Contrary to some rumors swirling about the area, the Escalon and Farmington United Methodist Churches are not closed … and have no intention of closing their doors.
“I think maybe because Riverbank had shut down, people thought we did, too,” said Pastor Peggy Bosch, who serves both the Escalon and Farmington congregations.
She said it was unusual to hear the question asked once, but concerning when she and members of the congregations started to hear it more often and then rumors started regarding the closing down of both the Farmington and Escalon churches.
“I heard it from a number of different people,” the pastor said, laying to rest those rumors on Monday, March 14.
“We just felt we needed to put out a response,” she explained.
The Riverbank shutdown occurred because the congregation number there had dwindled; some of those parishioners have started to attend services at other United Methodist locations, including Farmington and Escalon as well as Oakdale.
In addition to a weekly 9:30 a.m. Sunday service in Farmington and an 11 a.m. service in Escalon, Bosch said she does a livestream of the in-person services, which can be viewed online at the church Facebook page, at EscalonFarmingtonUMC. It can be viewed at any time, not just during the services.
Also, several programs are ongoing. The current Bible study is on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m., focusing on “The Chosen” Season 2, at the Methodist Church in Escalon.
The church also supports many mini-ministries for the community and beyond in “small, but meaningful, ways” said the pastor, such as providing books for Manteca’s Ray of Hope Children’s Kindness Library at a crisis center, eye glasses for the Lion’s Club service project, items for the Ripon VFW Care Boxes for veterans serving overseas, ‘wish list’ items for students and teachers in local schools, food items for the local C.A.R.E. Center, and empty pill bottles that are sent to the Matthew 25 medical ministry.
“Both Farmington and Escalon churches have been encouraging kindness by wearing and sharing our unique Bee Kind bracelets featuring hearts and bees,” Bosch added.
And, she said, they also host the Accordion Club the first Sunday afternoon of the month at the Escalon United Methodist Church and the Escalon-Farmington Community Garden Club alternates their monthly meetings between the two churches.
Through fundraisers and donations, the church also provides monetary support for local police, the fire department, the teen center, sports programs, Haven of Peace in French Camp, and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) providing humanitarian aid in the USA and other countries.
“We’re open,” Bosch stressed. “Our churches are open, active, and we welcome you.”
Hand sanitizers and masks are available but not required to attend the weekly services.
Bosch said anyone with questions can contact Escalon United Methodist at 209-838-2792 or Farmington United Methodist at 209-838-5441.