March 22, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. What strange times we are living in! Our thoughts, hopes, and prayers are that everyone is well and coping with the “new normal” way of life. It is so important that we listen to and follow what the scientists and leaders think is the best way to protect ourselves from the coronavirus. In keeping with that, Paxton United Methodist Church did not have Sunday School or worship Sunday and will not next Sunday. We will evaluate where we are in another week and then make decisions based on that.
I am pretty much a homebody and mostly retired, so staying home and avoiding crowds hasn’t been a problem for me. But for all those people who go to work every day to earn a paycheck and send their kids to school, these are unbelievably trying times. My brother and sister-in-law have been in South America for the last three weeks. When everything started shutting down where they were (including airports), they headed back to the U. S., which proved to be quite a challenge. They are now back home in Dallas, and I had a really nice phone conversation with my brother Friday. My two kids are able to work from home and are doing OK. My mother-in-law lives in an assisted living facility in Nacogdoches, which is, of course, in lockdown. As usual she is in good spirits and taking everything in stride.
The Joaquin Senior Center is now closed. This past week they had pick-up meals, but the Center will be closed for at least the next week—and probably several weeks beyond. It appears that schools are going to be closed for the forseeable future, possibly until next fall. We should really be thankful for all those caregivers and those working at doctors’ offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, and other essential places during this crisis. Not knowing what the end game is going to be and how long we all need to “shelter in place” is adding to the anxiety level for everyone.
We received an email from our bishop, including this segment:
To all clergy of the Texas Annual Conference
Yesterday our governor issued the following executive order:
“Order No. 1 - In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.”
I want to support the governor’s intent and to follow its spirit whether or not the letter of the order applies to religious worship services. Canceling worship for the next several weeks is the right step to protect our communities and minimize the health risks of this pandemic. I strongly advise you to do so.
I am ending with our usual philosophy, although, of course, the being open parts are not currently true:
Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here. Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, and Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist, you can send your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.