First United Methodist Church
Hughes Springs, Texas
Pastor Bill Laubenberg
Editor Debbie Kelley
The greens have been hung and the season has begun. Each year we begin the advent season with the hanging of the greens, a service that completes the decorating of the sanctuary. During the service the meanings of many of our Christmas decorations are explained. I had not taken part in a Hanging of the Greens service before coming to Hughes Springs, but now consider it an important part of the season.
The past two years a new tradition has been created, the Caroling Hayride. After the service, we get onto a trailer with hay-bales running down the center and go out to sing carols to shut-in members in town. This year we added a little extra. We went by the two nursing homes in town, sang to them and passed out Christmas cards made by our Sunday School youth. Then, we came back to the church to warm up with hot chocolate and apple cider.
Starting the advent season with these two traditions give us a firm foundation as we start advent. We are reminded that even our Christmas decorations can point us back to the true reason for the season, the birth of our Savior in Bethlehem. Also, we are reminded that we should sing out and share with others the good news we have been given by the angels that unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given.
As we go forward and the many preparations for Christmas start to pull us in all different directions, it is important to keep in mind what the true heart and center of Christmas truly is. It is not presents or pretty lights. It is not all about a jolly gentleman and his reindeer. Nor is it about snowmen that come to life. The true heart of Christmas is in this, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. May we remember that message and let it ring out louder than all the Christmas bells that ring this season.
May the love of God be with you this Christmas and may He watch over you if you are traveling.
More from Pastor Bill
Bible Study Update
We are taking a break for the month of December. We will pick up the study, The Wesleyan Way – A faith that matters, in January. Enjoy the break and come back refreshed and ready to learn about our faith.
Christmas Cookie Exchange
Mark Sunday the sixteenth on your calendar; it is on that day we will be having our cookie exchange. You are asked to bring several dozen of your favorite Christmas cookies to church to share with others. Following service, when all cookies are laid out on the tables in the fellowship hall, you are invited to come and get some of each of the types of cookie that you will find there to take home and enjoy during this holiday season. Come enjoy the fun and share the cookies.
December was a good month for the men. We had a total of twenty-six attending; seven of those being church members with nineteen guests. The next breakfast will be February 5, 2019. We will see you there,
This breakfast is open to all men from anywhere, any denomination and friends.
Thank you so much for the scholarships given to our graduating seniors.
I can think of no better way to help them ensure their futures. I am so thankful to be a part of this loving, supportive community.
Please remember to call the Church Secretary’s office to add or remove anyone from our prayer list that is printed each week.
they are scary
This will help prevent double bookings at the church.
We will be glad to include a listing of your church meeting or activity in the newsletter, but remember that Debbie must have the information before the first of the month in order to have it in the newsletter.
Remembering Your Church with Your Gifts
As all of us know, giving to our church to support God’s Ministry is something we need to remember. Today, we all have active lives. Including vacations, visiting out of town family, attending those special weddings and of course seeing our grandchildren.
Our lives can get hectic and sometimes we can forget our ministry to God. To help with that, we now offer online giving to the church.
Simply go to the church website:
From here you can donate your gifts to the church.
Heartspring Methodist Foundation is offering this to us at no charge. Every penny you donate comes directly to the church with no fees or service charges.
On this tab, you can decide to give to the general account for the church’s budget or to another special or designated fund. You can make memorials or honorariums to people. (Notifications will be sent to those families). You can make a one-time gift or set up a reoccurring gift. You can use your credit or debit card or have it drafted from your personal account. You can register and create an account or give as a guest. You have a lot of options to have it set up your way and you can change or delete your selection at any time.
So, during your busy schedule, give online giving a try.
If you have any more questions about the process, please call Debbie at the church office. 903-639-2131 Monday – Thursday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
If you are scheduled to enter a hospital please let the church office know. Need name of hospital, city and date of check in. This will help Pastor Bill be able to be with you in your time of need.
If you or a family member is unexpectedly admitted to the hospital, please give the church office the same information.
We are on this journey together and communication is key.
A Little Reminder:
In case something comes up and you miss Sunday morning service.
You may go to the church Face book page and watch the entire service streamed live. If you can not watch it live, each Sunday’s service is streamed and stored on Face book. You can watch them anytime. If you have a favorite sermon that you would like to hear again, find that date in the video section and listen anytime.
Also, the church website offers many things for church members and those looking for a church home. The pastor’s blog, current calendar of events, the newsletter archived online, online giving, our church ministries and much more. Try to visit regularly, things are always changing.
The church office is not on the prayer phone chain. Because of this, sometimes we miss information about members’ prayer requests or joys to share.
If you have a prayer request or know of one, please call (903-639-2131) or email firstname.lastname@example.org, the church office. If you call after office hours, please leave a message on the voicemail.
