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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

We meet on Thursday nights from 5:30-7pm for a home cooked meal, Bible study, and discussion. More information...

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Pastor Debbie E-Spire - December 8, 2018

This week our community suffered the loss of Donal Wilkinson. For reasons we may never know or understand, Donal took his own life. He was a scout leader, a member of UUCP, a youth mentor, and a community member. As his own pastor was out of town for a family funeral, I was asked to attend some of the events their church held. On Wednesday evening, they kept the church open and had their lay ministers available to listen and pray with any and all. On Thursday they hosted a soup supper (thank you to the Co-op for the soup and bread) along with conversation, professional counselors, and community support for youth, parents of young children, and parents of teens and young adults. Tragedy is hard on any community and I was so grateful to see the ways people were coming together to care for one another.

As I talked with and listened to many who knew and loved Donal many wondered how he could have done that, and why they didn't see it, and wished they had only known so they could have helped me. All of those are normal and appropriate responses. Most of us can never fully wrap our minds around how someone could feel so terrible. And yet, for the few of us who have seen the darkest part of the abyss (of depression, or grief, or sadness) we can imagine. I shared more than a few times about my own struggles over the years. I battle situational depression and have faced the suicidal edge twice. I am grateful for the things that brought me back from that place. And learned that in the pit, reason doesn't exist. Logic is mute.

That might sound crazy, but I remember talking with a friend who called when she was suicidal. I remember asking about her sisters and parents and friends...what about them? And they did't matter. Not in the darkness. I didn't understand it. Until I found myself in that space. And then I got it. The darkness isn't rational or reasonable.

So then the next question became, "How do you help someone?" And "How can you defeat the darkness?" It's not a perfect formula. And there's not a strict timeline. But I've found that being vulnerable and honest about how you're feeling is vital. Not being shocked if someone tells you they feel that low is essential. Listen. Share. Be honest. Be real. And remember, it does get better. Not generally as quickly as we might like, but there is always reason to hope and believe things will get better. We all need to be reminded we matter, are important, and are loved.

Suicide is something treated as taboo in the church. We don't quite know what to do with it. So we avoid it, if we can. This week, for some in our community, it was unavoidable. So we talked and shared, and worked through the hardest parts together.

If you are struggling, please know you are not alone. We are here. You matter. And it does get better. It's ok (essential really) to be honest. Please tell someone, even a stranger. There is always someone who will listen at 1-800-273-8255. And if you need to talk, I'm here. Please reach out.

Many in Moscow are grieving this week. Many are struggling. May we have abundant compassion and grace for one another.

 

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - November 29, 2018

 I've been thinking lately that I need to try something new. I need to do something that challenges me and takes me out of my comfort zone. I think it's good for me to be challenged. And, I think it's good for my ministry to help me relate to others whom I'm asking to try something totally new and out of their comfort zone.

Last year we won a family pass to the ice skating rink for the winter season. So last week we tried it out. We all wore our ski pants (for when we inevitably fall not he ice) and got outfitted with our skates. Rick has no problem. He skated for years and even after his broken foot surgeries he out-skates the rest of us. Steven lasted once around the rink and then he was done. Ruth used the little ice walker some of the time and was able to skate both holding her dad's hand and independently with only one fall.

I, on the other hand, used the ice walker the whole time. And mostly felt like a fool doing it as people aged 2-70 passed me skating around the rink. But the reality is I likely wouldn't have made it off by hindquarters had I tried to skate on my own. It was a little rough on my ego being the least skilled on the ice. But I also recognize I won't get better any other way. I worried about using a "crutch" to learn and have concerns that I might be less equipped to go it alone down the line. But, I figure learning to get and keep my balance without breaking any bones is a bonus this season.

I am not graceful on the ice. I am not confident. I am not skilled. And I'm not fun to watch (unless you want a good laugh, which may be worth it). But I am trying. I think all too often as adults we fall into habits of the familiar--doing things we know we can do without stretching ourselves to do something more or different. Learning is good for us. Failing is even good for us. Persistence is good for us.

I don't know what your new thing might be, but I would encourage you to try--to stretch and reach and fail with the hope ofsticking with it and getting better.

 

Here's to new things!
Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbies, E-Spire - October 3, 2018

Last night, about midnight, we had a sick kiddo. I'll spare you the details, but it took about 30 minutes to clean up. Waking up to those sounds and those chores was not a welcome surprise. But, I did what needed to be done, including scrubbing floors and starting laundry, and praying no one else comes down with the same.

This morning as I switched laundry and washed contaminated items, I was struck with gratitude...not for the chores, but that there's a washer and dryer in the house so I could start something at midnight. We have fresh water to wash and fresh water for my kiddo to help her rehydrate.

As I reflected, I thought of folks who don't have fresh water or cleaners to clean up the mess. Or have to wait a day (or two or three depending on work to go to the laundry mat to start the wash), or those who have to do it all by hand, or no real access to water to wash at all. I thought of those who don't have "sick supplies" on hand and can't afford to go the grocery and get them. And then I thought of those babies (of any age) who are so sick from diseases, malnutrition, or chemo treatments that vomitting is the norm and not the exception.

In the day to day, it can be really easy to get caught up in my circumstances, frustrations, or struggles (or even my joys). As humans, it's extraordinarily easy to make things all about ourselves. But as Christians, we're called to look beyond ourselves and see others and their circumstances, to cultivate empathy for them and their story, and to take actions to make things better in the world.

