September 2017


First United Methodist Church

Hughes Springs, Texas

Volume 18
Pastor Bill Laubenberg
September 2017
Editor Debbie Kelley

from the pastor

A Time to Pray and to Help

This past week we have been witness to nature gone wild at Hurricane Harvey smashed into the Texas coast and dumped record amounts of rainfall on the areas. The stories of the destruction and flooding have been shocking. This Sunday in church we had members with friends and family who were in the path of the storm stand while we prayed for those people. There were quite a few who stood, including Dianna and I. The storm touched so many lives.

Out of the devastation have come stories of neighbor helping neighbor. The Cajun Navy came to bring their aid. Many rescues have occurred and care given to those who have lost so much. In the midst of this trouble there have been such stories of love. This morning, I read a story about a sound that was heard in the main rescue shelter. It was not weeping and moaning, although they had reason. It was the sound of people singing Gospel music. God is truly there with them during their troubles.

At times like this, people ask what they can do to help. This is the glory of our state and country, that we think of helping others. Many different ways to help will present themselves in the days to come. United Methodist Committee on Relief is the agency in our church that reaches out to help those in need. UMCOR is currently working with disaster coordinators and early response teams to provide relief to many victims of hurricane/tropical storm Harvey. They will continue to be there over the long haul of coming back. Unfortunately, at this time there are unscrupulous people who will try to make money off of other’s troubles, so please be careful to whom you are giving money.

Please remember to keep all these people in your prayers. In the bulletin this Sunday there will be an insert from UMCOR telling you what you can do.

Pastor Bill Laubenberg

Men’s Breakfast

scrambled and bacon

For the month of August, there were 26 men who attended the breakfast, including cooks.

The next Men’s breakfast is

Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 a.m.

Come join us!


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


Choir Corner:

Choir practice has resumed.  Come join the camaraderie and the fun. Rest assured, you do not have to “be a singer” to be in the choir.  All you need is a desire to worship, praise and serve.

From now until December 17, the Choir will meet every Sunday after church. Again, come and join our fun.

Submitted by the music director, Nita Clark

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.

Looking Ahead

Big Church Night Out Fall Tour

is happening Thursday November 30th starting at 7 p.m. at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. We are trying to get a group together from the church. The cost is $25, but if we can get 12 people together the cost will go down. There is a signup sheet outside the pastor’s office. Let’s get our tickets before they are all gone. Artists performing are listed on the signup sheet.

Let us Abide

Are you interested in helping the church to move forward into the future, revitalized? Would you like to see the church grow? There is still space on the Abide team. We have finished our book study and it sparked ideas for the future. The next major happening will be September 9th when there will be a retreat in Kilgore. Please consider joining this group, which will strive to plan for the church’s future.

Prayer Warriors

This is a new group that is forming in the church. We will be lifting up to the Lord concerns about our community, our church, and the world around us. To help in this we will be examining different styles of prayer. Currently we are planning to hold meetings on Saturday afternoons at around 3 pm, but we may be moving the day and time if a better one can be agreed upon

food basket

Despite heavy rain on Thursday August 17 the Shepherd’s Harvest Food Pantry distribution was successful.  Billy Wayne McKinney, Don Edson, Rod Wright, and Pastor Bill traveled to Tyler without incident to pick up our food.   Danny Carrol secured a $25 gift certificate from Brookshire to supplement our food supply.  This certificate allowed us to purchase almost half of the rice we distributed to our clients in August, and freed up the budget dollars to purchase other items.    After our second month of picking up the food, organizing, and packaging we are learning that through our great volunteerism, we complete the task earlier than originally thought.  As a result, we can begin distributing food to our clients earlier in the day, and the suggestion is under consideration to move the distribution time to early afternoon.  If that is approved by our Shepherd’s Harvest Board, we could make this change in October.  We will begin an in-house food drive to obtain specific items for our clients.  This should roll out in the next 3-4 weeks.

