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

Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - November 4, 2016

This was a written by a friend of mine from seminary, Rev. Andy Woodworth. He and his wife are doing a new church plant in Atlanta.

I found his thoughts both insightful and helpful.

See you Sunday for All Saints' Sunday, Communion, and Week 2 of our Stewardship Series: The Gift of Church

By: Rev. Andy Woodworth

I think that I have shared this story with some of you, but it bears repeating. When I was 6, my family had begun attending a United Methodist Church in Grant Park named St. Paul. In October of 1985, there was an electrical fire in St. Paul's education building that destroyed all three floors of that part of the church facility. I remember the smell of the burned building and the sights and sounds of the charred walls and floors. I also remember the way that the pastor, Lee Ramsey and his wife (and functional co-pastor) Mary Leslie were with our church in honest and authentic ways - crying over our loss as a community with us, and also helping the church to see itself differently.

Even as a six year old, I was included in what the church was becoming. We kids were taught a song called I am the Church - #558 in your United Methodist hymnal - a song that echoes for me in my deepest places even now as we undertake our adventure together:

The church is not a building,
the church is not a steeple,
the church is not a resting place,
the church is a people.

I am the church!
You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus, all around the world!
Yes, we're the church together!

Our work together is to build a church - not a building, not a physical facility that has all the newest technology or the most comfortable meeting spaces. Our work is to build a church - an interconnected fabric of relationships between real people and our real God. We are building a church - built one relationship at a time, over coffee, around dinner tables, at playgrounds and ball fields; we are connecting people new and old alike into a community of faith and action; we are growing as Patty Griffin says "kindness in our hearts for all the strangers among us, until there are no strangers anymore." I am the church, you are the church - we are the church together - because the church is a people linked together with love by the grace of God.

If we have a building, it is because it facilitates our meeting and knowing one another; if we have a steeple it is because it reminds us to look up from our lives and notice God at work among us; if we are a resting place, it is because the world is busy and God knows we need rest regularly. But church is not these things - the church is the people living a grace-filled relationship with God, and trying with everything they've got to reach out with the same grace to other imperfect humans.

Ask for God's help to unite us together as we seek to follow Jesus and build a church. I am the church. You are the church. Yes - we are the church together!

 

In Christ,

Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie E-Spire - October 21, 2016

When I was in seminary, a friend invited me to go with her to serve a hot meal to the homeless. We got up early one morning, shared a meal with folks downtown who had spent the night on the street and then we went to a different room to hand out hats, dry socks, and toiletry items.

If someone asked for a beanie, I randomly gave them one. One man said he didn't want the random one I had pulled, instead he wanted one of a different color. In my head, I sort of balked at his request thinking "beggars can't be choosers" but I gave him the hat anyway.

 

As we finished distributing items, my thoughts gnawed at me. It was just a hat and we had plenty, what did it matter to me if he chose blue over grey? Why had I been so harsh in my mind? After all the guests had left, the workers sat down for reflection and devotion and I confessed my hard-hearted thoughts. It hurt me that I had been so harsh (even if I didn't say it out-loud) to someone who had spent the night on the cold wet streets of Atlanta and simply wanted a different colored hat.

 

After our breakfast volunteering, my friend Jessie and I returned weekly for an evening meal and then "foot clinic" where we washed people's feet, cutting out corns, scrapping away calluses, massaging their feet, lotioning them and then giving them clean dry socks. It was beautiful and challenging all at the same time. And I learned a lot as I heard stories from those (mostly) men. I learned to see them as people and not problems. I tried to learned the nuances of their struggles and the challenges of living on the street.

 

Throughout my years of ministry, I have worked with and encountered hundreds of people who have spent the night or lived on the street. I have shared meals, opened the showers, given clothes, distributed Bibles, offered a bottle of water or a granola bar, taken people to the bus depot, or arranged for a night in a hotel. And I've heard many many stories of trials, job losses, family disputes, and battles with addiction.

 

The issues that lead to homelessness are often complex and the solutions take time. The churches I have served have faced various challenges in offering a place of sanctuary and grace. Which is why I am so grateful to partner with an agency like Family Promise. I worked with them for 2 years in Valencia and now again in Moscow. I am so appreciative of the ways they recognize the need in our community and equip lay volunteers to serve our neighbors in need. It is a gift to work with people who care and who have a functioning structure and true accountability in their program.

 

This Sunday we will begin our Fall week of hosting the families that are currently in the Family Promise Program. It is an opportunity for us to share a meal, to help with kids (for parents who don't really get a break or have a simple "play room" where they can leave their kids while they cook dinner, or read a book, or make a phone call....when you're a parent on the streets, or even in the FP program, you are always "on"), to be a safe person to talk with, or simply be a presence in a warm place for them to stay.

 

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie

 

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Current Church News

  • FUMC Auction & Dinner - Friday, October 19th

    The first Missions Auction and Dinner was so fun, we are going to do it again! Mark you calendars for Friday, October 19th at the Latah County Fair grounds. Like last year we will be serving dinner and having a silent and live auction. The Missions Auction helps support local nonprofits, including: Family Promise, Sojourner’s Alliance, My Little Pantry, Alternatives to Violence and more. All money raised at this event goes to mission projects with no overhead or fees taken out. Please help support our neighbors and friends in need. Tickets on sale soon!

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...