HERE) the Mark 4 … this Sunday we’ll look at the 2nd part of chapter 4 as the parable continue.

Grace and peace – stay safe and be kind!
Pastor Debbie


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1-26-21 FUMC Updates

There are NO WORDS to tell you how much I appreciate what Ken Ragsdale does for our church (AND FOR ME!!) every single Sunday morning!  When I moved here in November 2017 and asked if he could record audio of our sermons for the website, he had it done the 1st Sunday I preached!  When I asked him if we could broadcast on Facebook LIVE about 2 years ago, he had it set up a week later!  Yesterday, when Facebook locked us down because of a “forced log out after a configuration change”, I watched him run up and down from the balcony trying to do everything he could to keep worship streaming and I was so thankful we had someone so passionate about keeping everyone connected in whatever way possible!

Sadly, we couldn’t overcome Facebook on Sunday but as always, the AUDIO recording worked great and it IS on the website if you want to stay caught up on the Gospel of Mark. (CLICK HERE).  THE GOOD NEWS? We don’t anticipate this problem again and we SHOULD be back to normal this Sunday! 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL came to me from an article I read about the WORD OF THE YEAR … apparently, dictionary publishers always choose one word that represents the year gone by, but how could they ever pick ONE WORD that would signify what happened in 2020? Well, Oxford couldn’t … I have attached the devotional that shares, from a Biblical perspective 2 words that I wasn’t familiar with!  Or you can watch on YouTube or Facebook too.  

COVID VACCINE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: As you know, there is a lot of conversation in the news about the new, more infectious strains of COVID starting to spread but the vaccines are coming! (NET Health updates.) I have heard from many of you on the PRAYER TEAM who have taken advantage of the “act now” links to appointments when I learn they are available, but you DO have to act quickly. Net Health has a page that explains who is ELIGIBLE and how to get on a vaccine waiting list there also … CLICK HERE.  We are fortunate to have a public health agency that serves our county!  Looking for where to find the COVID vaccine on your own? The Texas Division of Emergency Management updates a vaccine map daily indicating exactly where vaccines have been distributed and which vaccines they have. As you can imagine, the vaccines are being used in QUICK-TIME so be ready to go and be diligent in continuing to check the map. Click the OK button in the lower right corner to get to the map. To access the availability map, CLICK HERE.

HAVE YOU TAKEN THE CORE VALUES SURVEY YET?  This is the last week you can have YOUR opinions matter as your Church Leadership Team will begin strategizing plans for the future!  Please take this survey which lists 30 CORE VALUES that would typically be associated with churches – we want to find out what YOU see as OUR Core Values!  For each value, you’ll mark whether you think we are CONSISTENT in that value, INCONSISTENT in that value, or if you feel it’s a value we SHOULD ASPIRE TO and work MORE toward! You’ll be asked for your email address so everyone can only answer once but your answers are anonymous. When you are finished, you’ll see the current results. Thanks so much for your input!  

UPCOMING EVENTS:  rather than waste your time with ongoing things, you can always go to the website CALENDAR. Yes, the sanctuary is open on Tuesday mornings, 9 – 10:30 for PRAYER and yes, we have BIBLE TALK every Wednesday at 10 AM. (This week we’re looking at what happens when Jesus interrupts your life -Acts Chapter 9)

THIS SUNDAY: we’ll dive into the 1st half of MARK 4, THE PARABLES … I have attached the reflection questions from this past Sunday, chapters 2 and 3.

Many blessings – stay safe!
Pastor Debbie


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