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Pastor Debbie's E-Devotion - May 6, 2020

I read this post by clergy colleague Rev. Heather Riggs, who serves Oak Grove UMC in Oregon. I thought her perspective and powerful. This pandemic has caused a wave of emotions for all of us, but some of us may be triggered differently by the feelings of powerlessness and uncertainty.

Whoever you are, please be gentle with yourself. And maybe use some of the perspectives here to be gentle with others.

If you are feeling anxious, depressed, or triggered and want to talk, please know I'm here to listen. We also have some wonderful mental health professionals in our community and I'd be glad to help you connect.

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie


There was pie involved...
I know this feeling in my body. Mostly OK and always a little on edge. It's hard to sleep, but I'm always tired. Every little bit of comfort or pleasure feels infinitely worth it... because we're just not sure what's coming next.
For 5 years of my life, I lived in an unpredictable situation that I could not escape because I was a victim of child abuse.
This isn't that. I'm safe from both violence and intimidation. But I do recognize the low hum of unpredictability and possibly impending harm. It's like a dripping faucet that you can't even hear most of the day, and yet when it's quiet, it cannot be ignored.
The reason so many of us feel so "off" is the unpredictability and the real possibility of threat that we don't really know how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from.
You're not crazy, you're just in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, which is turning into a long term traumatic experience.
So we bought a pie on our way home from delivering masks to Aurora. Because knowing that we were able to help gave me hope and knowing that the needs of this crisis are continuing to grow is overwhelming...and we like pie.
When things are uncertain it's important to do the right thing as much as you can and to allow yourself to experience joy in harmless ways when you can.
So yes, there was good Marion berry pie involved and we tipped our server.


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Pastor Debbie's E-Devotion - May 1, 2020

When I was in seminary, a professor shared "If there are still babies being born, God has not given upon us." Things are hardly that bleak, though I know many struggles wondering "How could God do this to us?!" I'm not one who sees God as punitive or harsh, so that's not where my mind goes. I think illness and disease are simply part of the brokenness of humanity and God journeys with us in the hard parts. But, it is nice to be reassured of God's love.

As I've been out walking and bike riding this week I've seen so much spring beauty. Flowers blooming, the green of trees leafing out, the sound of frogs, the music of the birds. It's been glorious. And each sign of new life reminds me, God has not given upon us. As long as there are new beginnings...from bees to flowers to calves, and then to babies, then there is still a future and a hope for all of us.

I know many folks are struggling. Living through a pandemic is hard and not anything any of us ever really imagined. And many of us thought we would be free to get back to "normal" after the month of restrictions and now we are restricted further and so we're dealing with a new wave of loss and grief.

If you're struggling, know you are not alone. And there are folks around to help...with listening, with tangible things like meals, or bills, or small gifts. And there are signs of God's promise all around and newness to remind you, "God hasn't given up."

I hope you revel in the beauty of creation simply because it's lovely, and that you find whispers of God's love for you as well.

As always, if we can be of help or support in the midst of this, please let us know.

Peace and health,
Pastor Debbie


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Pastor Debbie's E-Devotion - April 23, 2020

Good day!
I have missed gathering with you all and seeing you in person. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers regularly and if I can be of help or support at this time, I am here. If you need someone to talk to, someone to get groceries or other items, or help to work through a situation, please feel free to contact me.

The vision team had been working on some possible actions for our church as a follow up to your answers on the Next Steps Survey we did in the Fall. Some of those actions have been delayed as we have tried to work on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One-piece that was in the works was sharing a banner in our sanctuary to help people who visit us be aware of our congregation's desire to be more visible as open and affirming. (As a reminder,76% of those who responded indicated they were interested or very interested in doing more to welcome LGBTQ individuals within our church).

We shared a picture of the banner in an espire (also seen here) and then had it in the conference room for a couple of weeks. We planned to display it in the sanctuary starting on March 22. We have changed that date, to "when we return". As part of our sharing, we invited you to share questions or comments and one thing that came up multiple times was the use of the word "queer" on the banner.

The Vision Team has discussed your concern and we recognize that the use of the word "queer" (or avoidance of it) has strong generational/cultural differences. In some generations, queer was a negative slur and was to be avoided. In younger generations, queer has been reclaimed as a more universal term describing the LGBTQIA community. Its use and acceptability will differ from person to person (some may use it and claim it for themselves and others may avoid it altogether). In seeking to be an ally, a safe step would be to let someone who self identifies tell you how they want to be described (gay, lesbian, queer, or otherwise). In all cases, please know it is with this understanding and intent that we have used it on our banner.

For some outside perspective on the use of the word, you might read this or this or this.

Related to that, the General Conference of the UMC that was scheduled to meet in May in Minneapolis has been postponed (meeting and voting virtually would have been far too much to do for roughly 850 voting delegates from around the world). The Council of Bishops has set tentative dates for Aug/September of 2021.

