Payette UMC: A pillar in small town Idaho


In a small town in Idaho, Payette United Methodist Church stands out, not just as a spiritual haven but as a cornerstone of the community. With Rev. Mary Beth Boesch taking the helm since July of the previous year, the church has become increasingly embedded in the daily lives of its residents.

"I don't want to be a church that's just in the neighborhood. I want to be a church that's for the neighborhood," said Boesch.

An embodiment of this philosophy is the church's annual school supply fair. Catering to students from kindergarten through fifth grade, the fair goes beyond just providing pencils and notebooks. It's an event where families gather, share meals, watch movies, and cultivate unity.

"Last year we easily had 100 children and their families at our carnival. At our Easter event, we welcomed about 200 kids." Boesch said. Such numbers might appear modest, but for a small church, they highlight its monumental influence.

Under Pastor Boesch's leadership, community involvement has grown. The church has become a meeting place for AA group meetings, a repository for the community's clothing closet, and the go-to venue for an array of events - from winter festivals to Easter egg hunts.

However, for Boesch, it's not about numbers.

"We want to love and get to know our neighbors," she said. "This isn't a bid for a bump in Sunday's attendance; it's a pledge to forge enduring community bonds."

Cris Warzyn, the Payette UMC secretary, said, "The outreach and initiatives by Pastor Boesch have woven the church even tighter into the community fabric. People don't just attend; they genuinely feel a part of something bigger."

Warzyn adds, "The growth I've seen under Pastor Boesch's guidance isn't just in numbers. It's in the warmth of smiles, the eagerness to participate, and the strengthened sense of community."

In an age where mega-churches often steal the limelight, the story of Payette United Methodist Church underlines the deep-seated influence of smaller congregations. They may not boast sprawling sanctuaries, but they nurture profound connections.

Aspiring leaders can take a page out of Boesch's book.

"It's about genuine love and engagement. Our primary objective is to love and understand our community. When that's your mission, the results are astounding," said Boesch.

Reflecting on the strides the church has made, Boesch said, "I'm proud of my church."

Payette United Methodist Church underscores a simple truth: it's not about the congregation's size but about its profound commitment to community and Christ