Morse moving north to new parish

Rev. Paula Morse
Rev. Paula Morse

After nearly seven years pastoring the Lovell and Deaver United Methodist Churches, Rev. Paula Morse is moving north.

Morse, who moved from her native Montana to Lovell in August of 2007 to lead the Lovell and Deaver churches, has accepted a call to take a three-point charge, the Clark Fork Parish of Idaho and Montana, serving the small towns of Clark Fork, Idaho, and Heron and Noxon, Mont., east of Sandpoint, Idaho. She will live in Clark Fork.

Morse’s departure is part of a transition taking place among local United Methodist congregations. The Lovell church is linking with the Powell United Methodist Church, and Rev. Jim Barth is moving south from Browning, Mont., to pastor both churches as of July 1. His first service in Lovell will be Sunday, July 13, at 9 a.m. The Deaver United Methodist Church will go to a chapel system, with members conducting their own Sunday services.

 Morse is returning, at least in part, to her native Montana. She became active in the United Methodist Church while living in Denton, Mont., for 25 years, then in Whitehall for seven more years. She taught junior high/senior high Sunday school for 12 years, then started working at the conference level, serving on the nominations committee and the district committee on ordained ministry, as well as the guiding values committee, a post she retains today.

She completed a course of study in ministry through the Claremont College of Theology in California.

Morse said she will miss her church family in Lovell and Deaver and the closeness of both churches including “the way they look after each other,” adding, “I hope that will continue.

She added that her presence in the community was valuable in that “it’s important for this town to have a woman pastor.”

“I love the dedication to God and the golden rule that happens in both churches and the way it flows out into the community through service and a non-judgmental presence,” she continued.

Asked about her ministry, Morse said the Lovell Food Bank has grown during her time in Lovell and she appreciates the ecumenical support for the food bank from the community. She said she’s also been glad to play a role in the Day of Good Will each summer.

“I’m going to miss everyone and the country here,” she said, “and my home here with everyone.”

Morse will conduct her final services this Sunday, June 29, at 8:30 a.m. in Deaver and 10:30 a.m. in Lovell. The Lovell church will hold a final 10:30 a.m. laity-led service on July 6 before Rev. Barth’s first service at 9 a.m. on July 13.

By David Peck