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12-28-20 FUMC Updates

How did it happen?  We waited, and prepared, and decorated and shopped and looked forward to seeing family and then … Christmas finally came, and it was over in the blink of an eye!  I had a wonderful visit with my family, and I am so grateful we were all healthy and happy over a joyfully chaotic few days! I hope you, too, had a wonderful Christmas, although I know some of you did NOT have a “normal” celebration … some in the hospital, some in quarantine, some unable to travel, etc. I pray the droplets of grace that surrounded you helped you ALL feel God’s presence in those difficult times.

I have sensed a continued weariness as we wait just a little bit longer for the COVID vaccines to get distributed and things to return to some normalcy. But please do not let down your guard because this virus is deadly and destructive, and it spreads very quickly. While we were fortunate to get out of the red danger zone in our 7 county area, I was sad to see Net Health reporting our numbers, the week BEFORE Christmas, went up. We know that after holiday gatherings we will likely see those numbers go up even more so please be diligent in staying safe. Our church will remain open with all safety protocols in place, including wearing masks through the service as attendance and cases pick up again. If anything changes, we will update you.

CORONAVIRIS VACCINES … I hope everyone has done your research on the vaccines (CLICK HERE for CDC info). Jimmie Davis has been in contact with Net Health and they will let him know when the vaccines are available in East Texas … right now, Tyler HAS received a shipment for the health care workers first, but soon, they will be available for nursing homes and seniors and Jimmie will keep us updated.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 3rd thru APRIL 4, 10:50 AM … THE GOSPEL OF MARK: this Sunday fasten your seatbelts for a fast-paced, teaching worship series on the Gospel of Mark! This gospel shares a vivid account of Jesus’ ministry, moving quickly from one episode and ministry to another, emphasizing more of what Jesus did than what He said. Mark shares a sense of immediacy, a sense that Jesus’s time on earth was short and that there was much to accomplish in His few years on earth. The forward motion in Mark’s writing keeps us continually looking ahead to the cross and the resurrection!  PLEASE SHARE OUR INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK posts on your pages – this is the kind of sermon series that appeals to people differently than a regular series … we’ll be in-person, with masks, and online!  Check out the MARK page on the website HERE.

MANY THANKS FOR MY CHRISTMAS EVE SURPRISE:  those of you who participated in the Christmas Eve service could probably tell how absolutely shocked I was to receive your generous Christmas THANK-YOU gift!  Joanna Horton, the Chair of our Church Council certainly had something to do with that so to any and all of you involved, THANK-YOU!

MANY THANKS TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CARES ACTS TAX BREAKS and GIVING BACK TO GOD: it’s not too late to take advantage of this unusual COVID-19 “gift” from the IRS!  Many of you are already scheduling regular giving on our website (we pay the fees!) but now, you can also give on FACEBOOK using the DONATE button at the top of the page and there are no fees at all! Check with your accountant for details but here’s the gist of it:

How does the Act impact taxpayers that itemize?

For the first time ever, donors who itemize their deductions can now deduct charitable contributions up to 100% of adjusted gross income (AGI). This change allows donors to maximize donations in a single year and have more control over the impact of contributions on taxable income. Previously, this limit was at 60% of AGI. Giving beyond this 100% limitation may be carried over and used in the next five years.

How does the CARES Act impact those that do not itemize?

Taxpayers who generally do not itemize on their personal return can take a charitable deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions to qualifying organizations on their personal return. This deduction will be an ‘above the line’ deduction and the maximum is $300 regardless of filing status.

 

DIRECTORY: The picture directory is available and list of active families in the church (or members) … PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE, it is for you only!  If you want a copy, let me know.  I have highlighted in YELLOW those names of people who do not get out or are in assisted living so you can drop a note or make a call … as hard as coronavirus has been on US, just imagine how it must be for those who can’t get out.  If you want to update your picture or information, please let me know! AND SEND ME YOUR BIRTHDAYS, PLEASE!

 
WON’T YOU PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING YOUR CHURCH? We have 4 opportunities for you to serve God in important ways …

1)    THIS THURSDAY, 12/31, 10-11 AM … please come help us take down the Christmas decorations so we can get ready to begin a new year!  We need a handful of people for ONE HOUR and please don’t assume that “someone else will do it”.  That someone else could be YOU!  Please contact SHIELA HAYNES, Worship Leader, if you are available.

2)    SUNDAY MORNINGS, 10:30 – NOON, USHERSthose of you who have been coming to church know that the same servant-hearted people have been greeting, welcoming, and serving our folks as usher and hospitality for many months.  We’d like to bolster our hospitality team and get ready for what I know, will be a deep desire for people to come BACK to church when this pandemic is over.  We would ideally love to have people rotate Sundays so let us know how often YOU’D like to serve, and we’ll try to be flexible.  Again, please contact SHIELA HAYNES, Worship Leader, if you are available.

3)    TUESDAY MORNINGS, 2-3 hours/week, OFFICE HELP … as you know, we decided this fall to begin using a CPA for our accounting and that allowed us to free up a budget for an office manager to use for a Social Media Director.  Sarah Sparks is now doing so much to help me with Facebook, the website, and our worship slides but I would love to have someone help in the office on Tuesday mornings for a few hours. If you are very organized and good at filing, please contact me directly … we only need 1 person.

4)    SUNDAY MORNINGS, 10:30 – NOON, CHILDREN’S CHURCH … we like to have 2 adults working together when our kids are gathering and now that the holidays are over, we hope the kids will come back when we start the NEW YEAR on January 10th. (The children join us for communion on the 1st SUNDAYS so there is no Children’s Church on the 1st Sundays.)  We will provide the Ministry Safe training and background checks and ideally, we’d love to have 3-4 adults who could join as “helpers”! (You don’t have to plan or organize, just be present!) Contact me please!

ZOOM BIBLE TALK STARTS BACK WEDNESDAY MORNINGS, 10 – 11 AM, January 13th … this winter we will study, in-depth, the 4th section of the Bible, THE CHURCH … what happened after Jesus ascended and how did the church grow from Jerusalem into all the corners of the world? The sign-in link is always on the website calendar (HERE) and if you still haven’t been willing to try ZOOM, now might be the time – and NO MASKS are required when you’re tuning in from your home! CLICK HERE for simple instructions if you want to join us!

PLEASE RE-JOIN THE PRAYER TEAM … I have sent a REMIND text invitation to everyone who I know was on the prayer team before we updated our text communication, but you will have to accept the invitation to get the texts. Yes, text messaging rates do apply so please feel free to disregard the invitation. Remember, this is ONE WAY COMMUNICATION, you will not be part of everyone all replying to the same text.  If you would like to join NOW, it’s easy … as soon as you click this link, you’ll be reconnected … SEE ATTACHED FOR DETAILS …

https://www.remind.com/join/pray-now

Don’t get text messages but want to get emails? 

Go to rmd.at/pray-now on a desktop computer to sign up for email notifications.  

 

I’m extremely excited about our NEW teaching series on the Gospel of Mark this Sunday … since many of you are still watching online, I’m including, again, the info HERE on how you might be able to watch on your TV at home!  If you have a SMART TV it’s simple but if not, an HDMI cable might do the trick!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Pastor Debbie


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