March 2017


First United Methodist Church

Hughes Springs, Texas

Volume 3 March 2017

from the pastor

Lent has arrived.

The time of preparation has begun. From the days of the early church, there has been a custom of forty days of preparation before the Easter celebration. It is traditionally a time of spiritual preparation. During this time, new members in the church were prepared for Baptism, those who had been separated from the church (either by choice or due to some misdeed) were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness and restored to participation in the life of the church, and all were, through self-examination and repentance, readied for the glorious news of Easter.

A tradition that has been added to this is the habit of giving up something for lent in recognition of what Jesus was willing to endure for us. Let us follow the injunction in the Sermon on the Mount to not be showy in our religion. What you give up is between you and God. It is to God you are making this sacrifice, not so that you can be seen by others. The Second thing I would implore is that if you are giving something up, make it be something important to you. It does not mean much if, for example, I were to give up coffee for Lent, I do not drink coffee. Whatever you decide to do, make it between you and God in remembrance of what our Lord gave up for us, his life.

This year there will be several special services during the season of Lent and Holy week. The first special service will be Ash Wednesday, tonight, March 1st. This is a service of preparation during which we will have the imposition of ashes, Holy Communion, and an opportunity to give our sins and concerns over to the Lord. To me this has always been an important part of my Lenten preparation. Next will come the Holy Thursday service, which this year will be on April 13th at 6 p.m. This is a service that remembers the Lord’s Supper, since it is on this day that Jesus shared communion with his disciples. We celebrate the great meal of the church that started all those years ago, continues through this day and will still be going for years to come. Good Friday is another service we will be having this year. It is on this night we remember the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross. We will be doing a Tenebrae service this year. This is a service based on the last words of Jesus from the cross. It is also a service of darkness. As each word is completed, a section of lights in the congregation is turned off until with the last word, all lights are off. In order for this to be more effective, the service will be starting a little later, 7 p.m. Finally, there will be a sunrise service out at Cornett that all are invited to attend. More details about time and location on that will be revealed as plans are completed.

There is much to do this Lenten season. I hope to see you at the special services. God be with you and bless you as you prepare for the joy of Easter.

God’s grace be with you,
Pastor Bill Laubenberg

Men’s Breakfast

scrambled and bacon

Men’s Breakfast met on February 7 and attended by 27 guests plus all the men from our church doing the cooking.  Message was given by Bro. Dave Avis. All enjoyed a great Breakfast and a blessed message.

Please join us March 7 for our next breakfast. Please bring a friend and help spread the word.
Bring a friend or two and help us spread the word!!

Larry Cannon

This breakfast is open to all MEN from anywhere, any denomination and friends.

prayer large

Please remember to call the Church Secretary’s office to add or remove anyone from our prayer list that is printed each week.

Samaritan's Purse

Shoe Box Mission: Donations accepted. Please see or call Mavis Boyd for information: 903-588-0280


they are scary

call the office

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.

bible study

Come one; come all to hear the word of God and to learn from it. There are two different classes, one at 10 am and one at 6 pm. Our first study this year is on the Gospel of Matthew. Come join us on the journey through the Gospel as we discover the messages it has for us.

Pastor Bill

food basket

February distribution day saw beautiful weather and a good turn out for our Food Pantry. We served sixty-nine (69) clients this month and continue registering new folks as the word spreads about this service. This month we notified our clients about our Diaper Bank. Hopefully, the great work Lisa Moreland has started will begin to reach others who have those specific needs.

Lyn Baker


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.

Pastor Bill

Society of Saint Stephen

I am going to tell you about this very special fund.  I thought maybe some of you do not understand exactly what purpose it serves.

I collect the money you leave on the altar rail and deposit it into the St. Stephen Fund in the Hughes Springs bank under St. Stephens Fund First Methodist Church.

When a person in need comes to our church office (namely Debbie or the Pastor Bill) listens to their need, gas to get to a death or a hospital for family. They may need food they are unable to buy themselves.

