First United Methodist Church
Hughes Springs, Texas
Pastor Bill Laubenberg
Editor Debbie Kelley
The Lenten Road Begins
Lent will be starting on March 6th this year. This is the one season of the church year that is moveable. In an effort to relate our calendar to the Jewish calendar, a formula is used to calculate when Easter will be each year. The Jewish calendar is set so that if you were born on a Friday, then every year your birthday will be on a Friday. If we were on this calendar, it would be simple to say that Easter Sunday would be on a certain day and know it would be a Sunday every year. Instead Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox. A little confusing, but at least Easter is always a Sunday.
The Lenten Season is a period of 40 days leading up to the Celebration of Easter. It is a time of reflection and self-examination as we seek to get ourselves ready for the good news of the resurrection of our Lord and what that means for our lives. Starting with Ash Wednesday, a day when we acknowledge our humbleness in the face of God’s mercy and grace.
Traditionally, the ashes that are placed on our heads are made from the burning of the previous year’s Palm Sunday palms. Ash Wednesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Old Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and some Baptists. The ash mark is a call to repentance and preparation in the season leading up to Easter, which will be celebrated on April 21.
In many churches, people will give up something of importance to them during the season of Lent in recognition of fact that Jesus gave up his life for us. I you decide to do this, it is important that what you give up is important to you and that you keep what it is between you and God. For example: If I were to give up coffee for Lent, it would mean nothing. I do not drink coffee at all. However, if I were to give up cookies, that would mean something as I really love cookies.
However, you prepare you heart, remember how much God gave for us and how willing our Savior was to take our sins to the cross.
Let us get ourselves ready to celebrate God’s gift of love for us.
More from Pastor Bill
Bible Study Update
During this Lenten season, our Wednesday Bible study will be on break. We will be returning after Easter with a brand-new study
March was a good month for the men. We had a total of twenty-two attending; six of those being church members with sixteen guests. John Pease gave an uplifting devotional. The next breakfast will be April 2, 2019. We will see you there,
This breakfast is open to all men from anywhere, any denomination and friends.
We appreciate your generosity in allowing us to use your fellowship hall for our luncheon. Thank you to your members who supported us.
Thank you for caring and supporting our community. May the Lord Bless your thoughtfulness.
Hughes Springs Retired School Employees
Our Church Family,
We want to thank everyone for all the love and prayers. We appreciate everyone’s kindness and support. We hope to find a new home church that will be as loving to us as y’all have been over the years. We promise to come visit.
We love y’all!
Gavin and Carly
John Wesley’s Directions for Singing
John Wesley, in his 1761 “Directions for Singing,” encouraged early Methodists to “sing lustily and with good courage. Be aware of singing as if you are half dead or half asleep, but lift your voice in strength. . .. Above all, sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature.”
Please remember to call the Church Secretary’s office to add or remove anyone from our prayer list that is printed each week.
If your organization or committee has an event to be held at or sponsored by the church, please call the secretary’s office at 903-639-2131, so it can be placed on the calendar, in the bulletin and in the newsletter.
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 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
Thank you to Cathey Zachry for volunteering to bring the Children’s moments for June. That still leaves us quite a bit short for the year. Pray about it and listen closely to see if God is placing it on your heart to fill in one of these months.
REPORT ON GENERAL CONFERENCE
Nita Clark, Lay Delegate to Annual Conference
I watched the live streaming of the General Conference as much as I possibly could, beginning Saturday with all the preliminary instructions, parliamentary procedure instructions, and review of all the issues before the conference.
Of course, I missed all the Sunday morning and early afternoon activities while at church and choir practice, so while watching Sunday evening, I tried to catch up with what I had missed and get oriented. So I went online to read the daily reports and what actions were taken.
I was able to watch sporadically while at work on Monday and Tuesday, when things at the office were quiet. Tuesday afternoon was rather exciting and frustrating all rolled into one.
On Monday, the One Church Plan was voted down. This plan would have the verbiage regarding homosexuality and related subjects removed from the Book of Discipline, and each church, district and conference would be allowed to decide for itself what it would allow or not allow, but all would still be considered connection-al and unified.
The Traditional Plan would retain the Book of Discipline wording as it is, but would allow a graceful exit for dissenting churches to disaffiliate from UMC and be allowed to keep their property. A lot of decisions regarding how to execute this process would have to be voted on by the delegates. There were two other plans that received very little consideration: Connectional Conference Plan, with three connectional conferences based on different perspectives (Progressive, Traditional and Unity) and the Simple Plan, that would remove the incompatibility clause and eliminate all prohibitions that limit the role of homosexual people.
As it became evident that the Traditional Plan would pass, tension mounted. Emotions ran high, especially among those wanting the restrictions on human sexuality issued lifted, including accusations from some delegates of unethical behavior.
There were numerous petitions and amendments that had to be decided and voted on to make the Traditional Plan constitutional. All discussions, debates and voting had to be completed by the 6:30 p.m. mandatory time to adjourn the conference.
The dissenting delegates who wanted the One Church Plan began creating delays and stalling tactics with redundant motions, points of order, and false amendments so as to run out the clock. This left the conference with a plan that had passed, but they were unable to complete the work to make it a finished product.
There was also a group of protesters who were not voting delegates who had been singing and chanting from the upper levels of the arena during the conference that moved into the center of the arena as the time to adjourn was near and created a disturbance prior to the closing of the conference.
So, the language in the Discipline will not change. Homosexuality, same sex marriages, and transgender causes are still considered incompatible issues for the Church, and the Traditional Plan is probably going before the Judicial Committee and will be declared unconstitutional because the conference ended before the necessary actions could be voted on.
Hopefully, I can come back from Annual Conference in Houston next May with good news.
The Mission committee members along with other volunteers continue to make the Shepherd’s Harvest pantry and the Senior Food Box a success every month. We served approximately 133 people in February and every month we add new clients so the need for volunteers continues.
The food for the pantry and Senior box is delivered about 8:45 am. We start at 9:00 am with setup and bagging approximately 210 bags of food for the Shepherd’s Harvest pantry.
Then that crew moves outside to help the others who have already started bagging the 2,000+ lbs. of produce to be handed out to clients of the Shepherd’s Harvest pantry and the Senior Food Box.
Diaper Bank News
The diaper bank is thriving, as we are giving to more and more parents and guardians. Please remember that we always need diaper and wipe donations.