We are still having Sunday School and worship Sunday. And we are still doing our Mission Sunday this Sunday. They have closed the schools in our county due to three cases of H1N1 in one of the schools. They are suggesting you don't go out in big crowds right now. I noticed yesterday at Wal Mart it was not as crowded as usual. I found this article and thought it helpful for Sunday Worship. I'll be breathing peace, not germs.
I think it is so appropriate that Sunday's sermon is on the Good Shepherd, how much we need him right now.
Swine flu panic? Pastor: 'Breathe peace, not germs'
Everyone's worried about the outbreak of swine flu. Some folks are even considering hunkering down in their homes and staying away from all kinds of gatherings, including church. But at least one United Methodist pastor is offering some common-sense counsel in the midst of pandemic panic.
The Rev. Diana Holbert, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in East Dallas, sent an email Wednesday to members and supporters of the church. In it, Rev. Holbert offered the following advice on church attendance:
"1. If you are coughing or sneezing, it's probably a good idea to stay home. Let us know and we'll send you a cassette tape of the service if you like!" says the pastor.
"2. If you are well, I encourage you to come together to worship and to pray for those who are sick or panicked."
Rev. Holbert adds that Grace UMC will continue its sanitary practice of washing hands and using hand sanitizer before serving the bread and grape juice of Holy Communion. These practices have become common at many churches that receive bread from a common loaf, which is a Christian symbol for the unity of the body of Christ, the church.
Grace UMC's pastor says in her email that she won't withhold the personal touch of fellowship: "I will continue to shake hands and offer hugs to those who desire it. For those who want to keep a distance, just smile and give a wave."
Rev. Holbert invites Grace UMC members and guests to attend worship this coming Sunday, May 3. "Let's take a deeper look at what Psalm 23 has to say to us today. It may just be what the Doctor ordered," she writes.
The pastor closes with the encouragement: "Breathe peace, not germs."