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Sunday was the 7th Sunday of the Epiphany, a season which is very long this year because Easter is so late. The Old Testament Lesson from Leviticus and the Gospel Lesson are tied by a command. In Leviticus 19:2 we are told to be holy because God is holy. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says we are to be perfect because God is perfect. Holiness and Christian Perfection strike at the heart of Methodism and Wesleyan theology. In Wesleyan thought there is no holding steady—either one is moving toward Christian perfection or one is moving away from God. We too often become conditioned and don’t spend the time needed to study and to meditate. Wesley speaks of two kinds of works which are a sign of one’s love for God. First are works of piety which include worship, prayer, meditation, fasting, and studying scriptures. Then there are works of mercy: visiting the sick and imprisoned, taking care of the poor, and above all else, Wesley says, “doing no harm.”
 
We had a small Sunday School class but a great lesson, which again used Paul’s letter to the Galatians as the starting point. Paul speaks in his letter to people about freedom, an idea not well understood in the Empire. Only a small number were citizens of Rome. Most people were conquered, and many were slaves. But Paul sees freedom in following Jesus. Ms. Fannie led a lively discussion, and we all appreciate her preparation. We missed Joy at Sunday School and worship, sending her our best as she recuperates from surgery. Keith and Vera both have the flu, and we hope they start feeling better soon. We miss you all. 
 
Our Sunday School class (there is only one) is held in the sanctuary. It is always such a wonderful sound to hear the door opening as folks come to worship. It was great to see Larry, Susan, Laura, and Joe. Hilda plays for First Methodist in Tenaha and then drives down 84 to Paxton to play for us. Hilda and Joe always select hymns that seem just the right ones for that particular Sunday.
 
Sue starts off our worship time with The Gathering Words which usually come from that Sunday’s Psalter Lesson. We as a congregation then speak a creed of our church. Usually we use the one that most Protestants know the best—The Apostles Creed. But the last few Sundays we have been using a Modern Affirmation. Next Sunday is The Transfiguration, which will be followed by the forty days of Lent. As you know, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day after Fat Tuesday (better known as Mardi Gras) and ends on Easter weekend.
 
We have two ministries this week. On Tuesday we go to Holiday Nursing Center and on Thursday, Lakeside Assisted Living. Both ministries start at 2:00. We have been collecting soap and shampoo all month for Community Christian Services. Next month we will donate cans of chili. 
 
“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, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed!

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