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Sunday Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Welcome To Our Church!

Moscow First United Methodist Church is an exciting place to be. It is filled with the sound of choirs and congregants raising their voices in praise to God, with bells ringing and the historic clock chiming the hours. It is filled with children laughing, families working together, and seniors sharing their stories. Above all, however, it is filled with the people of God who are earnestly listening for the voice of God. I invite you to join with us in our many activities but mostly I invite you to join us as we encounter the God who comes into our midst as we gather together. Grace and Peace, 
Debbie Sperry, Pastor

Pastor-Debbie---May-14-2017

 

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Youth Ministries

Learn more about our youth program and the many activities they do in service and fellowship! Read more...

Prayer Groups

Come together to support each other lift up those in need in prayer. Read more...

Christ on Campus

On Thursdays you are invited to a free simple soup meal served from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Campus Christian Center... More information...

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - May 10, 2017

This week I am at a worship conference and retreat at Zephyr Point in Lake Tahoe. Our welcome sheet had the attached instructions:

-whoever appears are the right people
-whatever happens is what needs to happen
-be open to surprise--"lean into it!"
-If a surprise comes your way--pay attention--it may be Divine Surprise
-when it's over--it's over

It was such a great way to start our week together...reminded that God has been and IS at work in our midst. I should expect God to be at work here and should lean into the people and conversations that emerge. It reminded me to look for God and open up to listen for the Spirit's voice.

It also made me think about our regular Sunday worship. Do we believe God has been working on us and in us to do something extra special in our time together? Do we look for who God has placed beside us (or in front of us) or do we only look for those we plan to see? Do we expect the Spirit to move in our hearts and look for holy appearances?

I think often we expect to "go to church", and that we might be able to find more ways to "lean in" to what God might do in that time.

I invite you to pray TODAY for what God will do on Sunday!

 

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie

 

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - April 18, 2017

 The other day, we decided to try Dutch Bros. for the first time. I know, I know, we've been here nearly 9 months and just now tried it. I don't have any justification or answers, just that we hadn't been. Anyway, as we arrived, one of the gals was outside taking orders and Rick mentioned that it was our first time there and asked if she had any suggestions for us. She offered a couple and we made our order.

After we paid and picked up our order, they gave us a punch card with 9 stamps...we only bought 3 drinks. She said, next time we come back and order a drink we'll have our free one on the house. It was a cool treat and a really great way to get us to go back. I mean, we only have to order one more drink before we get the free one. Who wouldn't enjoy that!? And, why on earth would we not go back?

And then I started thinking about the church. What is it that draws people in to "try" a church? What prompts them, after maybe, say, 9 months in a new town, to try a church? And, once they are there, what might drive them to come back? Obviously, we're not in the business of mochas and lattes, though we do give out free coffee. But, we do need to be intentional about giving people a reason to come back. We want to offer opportunities to connect, build relationships, explore their faith, experience God, seek answers, and serve others. So, how are we doing those things? And, how are we helping people know about them? Are we offering a clear invitation to come back? One that's compelling?

Just like people have a choice about where they go for a cup of "joe", they have a choice about where they go to church. The old model of church assumed people went to a certain church because they were Methodist or Presbyterian or Baptist and they would likely find that same kind of church in a new town. But today's church world is a whole different place and people exercise a whole lot more choice in all of it. So, how are we helping and encouraging them to choose us as a place of worship and faith development?

 

Faithfully,

Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - April 3, 2017

Recently I was reading a book on church leadership and one of the questions it asked is "What is God doing in the life of your new attendees?" It made me wonder a couple of things: 1) Who are all the new attendees? 2) Can our members identify them and call them by name? 3) How do we do at identifying what God is doing in our lives?

Before I asked any of you, I asked myself...who are the new folks? I made a list of those who have come to the church (and continued to attend at least once a month) since I arrived last July. Can you guess how many are on that list? I think you might be surprised.

I wrote them down, one name at a time, and, including children, there are 24. Does that surprise you? It kind of wow'd me. I have met them and know them by name, but I hadn't done the math and 24 seemed like a pretty hearty number. (There are even more if you look at just a few months prior to July). But beyond that, the real question is, do you know them? Have you met them? Do you look for them (or any other guests) when you come to worship? Do you seek them out to say welcome?

