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Song & verses lifts spirits during uncertain times, Panola pastor says

Photos by Glennie Pou

A Panola County pastor has decided to serve an anxious and worrying public with song and devotion he believes will help encourage the fearful faithful and minister to all during a time when the coronavirus pandemic has caused national panic.

In early afternoon Saturday, Pastor Tim Ellis of Bethany Baptist Church, used the tailgate of his pickup truck as a makeshift stage near Wal Mart to play his guitar and sing, then offer a devotion of encouragement to anyone wanting to stop to listen.

Rev. Ellis said he can’t reach people in his normal weekly ways, and decided to stop for 5-minute services at different places around the county. His efforts have been well received and Ellis said anyone who would like to him to stop by for a tailgate meeting can contact him with a place and time.

Rev. Ellis said he has encouraged all of his church’s members to practice the recommended guidelines for hygiene, maintain six-foot social distancing, and use common sense to promote the best health for all of the county. Bethany Baptist, along with most churches, will not meet at their buildings on Sunday.

The pastor, like many others in Panola this weekend, will deliver his message live on Facebook, or by other streaming services, at 11 a.m. Both the city and county boards have adopted resolutions limiting gatherings to just 10 people per space in attempts to corral the spread of coronavirus.

Playing gospel bluegrass and traditional church favorites helps lifts the spirts of people no matter what their denomination and Bible verses have the ability to reach young and old alike, Rev. Ellis said. He said anyone that would like him to come by their street, or parking lot, for a song and verses, are welcome to text or call his cell phone at 662-934-6155.