Locally, the shared gathering of the Greater Northwest for the annual conference in June has been canceled. Local voting and decisions are tentatively scheduled to be handled by the annual conference in the Fall.

Peace and health,
Pastor Debbie


P.S. Two new things are starting. 1) The 9 am Sunday school class will meet virtually. Please contact Rebecca Haley or Rose Prather if you want to join them. 2) We will be offering a "virtual coffee hour" after our Sunday morning worship. This will happen via zoom. Fred and Sonya Meyer are the hosts for 4/26. The zoom link is: If you are new to zoom, please see the attached page for how to get started, or reach out to me (951-966-6161) or Sonya (307-761-0027) for assistance.


May God bless you,
Pastor Debbie


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Pastor Debbie's E-Devotion - April 9, 2020

Dear friends,
Most of us associate worship with the space of a sanctuary. In many ways, a sanctuary becomes holy because we treat it as holy and it has been holy for so many over the years. But worship is not confined to a church, or any building, worship can happen anywhere. And there are many ways to do it. As we learn to worship differently, we wanted to offer some suggestions and resources for worshipping this holy week.
To worship on your own in an organic (let it flow) fashion, I would:
1) set up a space that feels peaceful and calm. This might be a favorite chair. it might be outside. You might light a candle, bring a hymnal, Bible, or devotional book.
2) Sing or pray in a way that helps you focus on God in Christ. (I have "heart" songs that my mom used to sing to me. They are choruses or short hymns that I can sing from memory. They help me anytime I'm stressed or need to focus on God.
3) read a section of scripture. You might already have a habit of this if so, follow what you're doing. If not, pick a spot! Maybe the psalms, maybe the Gospels. The Holy Week stories are in each of the 4 gospels, those would be good this week.
4) Practice Lectio Divina (holy reading/listening). Read the scripture aloud. What stands out? What is curious? What doesn't fit? What is inspiring? If it's a story of people, try and connect with them, how might they be feeling? What might they be thinking? Try to find ways to *find* yourself in the story.
5) Pray. This might be about how God wants you to understand the scripture, or prayer of intercession (praying on behalf of others), or simply listening for God's prompting.
6) Sing (or listen to) songs that move you. Invite God to lead you into the rest of your day.

There are some beautiful resources being shared. I hope you take advantage of them. (see the bottom of this email)
Our services will be shared on Facebook, though you shouldn't need a Facebook account to access them. One note I heard from a member of the church was that viewing live without a Facebook account didn't work, but when she went back an hour later (once it was recorded and saved) she was able to watch the service just fine.
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will be shared at 6 pm each night.
Easter service will stream at 9 am on Easter Sunday.
We'd love to have you host a watch party whenever you can join the service (even if it's a day later!)
Here is the link to our Facebook page:
Our annual conference is overseen by Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, as well as the Oregon-Idaho Conference and the Alaska Conference. Together the three areas are working on a composite worship service, to be posted by 6 am on Easter morning. Click this link to find the service:
For some at-home DIY options:
Maundy Thursday (family-friendly and includes bread baking, if you want)
Good Friday stations of the cross (45-minute video)
Easter Sunrise Service

Pastor Debbie


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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - April 1, 2020

Last night, Rick and I were talking about going to bed early. Joking back Ruth told us we weren’t allowed. We didn’t need sleep. I immediately pushed back and said, “Rest is our first defense. Our bodies do most of their restorative work while we’re sleeping.” (reference)

Rest is essential to our well-being--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And yet, it's ironic, in this season, how many of us are working over-time to learn new technology, modify our routines, revamp all our "norms", and even educate our kids.

For many our stress is high, and rest is elusive. Which only makes it that much more necessary. Our bodies, minds, and spirits need time and space to rest and be restored. For some of us that may actually mean sleep, for others of us that might be more active sabbath practices.

What have you done this week that has fed your soul? Nourished your being? Helped you feel whole?

I know the demands are high. They are for me too. My body feels like it's on high alert and my mind is always spinning trying to riddle out the newest issue or change. sabbath practices of the past tell me just how necessary it is to rest.

The other day it was like my body and brain were protesting my constant busyness. They just stopped. I could do basic things, but not much beyond that. I was completely exhausted and I couldn't force my brain to do more. So I rested. I knew I needed it, but before that, I couldn't slow things down enough for it to happen. Then as I rested my body begged for more, but this time, the restorative kind...the life-giving, soul-tending rest (which for me often means creating...some form of art, or cooking, or creating).

Like you, I'm trying to find a new schedule that works for all the demands and trying to organize what needs to be organized. I'm trying to be intentional (now) to make sure I schedule in rest--enough that my mind will actually slow down and let me truly rest.

I hope and pray you can do the same. From all I've read, it looks like we're in this for the long haul, so let's pace ourselves.

“This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with blessing.”

John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings


 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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