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7-3-21 FUMC Updates

Happy July 4th! I hope you’re enjoying this mid-summer reminder of how truly BLESSED we are to live in America! I am happy to be back from my 2-week vacation and I can tell you that with Covid vaccination rates increasing people ARE traveling again, hotel occupancies ARE increasing, and restaurants ARE getting busy again!  What a difference a year makes!

I love the July 4th holiday because it reminds me of how proud I truly AM to be an American! I realize there is a small fraction of people who disagree, but oh how I wish they could understand that our country is great because GOD is our foundation … not a President, not a Supreme Court and not a Congress! Men and women are not perfect, so our country is not perfect, but our country was founded on Godly principles and so to me … July 4th IS a religious holiday!

I read a great story from TIME Magazine about John F. Kennedy that puts this into perspective …

“On July 4, 1946, Kennedy — then 29 years old, the Democratic nominee for a Massachusetts Congressional seat, and still a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve — was the featured speaker at the City of Boston’s Independence Day celebration. He spoke at Faneuil Hall, the red-brick building where long ago the colonists had gathered to protest taxes imposed by King George III and his Parliament.

Kennedy began by talking not about taxes, or about the British, or about the consent of the governed, but about religion. ‘The informing spirit of the American character has always been a deep religious sense. Throughout the years, down to the present, a devotion to fundamental religious principles has characterized American thought and action,’ he said.

For anyone wondering what this had to do with Independence Day, Kennedy made the connection explicit. ‘Our government was founded on the essential religious idea of integrity of the individual. It was this religious sense which inspired the authors of the Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.’”

Kennedy wasn’t the only politician who saw GOD in our foundational principles…

The Declaration of Independence issued from Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, included four separate references to God. In addition to the “endowed by their Creator” line mentioned by JFK in his July 4 speech, there is an opening acknowledgment to “the laws of nature’s God,” an appeal to “the Supreme Judge of the World,” and a closing expression of “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”  George Washington, announcing the Declaration of Independence to the troops in a General Order dated July 9, wrote, “The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavor to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country….knowing that now the peace and safety of his Country depends (under God) solely on the success of our arms.”

I pray that the theology of our country’s founding will NOT be forgotten! Sure, the Declaration’s concept of God-given rights certainly is not without its flaws but without a belief in God that should be the foundation of a strong moral fiber, what do we have?

So, amid all the barbecues and fireworks this July 4, take just a moment and reflect on our Creator. As Kennedy realized, the American Revolution, which resulted in the free we live in today, started with God, and with the Founders’ belief in rights that are His gift to us!

WEDNESDAY, JULY 7th, 6 pm, FELLOWSHIP MEAL… I look forward to seeing you at our first Wednesday Fellowship meal in the Family Life Center … I’d love to meet your friends so bring a guest!

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT, Friday, July 9 … thanks to all of you who are MINISTRY SAFE trained and ready to roll!  The sign-ups for the next 2 events are ready now so just CLICK HERE and pick the spots you want! Parents:  let us know your kids will be coming … if you came last month, there’s no need to register again, but if your kids are coming for the 1st time or you have friends that want to save time and register online, CLICK HERE. And yes, everyone can register at the door!

REMINDER NO CHILDREN’S CHURCH on JULY 11th … we will have communion on July 11th so as always, there will not be children’s church.

IMPROVEMENTS AT THE CHURCH:  the Trustees are working on the sidewalk in front of the sanctuary to renovate two parking spaces to help people getting from their vehicle to the front doors. While there have been some weather delays, we’re looking forward to the improvements being complete.

Hope to see you Wednesday night!
Pastor Debbie


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5-3-21 FUMC Updates

This past Sunday Mary White said, “I’ll do it! This is my church!” and she played beautiful music for us in worship with Shannon Monk and Geoff Sharp!  This response to things that need to be done in the church has been resonating with me for a few weeks now and as I look around at all our beautiful buildings, and all the exciting opportunities we will have to make disciples for Jesus Christ, I know we will all need to claim something that we can do for God’s church!

I want to thank the generous people who have volunteered to take care of the fluorescent bulbs AND who will be power washing the buildings in the next few weeks … WE ARE GRATEFUL TO YOU!  It doesn’t take much to do SOMETHING, for example …

… if you park in the grass lot in front of the Baptist church, bring a few wet paper towels this Sunday and wash down the signs that say First UMC Parking that are so dirty you can’t read them.

… if you see weeds n the flower beds, or between the concrete, pull them!

… can you do simple work with Excel?  We have a license to play music online, but we need to report the songs that are not part of the public domain … can you help me?

Sometimes what seem like insignificant tasks have impact on people you would never imagine!  And this is what drew me to a recent article about a woman named Frances Angermayer.  One hot June night in 1943, worried about the war, Frances couldn’t sleep because she was praying for her stepbrother Glenn who was stationed in the South Pacific. After tossing & turning, she got out of bed and sat down in front of her typewriter thinking about how soldiers facing death would feel, especially if they didn’t know God. 

She said: “I placed myself in such a situation, and the words of ‘Conversion’ came to me” and 20 minutes later, the first draft of “A Soldier’s Conversion” was on paper. It was about a soldier’s encounter with God on the eve of battle, and here is a portion of what she wrote …

Look, God, I have never spoken to You —
But now — I want to say, “How do You do.”
You see, God, they told me You didn’t exist —
And like a fool — I believed all of this.
Last night from a shell hole I saw Your sky —
I figured right then they had told me a lie. …
Funny — I had to come to this hellish place,
Before I had the time to see Your face. … 
I guess the “zero hour” will soon be here,
But I’m not afraid since I know You’re near. … 
Well, I will have to go now, God — good-by!
Strange — since I met You — I’m not afraid to die.

