Devotionals
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Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - June 23, 2021

When I lived in Costa Rica, I walked to and from school each day. In our neighborhood, there was a guard shack a block from my host family’s house. Each day when I passed (often with my American roommate) he would greet us. Only, instead of saying “Hola” (hello), he would say “Adios” (goodbye). It was so strange that instead of saludarse (a greeting of hello) he would despedirse ( a greeting of farewell). I don’t remember now who I asked, but the answer I was given was that “Adios” is really a contraction of “a Dios” or “go with God”. In essence, instead of farewell, he was offering a blessing—Godspeed.

As my time pastoring Moscow FUMC comes to a close, I’ve thought a lot about what to say. In many ways, words fall short. Our time in Moscow has been such a gift. We faced major changes before our move, in the move, and shortly after when my mother passed. And this church was a lovely place to land as a family. You welcomed us with open arms. There was food in our fridge as soon as we arrived into a freshly painted and recarpeted parsonage. Pastors often have to forge a path for nursery care and children’s ministry when their kids are the only ones in the church, but we didn’t face that obstacle. You all welcomed Steven into the nursery on our first Sunday and Ruth made fast friends with lots of peers. Rick has always had one of the hardest jobs in our transition as his work and community aren’t inherent like mine, but he soon found work and then found a new opportunity with the University of Idaho and completing his Bachelor’s and completing his Master’s—something I’m not sure he would have pursued had we stayed in southern California.

While I’m far from unconventional, I do tend to push in ministry—asking and encouraging congregations to branch out and try new ministries, look at the scriptures in new ways, and challenge their biases and habits. You all received that like pros! It was such a gift to offer new opportunities and see you rise to the occasion. Together we worked more intentionally in weaving ministries together and creating “hand-offs” from one ministry to the next. We developed more relationships within our community, extending our outreach ministries to do more with greater impact. We collected food, donated furniture, hosted a dinner and auction, gave funds, and learned more about the needs of those around us. We had regular visitors in worship and you greeted them, learned their names, invited them to meals and many of them became part of us as a congregation. You stepped out in faith as we offered new classes for adults, including all church studies. You sent (and some of you went) a mission team to Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Relief.

When General Conference 2019 took a staunch stance against our LGBTQIA siblings, you wrestled with conversations we had not had together as a congregation and forged a path of discernment, conversation, and understanding to inform our continued work in ministry. Then when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, you adapted and shifted with the restrictions of the lockdown and have remained consistent in your compassion and empathy facing tremendous loss and need. You have humbly sacrificed your own wants for the needs of others. You switched to online worship with ease. And you continued to give faithfully. While the pandemic isn’t officially over, we are looking at re-opening and I trust you will be intentional and compassionate as you think about the variety of concerns and possibilities.

In short (TL;DR for our millennials): you all are amazing!!!! I really hope you hear and receive that.

Moscow FUMC is a wonderful church and despite the pandemic, you are in a good place. It’s a primary reason I was willing to even be considered for another church this year. When the Superintendent called in February, he asked “How fiercely [he] need[ed] to protect [me] in Moscow?” In other words, he knew we wanted to stay in Moscow and he wanted to honor that, and…my name kept coming up, and he needed to know real reasons why I shouldn’t be considered. When I talked with Rick he confirmed that he would be done with classes and when I took inventory of the church, it was clear to me that things were good. There could certainly be more we could do as a church, but you didn’t *need* me to stay. In 2019, I didn’t think a pastoral change would bode well for the church. And in 2020, it seemed impossible on all sides. But in 2021, FUMC had shown how healthy you are as a church. You have been faithful, generous, compassionate, courageous in addressing challenging topics, and I could see clearly how God could use the time of re-opening under the leadership of a new pastor as a gift to the future of your ministries.

You are wonderful. Not because I’ve been your pastor, but because of who you are as faithful followers of Jesus. And even though it sometimes might seem like Moscow is the far-side of the annual conference, you are known, loved, and respected as a church. Conference leadership believes in you like I do. And they worked hard to find someone new to come and serve among you. I pray you welcome Pastor Kim with the same warmth, care, and intentionality that you offered me and my family.

Clearly, I’ve found lots of words. But the most important now are: thank you and adios.

Godspeed dear ones.

In Christ

Pastor Debbie

 

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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.

322 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843

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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...

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