Over the next month, our worship series is called "More Than Us" and is focused on how our faith pushes us to look at the world beyond us. And not just look, but pray and find ways to take action. I have been praying for those God has called to mind all morning. And now, I need to do some research for how I might do something to create greater access to clean water, or offer resources to those who are going without, or advocate for access to healthcare here and around the globe.

I hope you'll join us in worship this week and in the following weeks. And if you've been inspired to take actions and connected with agencies or groups who are changing the world for the better, I'd love to learn more!

Peace and grace,
Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie E-Spire- - Septmber 19, 2018

Two Sundays ago we talked about Paul's letter to the Colossians, including his prayers for them. I encouraged you to identify a church for which you might be praying. What ministries are going well, for which you might give God praise? And what things are not going well that you might lift up in prayer?

Have you found a church? Have you talked to a pastor or member? Do you have specific things to lift in prayer?

I shared that my friend's church is Asheville is the one I had on my heart. I see their ministries on facebook and have lots of reasons to give thanks. I have been playing phone tag with my friend, their pastor, but know Hurricane Florence and the rains were of concern, so they've been in my prayers for that. I do look forward to hearing more about what's happening in the day to day and lifting them up.

What about you? Which church are you praying for?

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie

 

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - July 18, 2018

Last week I had the privilege of serving as the camp pastor at our UM camp Twinlow, just out of Rathdrum. I've done a lot of camp over the years (8 weeks as a counselor and 7 as a camp dean). It's been a few years since I've been and I really enjoyed the opportunity to be up with the kids and meet new people.

I also really enjoyed being pushed to try some new things and take some risks. You see, I'm a pretty conservative risk taker. I'm not a fan of failure, so I usually only risk when I know the odds are mostly in my favor. And physically, like with sports and things, I've never been one to push myself. But this week I was invited to try some new things and I thought, "why not?"

On one of the first days, the camp manager asked, "Do you like to swim?" Sure! I replied. "Do you want to swim across the lake?" Uhh...I guess!?! "It's about 750 yards" Uhh...ok... In the afternoon, he got out a paddle board and grabbed some goggles and offered them to me. I declined. "I can swim, but I'm not a good swimmer. I don't swim with my face in the water." And off we went. I swam the 1/2 mile across the lake. If you're a swimmer, that might not sound like much, but for me, it was the longest single distance I've ever swum in my life. And when we got to the other side he hopped off the paddle board and offered it to me so he could swim back. Which was great except 1) I've never used a paddleboard before and 2) My legs were exhausted from the swim so they just shook when I stood and tried to balance. I had a few graceless exits into the water before I decided I would just kneel and paddle. He encouraged me to get back on my feet after a little ways across the lake. I tried and failed again. And went back to kneeling. Then awhile later I tried again and got up and did pretty well until I started looking around at other things and lost my balance again. It wasn't pretty, but I was pleased, I had never done it and I tried. I didn't shy away fearing how awkward I would look or how hard it might be. I took the chance and made it.

A couple of days later they asked if I wanted to go rock jumping. Uh...sure?! And off we went. We had to climb a short ways to the ledge and then could choose to jump from 17 feet, 11 feet, 9 feet or 7 feet. I hemmed and hawed at the 17-foot ledge. I wanted to do that one, but visions of slipping and hitting my head kept swimming in my head. So I ventured to the lower ledge and took off. And it was awesome! I went up multiple times without a group and managed to get about 5 jumps in. I was never able to convince myself to do more than the 7-foot ledge, but there's always next time.

I don't share any of this to brag, but to let you know I was reminded of the importance of risk-taking and venturing outside your comfort zone. Doing new things can be tough (emotionally and physically) and you can even get some bumps and bruises (I ended up with cuts and bruises up and down both legs that are still healing). But you also get to explore, push yourself, and find a new sense of accomplishment.

I am praying God will encourage us to be a risk-taking church--to push ourselves, to take on new challenges, to risk failure, and to see new things and find a new sense of accomplishment in who we are as Christ's-followers. Will you pray with me?

 

In Christ,

Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - June 30, 2018

Often times, we avoid certain topics in discussion with friends or family. We know they'll be contentious. We expect we might not like one another when we walk away, so instead, we avoid them completely. My family does it. And I'm fairly certain your families do it too. It's how we preserve relationships. But it can also be how we avoid learning other perspectives or sharing the value of our own. Delving into tough topics isn't easy. But it is often necessary. At Annual Conference this year, we heard from Dr. Brian Brown on the Anatomy of Peace, and then we were part of focus groups of 8-12 who discussed the nature of conflict, our approach to conflict, and what might be different in our lives, the life of the church, and the life of the denomination if we approached conflict with a "heart of peace" instead of a "heart of war". We live in contentious times. It's easy to get caught up in arguments or be dismissive of other perspectives. Throughout our time at Annual Conference, we were encouraged to be "curious" (e.g., "Tell me more about that") and to engage in discussion (and potential areas of conflict) with a heart of peace.

As Christians, we are called to be light-bearers, peace-builders, and justice-seekers, and we are called to do all of that with a "heart of peace" (of compassion and love for the "other").

How might you differentiate between a heart of peace and a heart of war? Where has that come easily for you lately? Where has it been challenging?

In Christ,

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

  • Christmas Eve Services - Dec 24, 2018

    4:00 PM Family Christmas Eve. This service is especially designed for wiggly, giggly children and is intentionally kept shorter. It will include music by Children's bell choir and leadership from children.

    7:00 PM Traditional Christmas Eve. This service includes music from Choir and Bell Choirs, plus Holy Communion and the Candlelight Ceremony. Child care is provided.

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...