SEE THE END OF THIS MESSAGE FOR THE REST OF THE STORY …

WE’RE MAKING FEWER ANNOUNCEMENTS IN CHURCH: As you know, we have lots of ways to communicate and we are going to use LESS time in the few sacred moments we have in worship for announcements because you can find information in LOTS of places!  The ongoing weekly events you can find on the calendar but we will announce new or SPECIAL events.  Please like, share, and comment on our posts so YOUR friends see what’s going on here … we want to meet LOTS of new people and your posts can help spread the word!  All of our social media accounts are easy to find!

–          Weekly Email (also on the home page of the website … https://www.fumcwinnsboro.com/)

–           Calendar …https://www.fumcwinnsboro.com/calendar-of-events/

–           Facebook …https://www.facebook.com/FUMCWinnsboro

–          Instagram … https://www.instagram.com/firstmethodistwinnsboro/

–          Twitter … https://twitter.com/FumcWinnsboro

BIBLE TALK, Wednesday, May 5th, 10 am – 11:30, Wesley Hall or on ZOOM … this week we’re digging into the Spirit-filled text of Galatians 5 and asking the question, Can God Change Our Character?  If you’re watching on ZOOM you can get the link on the website calendar

WEDNESDAY NIGHT FELLOWSHIP MEALS RESUME THIS WEEK, May 6, 6 PM … we hope to see everyone out for a fabulous homemade dinner of smothered pork chops, beans and rice!  Thanks to our kitchen crew, our dessert makers, and to all of YOU for your love offerings!

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, THURSDAY, May 6th, NOON – 1 pm at the Civic Center Auditorium … please come join me for one hour of prayer as the Pastors in the Ministerial Alliance gather to lead the community through individual prayer stations as well as communal prayer together.  (PRAYER GUIDE CLICK HERE)

THE KNITTERS, CROCHETERS & STITCHERS ARE BACK!  Every Monday, 1-3 PM, Family Life Center … looking for a place to knit, stitch and talk at the same time?  Come be part of the fellowship and bring your projects with you! Contact Sarah Hays if you have questions!

CRAFTERS meet Every Tuesday, 9 am, Asbury Hall … Christmas in the Park comes in November so start working on your crafts at home or come for the fellowship!  Contact Carla Chitsey if you have questions.

THIS SUNDAY IS MOTHER’S DAY – I look forward to seeing lots of our families together and if you’re traveling, I wish you safe and joyful travels!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Pastor Debbie

 

Over the years, the poem found its way into magazines, sermon illustrations, radio broadcasts, newspaper columns, including The New York Times and the Hebrew Chronicle, and even the Congress of the United States, often without attribution or remuneration, under various titles, such as “Poem Echo in Foxhole.” The poem made its way into the hands and hearts, pockets, barracks, and foxholes of an estimated 6 million soldiers in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, the Aleutian Islands, and Europe. It was translated into several languages and became known as “the poem heard ’round the world.” 

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, a Catholic chaplain found 30 copies on the bodies of the injured and the dead on the beaches of Normandy. It was even found in Buchenwald, the Nazi concentration camp, and on the body of a dead Nazi soldier in northeastern France. One soldier at the Battle of the Bulge wrote: “I came across your poem just today. By tonight it had found its way to every man within the company — and left its mark. Men have died near me, men will die in the future, perhaps myself — but I know this, the thought you have left with us will last beyond whatever may come in the future.”

“Even now,” the poet reflected 13 years later, “it is impossible for me to believe I wrote a poem that meant so much to so many.”

Have you considered how it’s sometimes such LITTLE things that you can do that make a difference?

Consider the seven men who were appointed to assist with fair distribution of food in the early church. The 12 apostles were spending their time praying and preaching the word of God, but they knew how important it was to Jesus to care for the needs of those around them. After all, they had served the hungry before (5,000 in one case and 4,000 in another, plus women and children, (MT 14:13-21,15:32-38). So, they encouraged others to get involved:

What [the Twelve] said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:5-7.

Guess what happened? The seven chosen for this ministry proved to be more than fillers of food boxes and organizers of soup kitchens, by getting involved in serving, their service was CONTAGIOUS, and others began to serve also!  Guess what happened? The seven chosen for this ministry proved to be more than fillers of food boxes and organizers of soup kitchens, by getting involved in serving, their service was CONTAGIOUS, and others began to serve also! 

Frances Angermayer was a shy secretary in a physician’s office her entire working career and while she did her job faithfully, she would NEVER have become a public speaker for the Lord like Stephen or Phillip! Yet God used her simple writing to do amazing things!

Whatever little thing you can do please don’t underestimate the impact it can have on someone else! Someone new to our church who drives around looking for a place to park and then SEES the sign that says there’s parking right across from the front door of the church may find a home here at FUMC!  Someone else might see how beautiful our grounds are cared for and think, “Hmm, this is a church that takes care of their property!”, and helping your Pastor with something she’s not very good at like spreadsheets?  Well, let’s just say I know my gratitude in ALL these things will be contagious!

In his book, Buck Naked Faith: A Brutally Honest Look at Stunted Christianity, Eric Sandras suggests: “There’s a big difference between asking God to be a part of our story and our becoming a part of his. Ask Jesus to give you eyes to see something he is doing this week that you can be a part of. No matter how large or small it appears, commit to be obedient. You may have to step out of your routine.”


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