Virtual Worship Service begins at 9:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Pastor Debbie E-Spire - May 19, 2021

 It seems that the last few weeks have brought incredible learning (shared scientific studies and findings) and monumental changes in the expectations around the pandemic going forward. Our annual conference issued updated guidelines and options for churches. The CDC shared updated recommendations. And the City of Moscow updated its mandates.

I know many who have rejoiced and celebrated each of those changes. And I know some who are wary and concerned. As these changes affect the life of the church, I want to make sure we engage in the conversation.

In many ways, deciding what we do could seem simple—just follow the CDC recommendations. And that could be simple, if we were all on the same page, in the same stage, and part of the same tier. But the reality is we’re not. We have some folks (many even) who are fully vaccinated. We have some folks who are choosing not to vaccinate. We have some folks who aren’t eligible yet (namely children, but many who are just recently eligible and still in the vaccination process). And we have some folks who despite vaccination are still at risk due to underlying conditions or they are close to someone with underlying conditions. Additionally, singing collectively is still something that has not yet been proven as fully safe (even with a fully vaccinated crowd). That’s the long way of saying, “things aren’t perfectly clear yet”.

I have to take a deep breath there. This pandemic has been so trying and I know we are all ready to be past it. We don’t want to keep overthinking everything we do. I don’t want to deal with complications or added layers any more than the next person. And yet, if I really love my neighbor, if I really believe that every person is worth intentional care and decision-making, I have to.

I think about kids and the fact that so many are still ineligible. What does it mean for me to go sans mask but tell them they have to? What does it mean for any of us to set an example for kids in the church? What would it mean for someone who is choosing not to get the vaccine to be challenged or questioned on that when they come to worship? What does it mean for someone who has a comorbidity that they haven’t shared publicly to be told: “but you don’t need a mask” because they have been vaccinated but still feel incredibly vulnerable because of their other health concerns? Which are all questions that get at the larger question of “What does it mean to create a safe and welcoming space (in the midst of a pandemic)?”

For now, that means still asking people to mask if they are in our building with others. At outside worship, it means masking when we sing and when we are talking in close proximity to each other. Yes, arguably, for some the science says it’s not necessary. And, for the reasons above, we plan, at least for now, to keep masking when we gather as the church.

I know, for some, that’s not what you want to hear. And I’m sorry, not for saying it but for the ways we continue in the liminal space of the pandemic. I am sure there will be LOTS of conversations in the coming months about how we re-open safely and wisely and how we do our best to create safe space (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), how we hold our diversity with grace, and how we offer the best of ourselves to one another.

And in the meantime, I pray God fills us with grace upon grace. May we look with compassion and feel deep empathy for the questions, doubts, frustrations, and fears of others. And may we do our best to honor God by respecting one another in this crazy season of life and ministry.


In Christ,
Pastor Debbie



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Current Church News

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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.

322 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843


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...