Our Sunday night small group spent a good bit of time talking about what it means to be welcoming, to be at church for more than ourselves, and how we offer a warm welcome when we may not know who is new and who is not? We all enjoy coming to worship and catching up with our friends. And, at the same time, it's important to be mindful of those who are new and don't know where to connect. (or even those who come regularly but don't receive a warm welcome). As the church--the body of Christ--this is a job that belongs to each of us (yes, even the introverts).

This Sunday, I'd encourage you to say hello to at least 3 people that you don't normally greet. Stretch yourself. Walk across the aisle (or the entire church!). Say good morning. Ask how their week was. Tell them it's good to see them. You may or may not know their name. That's ok (it's even ok to say, "I know I should know your name, but I just can't remember). Some of us are anxious about greeting people we don't know for fear of saying "Welcome, are you new here?" to someone who has been attending for years. I totally get that. So, instead of saying, "Are you new?" you could simply say, "Welcome!" or "It's good to see you this morning!" or "I look forward to seeing you again." If you're really feeling brave you could ask, "What's something wonderful that happened this week?" or "I've been looking for signs of God at work lately, is there anything you've seen?"

You never know when your friendly greeting might be what lifts someone's spirit, or allows them to feel noticed, or confirms that this really is the church where God is calling them to be.

 

Have a blessed week!
Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - March 22, 2017

How is God working in your life?

I read that question this week and wondered, even as a pastor, how often we stop to reflect on the answer. What is God doing in my life? Am I looking for signs of God showing up? Do I believe that God is ready and willing to do something? Anything? Personally, I'm a firm believer that God acts, in concrete ways, in our lives. But I don't always slow down to see and acknowledge what God has done. Though, when we do, the answers are often pretty awesome. This week, I'd like to invite you to stop and answer the question: how is God working in your life? To help you reflect, there are some additional questions below.

 

After you've identified something God is doing, I'd encourage you to identify two people (one from within the church and one from outside) you will share with, so that together you can celebrate God's faithfulness.

 

What have you seen God doing in you? Your family? Your work? Your neighborhood?

 

If you're seeing God at work, are you thanking God for God's presence, or love, or healing?

 

Are you excited about your relationship with God? If so, how might you share that with someone else? If not, what would you like to change? Have you prayed for that change?

 

If you're struggling to see God at work in your life, what seems to be the barrier? Are you spending time on your relationship? Are you talking with other Christians about what God is doing in them or how they have been able to find God in hard times? Do you have a habit or vice that takes priority over God and detracts from how God might be at work in you?


Peace and Grace

Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - March 10, 2017

Our youngest, Steven is a verbal kid. You may not understand a word he's saying, but he's certainly convinced he's talking! He does use some sign language (please, thank you, all done, more, food, milk, and help). He also has some intelligible words (at least to us): hot, "dat", dog, yeah, "Roof" (for Ruth) and "woof". In the characteristic parental battle, he regularly says da-da. Da-da is sort of the go-to word for lots of things...don't know what the word is, say "da-da". But it's also clearly his word for dad. And though we encourage him to call me "ma-ma", Steven really doesn't care. He uses "da-da" for both of us. If I ask him, "Where's mama?" He'll point to me. He knows who I am, and the way he adheres himself to my side, I'm fairly sure he likes me. Nevertheless, dad and mom are both "da-da". I've come to believe he must think of the term as "parent". It applies to each of us in that we are love him, care for him, help him, play with him, and are the adults he sees the most. Maybe it's just to make myself feel better, but it sort of seems like he says "da-da" and means, "you, the one who loves me that I like a lot." It makes no difference to him that the term isn't gender-appropriate for me. (And really, it doesn't matter much to me either since his relationship with me is full of love and laughter).

Last week in worship, we studied the first line of the Apostle's Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. Over the years, a number of people have shared how they struggle with that phrase; specifically with "Father" language since they associate their own father with God as the father. When their father was angry, abusive, distant, or disinterested, it makes it hard to believe anything different about God as Father. When I've talked to those folks, I've encouraged them to use language that is comfortable and allows them to relate to God as a care-giver, provider, one who cares deeply and loves abundantly. For some that has meant "mother" for others "parent" and for others simply "God." Ultimately, I think it's most important that we identify the relationship that matters (and in that know that God cares about having the relationship and isn't aloof or distant). We may not end up using the most common terms to call out to God, but I'm fairly certain God understands and helps anyway. As long as we mean, "You, the one who loves me that I like a lot," I think we've got it covered.


