At least 30 people were reportedly sickened following a recent community meal at a church northwest of Weatherford in Parker County, TX. Several of them, including children, were admitted to local hospitals, according to family members. Symptoms being reported included kidney problems and dehydration. The Bethesda United Methodist Church calendar indicates that a “covered dish luncheon” was planned for Saturday, Oct. 3.

Bethesda United Methodist Church
The Bethesda United Methodist Church northwest of Weatherford, TX.
The state health department is investigating a Salmonella outbreak linked to that luncheon, said spokeswoman Christine Mann. Texas Department of State Health Services officials have three confirmed Salmonella cases and have learned of about 30 people with symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, she said. “We haven’t identified a contaminated food source,” Mann said. While church officials have acknowledged the situation, they are not commenting publicly and have asked their members not to share more information on social media sites. “Seems that everyone is on the slow road to recovery, so praise The Lord!,” posted Youth Pastor Spencer Row on the church’s Facebook page on Thursday, Oct. 8. He added, “Unfortunately, the situation that has taken place in our church has grabbed the attention of our local media. At this time, we as church staff, believe it is in the church‘s best interest to allow our conference to handle this situation. We have taken the necessary steps to provide assistance internally. We ask that you refrain from posting or sharing any further information about this situation, for the protection of our members and our church as a whole.

“Please continue to pray for everyone, and make known how much love we have for one another! It’s in times like these that the true strength of the church is revealed,” he wrote.

One member of the church also posted on the Facebook page that he had been admitted to Palo Pinto General Hospital in Mineral Wells, TX, with kidney issues and “severe abdominal pain.” “This stuff is just nasty!,” the man wrote.

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