Our Lord has graciously blessed our projects.  May we be ever mindful to give Him all the praise and glory!

Submitted by 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

Office Needs

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, 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 have a Thank you to include in the newsletter, please send it to the church office. You may bring it by or email it to me.

Thank you, Deb Kelley


We will be shifting to school year mode with our next meeting. We will only have movie nights once a month now. Other weeks will be music nights, Bible story nights, and game nights. The group is open to all young people of elementary and pre-elementary ages. Our meeting time will remain on Tuesday nights at 6 pm for the time being.

Youth Group

Youth Group meetings will resume on Wednesday, September 6. Snacks and drinks are provided.

bible study

Bible Study will continue to meet and try to understand what the Lord has to say to us. We have just finished the study of the book of Psalms. We will be taking a break until September the 13th. At that time, we will be going through the book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church. The books are available in the church office. Please read chapters 1-4 for our first meeting. You will find the book a very interesting and easy read.

Pastor Bill

The trustees are working with the Finance Committee to purchase the lots and houses next door to the parsonage. The Ralph Hale property.

The Bathroom bid process has ended. Finance Committee has met on the issue. The Finance Committee will present their recommendation to the Admin. Council on September 18th at the scheduled Council meeting. Afterward, work will begin soon.

Submitted by Billy Wayne McKinney



The Mission Committee conducted a meeting to review year-end mission projects.  Mavis Boyd gave the committee an update on donations for the Lame Deer Indian Reservation.  Her diligent efforts plus congregations generosity and a gift from the youth group has yielded $1,374 to date.  Mavis also advised the committee she would coordinate distributing items previously donated for other shoe-box projects.  She has researched several children organization where such items would be greatly needed.

The committee embraced the school-supply drive conducted at school mid-term.  It was discussed that churches usually conduct these drives at the start of the school year and not much effort focuses on mid- term.  Marsha Edson agreed to work with Pastor Bill on this effort.


Words from the District Superintendent

Dear Friends,

I write to you today to share about opportunities to give to support the Hurricane and flood victims to our south.  Many of you have requested this information, and I know that all of us want to do what we can to help.  It is in times like these that United Methodists step up in compassion with extravagant generosity.  And so, I thank you in advance – for your prayers, for your care and concern, and for your generous giving to help our sisters and brothers in need!

Attached you will find a letter from Bishop Scott Jones as well as a page from the Texas Annual Conference website (, sharing information on how you can give to UMCOR and to the Texas Annual Conference Disaster Relief.  Monies given directly to the Conference are unrestricted and can be put to use immediately.  I would add to that list that this weekend, volunteers from across our district will be meeting at four locations:  Williams Memorial UMC- NOTE: SITE CHANGE and TIME-9 am to 12 noon; previously Atlanta FUMC, Gilmer First UMC, Marshall First UMC, and Greggton UMC in Longview to assemble flood buckets (our goal is at least 400 but we hope for 600) that will be delivered to our mission depot in Conroe on Sunday.  This is the greatest current need to address the damage to homes.  These flood buckets are not cheap.  The average cost is about $60 each.  We have stepped out in faith to say that we can cover this cost (approximately $36,000), and this is where we need your help.  If your churches or members can give to support this project, they can make payment to

“North District UMC” (memo line: FLOOD BUCKETS) and mail to the North District Office UMC, 4008 Moores Lane, Texarkana, TX 75503.

Thank you again!  It is truly an honor to serve our Lord together with all of you!

Grace and peace,

Chuck Huffman

North District Superintendent


Scripture Readings for September

September 3

Exodus 3: 1 – 15
Romans 12: 9 – 21
Matthew 16: 21-28

September 10

Exodus 12: 1 – 14
Romans 13: 8 – 14
Matthew 18: 15 – 20

September 17

Exodus 14: 19 – 31
Romans 14: 1 – 12
Matthew 18: 21 – 35

September 24

Exodus 16: 2 – 15
Philippians 1: 21 – 30
Matthew 20: 1 – 16