 

Peace and Grace
Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E Spire - February 23, 2017

When I lived in Atlanta, my roommate introduced me to a place called the "Open Door". It was an intentional living community where some people would have been homeless and others could have afforded housing of their own. Each resident chose to live there and do life together. One of the things they offered was a foot clinic on Thursday nights.  Residents, volunteers, and guests would share a meal and then clean up and set up for foot washing. We generally had 6-8 stations and we would welcome dozens of those living on the streets to wash and care for their feet.  Most of them walked miles each day. And with the southern rain, their feet were often wet with no real chance to dry (too cold to be without socks at night and most wore their shoes to sleep so they wouldn't be stolen).  When your feet don't dry out, the callouses become very thick. So we would soak, scrub, remove callouses, cut out corns, trim nails, and lotion their feet.  

 

It was a holy time for me.  Admittedly, some moments were a bit gross, but I worked through those since the washing was a special gift for our guests. And quickly became a special gift for me.  It was a time where I got to know the homeless community. I hadn't had personal interactions with anyone who lived on the street until I volunteered there. I learned their names and their stories. I learned some of the challenges (like parks where an armrest was placed in the middle of the benches so no one could lie down, or stores that called the police simply for a homeless man being nearby).  

 

And God used it to grow me in Christian service.  If Jesus could do it for his disciples feet, which were probably pretty dirty, stinky, and gross, then surely I could do it too.  Tomorrow in worship, we will be talking about the spiritual discipline of Christian action, with Jesus' example as our model.  After the sermon, you will be invited to participate in either a foot or hand washing.  You will be invited, not required.  We want you to follow the Spirit's lead, and if that means staying in your seat, that's ok.  If you might wear different shoes or socks/stockings to make it easier to participate, please plan to do that.  But you don't need to do any special pedicures tonight to make sure you're prepared.   =)

 

I am looking forward to a wonderful time of worship where God uses and blesses us and hope to see you.

 

Peace and grace,

Pastor Debbie


 

 

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  • Denominational History


    The United Methodist Church traces its roots back to the life and ministry of John and Charles Wesley, Anglican priests in 18th century England. Though neither left the Anglican Church, they began a movement to reform that church which eventually became its own denomination and spread to the United States where it split from the Anglican Church in their lifetime. Read more...

    For more information on the history of the denomination go to www.umc.org.

  • Pastor Debbie Sperry 

    Pastor Debbie was born and raised in Bishop California (a rural town at the foot of the Eastern Sierra mountains).

    She attended UCLA and earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in Spanish after she spent a year studying abroad in both Costa Rica and Spain. She attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University and earned her Master of Divinity. 

     

    Debbie has served for 10 years in Southern California at a variety of churches.  She and her husband, Rick, and their two children, Ruth and Steven, were delighted to be assigned to serve here in Moscow as they love being outdoors and exploring the local area. The size and culture of Moscow is reminiscent of their time in rural California and they enjoy the community connections.  Debbie is passionate about helping the stories of the Bible to come alive, relating it to every day life, and helping people to reach out to help and connect with others. 

     

  • Guidelines For Faith There are many things which guide our faith.  As United Methodists we look in particular at four things to help us understand God and grow in our relationship with God. 
    Scripture:  is the primary source of our faith.  The 66 books of the Old and New Testament contain all that is necessary for salvation.  We believe that Scripture is best interpreted in the believing community.
    Tradition:  the wisdom of those who have gone before us, though not 100% true for our day, is another useful guide in our faith.
    Experience:  our individual experiences of God ‘s grace and the cumulative experiences of our lives which give each person a unique and valued insight into faith.
    Reason:  God gave us minds and expects us to use them and to think through not only what the Bible tells us in light of the world in which we live but also how to live out that faith.  Read more...

  • Worship Gathering together with other Christians to pray, sing, and praise God is an important expression of our faith and avenue for growth.  At Moscow First United Methodist Church worship is both casual and informal, traditional and contemporary, reflective and passionate.  You will find people here in suits and dresses, and in t-shirts and jeans.  You will hear classical, gospel, jazz, and light rock music.  You will hear our pipe organ, the piano, and banjo and guitar.

Current Church News

  • Family Promise of the Palouse

    Moscow First United Methodist Church is honored to be an active participant of the Family Promise of the Palouse providing temporary, safe housing for families in our community who are facing homelessness. Our next opportunity to host is June 11-18, 2017.

Get Directions

Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...