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

Pastor Debbie's E-Devotion - May 13, 2020

Greetings in the name of Christ,
As Idaho begins their stages of opening, our church leadership has started to imagine what that might mean for our congregation. At the same time, our Bishop extended our church closure through May 30th, with the hope that we might be able to gather for Pentecost on May 31st. Today, she issued a new order that we will remain closed until at least June 15th. (To read that email, click here). Then later in the morning, she hosted a webinar with various pastors from her episcopal area to discuss what values have been part of the discussions on re-opening. In that time she said that she chose June 15 with a hope that maybe those pastors who are retiring or moving this year might be able to say goodbye in person to their congregations before they go. She followed that by saying she was doubtful it would actually happen.

As part of the webinar, she shared various factors that she takes into account when she is making her decisions on behalf of all the churches in her area. I want you to know that the decisions to re-open are complex, and the opinions are varied. Our church council has been reviewing perspectives and information to help us work on a plan to protect the health and safety of our congregation and community while continuing to engage in meaningful ministries.

It feels as though there are a 1000 things to think about before coming back. (This article suggests at least 24) I thought it would be helpful for you to know some of the things we are considering:

• Knowing that re-opening will probably be done in phases (both at the state level and in terms of those who choose to isolate to protect themselves or others due to vulnerabilities), how do we offer in-person ministry and online options?
o If not all people can gather because of health and vulnerabilities, is it fair for some to be invited while others are discouraged from attending?
• One requirement for gatherings is to follow CDC guidelines including 6’ distancing, face masks, and sanitizing. With those things in mind, how do we create intentional space in the sanctuary for 6’ distancing? How do we make or collect sufficient masks for all who attend? How do we ensure sanitizing efforts between groups or services?
• There is research suggesting that singing is more likely to share infection than regular speech, how will we worship if we are prohibited from singing hymns or limited in shared spoken liturgy? (additional article re: singing herere:additional article re: singing here)
• Without data on how wide-spread the infection is in our area, how do we work to prevent the spread of infection in our building or at our ministries? Once data is available, at what level of total population infection (on our way to "herd immunity") is it safe to gather? How many can gather safely?
• Recognizing that isolation has left many lonely and depressed, how do we care for the whole person—emotionally, physically, and spiritually while also seeking to keep people safe from COVID-19?
• Some places (churches, annual conferences, etc) are allowing for gatherings, but not children’s ministries specifically—we know our kids are struggling too, how do we support and love them in the midst of this?
-if we were to do an outdoor worship service, how do we arrange for sound and record for our Livestream service? How do we work with city permits and avoid noise pollution (even a breeze can cause challenges for microphones and recording)?
There are other concerns and questions too. As I said before, these decisions are not simple. We want to be intentional, supportive, loving, and faithful in all of this and we may discern and want to decide how that is done in different ways. So we will engage in compassionate listening and seek God’s wisdom in our decision making.

Honestly, I wish this were easier and more straightforward. Life, including church, is not the same these days. And it is hard. I continue to believe God is good and you all are loved, and we are better in a relationship together (even as we navigate foreign waters of physical distancing). If you have ideas about how we can *do* church (fellowship, mission, worship, small groups, etc) together yet separate, please share with us!

I’m always happy to answer questions and if you would like to share your thoughts about re-opening with the church council as a whole, please email Jason Johnston, church council chair. His email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Peace and health,
Pastor Debbie

p.s. we have various opportunities for an online connection. In case you missed any:
Sunday worship posts at 10:30 at
Adult Sunday school is at 9:00 on Zoom. To join, contact Rose Prather or Rebecca Haley
Kids & Youth Sunday school 10:00 on Zoom. To join contact pastor Debbie or Crystal Tibbals
Thursday prayer time on Facebook live at 9:00 am

**for Facebook live events, you do NOT need a Facebook account to access them.


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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


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...

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