Oxford United Methodist Church
Monday, August 03, 2020
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Coronavirus Update - Message from Our Bishop

The Latest Update from Our Bishop - Robert Schnase - Rio Texas Conference UMC
Article: "Why Reopening is Different"
Rio Texas Annual Conference A Statement Concerning Gov. Abbott’s Recent Executive Order

Coronavirus Update

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott extended his executive order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. The renewed order, found here, was noted to include an exemption for religious services, only where online services are impossible to provide, and then following the social distancing guidelines issued by the President and the CDC. Those guidelines include a restriction on gatherings of more than 10 people. 

We acknowledge and commend those Rio Texas church leaders and participants who have adopted alternative, creative ways to gather virtually for worship and support. Especially as we approach Holy Week and Easter, we encourage churches to continue working in this way. The next several weeks will be critical in our effort to stem the spread of the virus, and the cooperative effort of all of us is important. Our willingness to amend our practices is a gift we give to people we may never meet. 

There is no question that this Lenten season has required a form of personal discipline and professional restraint many of us have never known. As we walk together toward the cross and on to the empty tomb, we know Christ is with us and especially with those who are suffering. May Jesus inspire us to share his good news with the world, from a distance, yet with power and hope. 

Robert Schnase 

Bishop, Rio Texas Conference 

March 19, 2020
Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released an executive order stating that "every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people." The order includes other restrictions as well and will remain in effect through April 3. Read Gov. Abbott's full order here. Of course this action requires that the majority of our churches suspend in-person worship and other ministries, throughout the duration of this order. We urge groups of fewer than 10 people to observe appropriate caution and to use alternate means of staying connected whenever possible. As we have stated, we are taking these measures not only for the sake of our own health and that of our families; we also seek to do all we can to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people in our communities. As United Methodists in Rio Texas, you have already proven yourselves to be creative and faithful during this crisis. You are blessing one another, serving one another, and creating new ways of sharing God’s good news with the world around you. Keep the faith, and do not lose heart! The grace and peace of Christ be with you and your churches in the days to come.
Robert Schnase Bishop, Rio Texas Conference