This will help us to know when one of our church family has a special need.
If you would like a church wide email sent for a prayer request, please contact Debbie in the office by phone or email.
Also, please try to keep us informed on the person’s condition.
Thank you, Debbie Kelley
YOUNG CHRISTIAN METHODISTS
The Children’s Christmas Program
Our program this year is Do You Hear What I Hear? Rehearsals are Friday, December 7 at 6:30 -8:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 15 from 3:00-4:30; and Sunday, December 16, at 9:30 a.m.; our program will be presented during the church service on the 16th.
All children in the church ages 3 and up are welcome to participate. Visitors are encouraged to participate as well.
Questions? Call or text Dianna Laubenberg at 903-799-0763, or e-mail at email@example.com.
Have you noticed?
I love to go by the bulletin board at the south entrance of the church. Ms. Carly and the kids always show their creativity and share with us on the bulletin board.
The next time you think about it, stop by and see what the Children’s department has to offer you by way of their creativity.
Thank you, Ms. Carly and all the kids.
The dates for taking pictures for the directory has been moved. Due to Charge Conference,Thanksgiving and Christmas, the dates had to be moved to March 18 – 20. We are still looking for volunteers to help manage and organize this project.
If you are interested in helping, please contact Debbie in the office.
Interested Women of the Church
A little birdie told us that Nadine’s Outreach was open for business on Wednesday December 5. As we hear about open dates, they will be added to the web calendar. Keep an eye out on the calendar for things that come up in the month. There may be something that you just don’t want to miss.
Words from the Administrative Council Chairman
So here we are. This is the final newsletter for 2018. The year has flown by, and we have been very busy here at FUMC. This last month isn’t going to be any less busy. With the Hanging of the Greens, caroling hayride, Christmas parade, Chancel Choir Cantata, children’s Christmas program, Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, and the numerous other day-to-day activities going on, 2019 will be here before we know it. However, I want to challenge each of you to take a little time during this season to slow down. Slow down and remember what the season is truly about. We all know the meaning, but how often do you really comprehend what happened? Imagine yourself in Mary or Joseph’s shoes. Having angels appear before you. Mary carrying within her womb a divine being in human form. A gift to all of mankind to show us how much He loves us. That is unfathomable to me, and something we should never take for granted!
Not only do I want everyone to truly remember the meaning of Christmas, but I also want to thank everyone for their devotion and dedication in all of the different ministries within our church. We do so many things to bring the love and word of God to our community, and I do not think I show my gratitude to everyone enough. It takes all of us to make up the different committees, organizations, groups, etc. within this church, and for that, I want to say thanks!
I only have a couple of things to touch on in this newsletter s. First, I want to let everyone know that we are making slow progress with the repairs in the sanctuary. We need to turn this over to God as well. We need to pray that when the repairs are completed, the sanctuary will be fixed properly and that it will be safe and ready to serve the Lord in our community for many, many decades to come.
We also need to pray for His help to be able to financially afford these repairs. The amount the church will owe is still unclear, so we need to keep this in our prayers as well. We are already behind on our incoming contributions vs. outgoing expenses for the year, so having to add additional debt (sanctuary repairs) is going to really put a strain on our budget. This was the second thing that I wanted to remind everyone of. Nobody likes to talk about money within the church, but it does take money to run a church. We need to keep this high atop our prayers for our church.
I wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas!
– Cody McCain, Administrative Council Chairman
Shepherd Harvest Needs
Plastic bags needed for Shepherds Harvest Food Pantry!
The kind you receive when you checkout at Brookshires, Dollar General, etc. We ask that you only bring Clean bags with No holes. Leave them in the Fellowship Hall. Thank you very much!
Diaper Bank News
Lisa Moreland continues to organize and staff the monthly diaper bank and can use wipes and diapers for October. Just text her to see what sizes are needed. Not only do we have continuing fellowship with our clients but what a blessing it is to serve the community.
The diaper bank reports for December there were 16 families served. They were given 24 packages of diapers and wipes.
The deficit of diapers is now in sizes 3, 4 and 5. Donations of diapers and wipes or monetary donations are always accepted and appreciated.
We had the biggest month this year, serving 58 clients at the Shepherd’s Harvest Food Pantry in November. We also experienced a wonderful Thanksgiving surprise. Because of a generous donation of canned hams, we were able to add one to each client’s bag. We have heard some sad news though. The building in town that is used by the East Texas Food Pantry for the Senior food program is up for sale. The Senior food program has been temporarily suspended until they find a replacement organization to take it on. A spirit filled Opportunity is available!
Hope everyone has a joy filled Merry Christmas! Marsha Bryan