Whatever the need, our detective (Debbie) checks the statements given and determines if they are accurate. She then acts according to the need.

We had a visitor in the church service a few Sundays ago that had a need.  The pastor and Ms. Debbie questioned her story. Her need was larger than most and her story was not verifiable. Based on this information, they found that we could not help her.

However, there are times when a small donation can change a person’s life.  We recently had a request for gas money to get to an interview for a job.  Details were verified and we supplied enough gas to make it there and home. Without the help, the family would have continued to suffer unemployment.

The St. Stephen Society has served a lot of people in need at times when they are at a low point.  With the monetary help, they also receive a prayer and a comforting smile to send them on their way.

This month, we will be starting the journey to create a “youth” group for younger folk. If you are interested in taking part in the planning and preparation, please contact either Carly McCain or Pastor Bill. A meeting will be scheduled for this month once we know who is interested in helping. If you are unable to help, please remember this ministry in your prayers.

The annual Easter egg hunt will be held on Saturday, April 15 at 2:00 pm.  Celebration will be here at First United Methodist Church. All those in the community are welcome.

Lisa Moreland

The Board of Trustees met at the regular meeting time, the 2nd Sunday immediately after worship.

 The trustees are still receiving bids for carpet in the sanctuary. At this time, bids range from 10 – 12 thousand dollars.

 We are also accepting bids for painting the outside of the church and repairing all the cracks on the outside of the building.

Thank you to David Black for fixing some of the cracks.

 At our regular meeting on March 12, we will discuss the hiring of a part time yard man to do some of the yard work, the details to be defined by the trustees.

 The trustees ask, if you notice that the flowers at the pavilion are in need of some water or replacing, please let someone know. You may either contact a trustee or the church office and the secretary will pass the word to a trustee.

 As always, we are keeping the church maintained. If you have a suggestion, please contact one of the trustees.

 Thank you

Bill McKinney


The Legacy Event Center and Ounce of Prevention Partners is pleased to announce they will be hosting “Senior Expo” at the Legacy on Tuesday, March 21.

 The information booths will open at 10:30 am followed by the welcome at 11:00.  You won’t want to miss hearing the speakers on managing your money, elder law and avoiding scams.

Lunch will be provided for attendees, but seating is limited.


There is a new self-published book in the library.  It is written by Charles Jordan and Betty Sneed Jordan, titled ‘Boom’. Both are native to Hughes Springs and graduated from Hughes Springs High School.  The book is biographical and shares a lot of Hughes Springs history.  It is fun and interesting to read about their families and friends dating back in the early and mid-1900’s.  As members of our church, they shared a lot of things that I remember as a kid in Sunday school and MYF (an organization throughout the Texas Conference called Methodist Youth Fellowship).  I recall in high school dragging Bill with me to attend the out-of-town meetings in other churches.  Though the Sneed/Jordan couple are a few years older than me, I noticed they were married by the same minister as Bill and I were.  I also enjoyed reading about their lives after they left Hughes Springs.  I have to acknowledge that nostalgia probably made the book more interesting to me than it might be to some of our younger members, but if you want a glimpse into life in Hughes Springs in the 1940’s and 1950’s, it is a quick and easy read.

Review by Nita Clark

The Choir is working on the music for the Lenten/Easter season.  Rehearsals are Saturday mornings at 10:00 and Sundays after church.  They are working hard to present to the congregation a program that is not “holy entertainment”, but rather an act of praise to our awesome God.  Hopefully, those in attendance will also feel like HE IS EXALTED. The Easter program will be on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017, during the morning worship service.

Nita Clark


Scripture Readings for March

March 5

Genesis 2: 15 – 17
Psalm 32
Romans 5: 12 – 19
Matthew 4: 1 – 11

March 12

Genesis 12: 1 – 4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4: 1 – 5, 13 – 17
John 3: 1 – 17

March 19

Exodus 17: 1 – 7
Psalm 95
Romans 5: 1 – 11
John 4: 5 – 42

March 26

1 Samuel 16: 1 – 13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5: 8 – 14
John 9: 1 – 41