This week’s Feed the Hungry offering is for Local School Missions.
This fund helps families in need within the Bristol school system.
From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist seventy years ago. Maybe you’re more familiar with simply his last name, or the title people often employed for him, Mahatma, Sanskrit for “high-souled” or “venerable.”
Gandhi embodied a deep concern for the injustices done to the poorest people in India by British rule. He was faced with a military and political machine that was unmatched in its day, and that was marked by a disdain for cultures and ethnic groups that were anything other than British. He fashioned himself into a community organizer and used the tools he had at his disposal to confront the colonial establishment.
It would be irresponsible of me to claim to understand the bigotry and elitism that Gandhi experienced. I’m white, middle-class, middle-aged, straight, male, and a natural child of the American empire. Oppression is not part of my experience. But rather than reveling in my power, I want to choose to set it aside to hear the voice of those without power.
After all, Jesus set aside glory to hear and see and touch and smell and taste the experience of a people who were also powerless.
If I’m going to claim to follow Jesus, I’d better start there.
Jesus was born into a culture that had centuries of experience with oppression. The people who followed him hoped he would bring about the overthrow of Rome, or at least the independence of Judea. Instead, he gave them tools to introduce a new kind of rule, a relational ethic more concerned with caring for each other than with establishing secular power; and more to the point as we consider Mahatma Gandhi, he gave them hints at undermining imperial power by nonviolent means.
If a soldier strikes you, turn your face so the next blow will be with the part of his hand that’s reserved for intimacy.
If he forces you to march, remember he can only legally do that for a mile. Volunteer to do another, and you’ll take his power away completely.
If he takes your coat, give him the rest of your clothes, too. That’ll shame him into never making the demand again.
Responses like those have a shelf life, of course. Successful powers adjust to changing situations in their populace in the same way that they adjust to changing situations on the battlefield. Nonviolent resistance of any type can only be repeated so many times.
What Jesus teaches us today, as we hear those proverbs in the Sermon on the Mount, is to employ creative resistance. That was a skill Gandhi employed to great effect, and that King and Mandela took on in their own struggles against deeply embedded racist regimes.
And what I personally hear today, as that aging, straight, white man, is that I really need to pay more attention to the voices of people like Gandhi and King and Mandela; to the voices the #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements, and to all the voices that are, in so many ways, different from mine.
Then, one day, nonviolence will no longer be necessary, because violence will be no more. Protest will no longer be necessary, because we will listen to each other. Nation will no longer lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more.
In the meantime, I’m going to listen, to magnify the voices that are unheard, and to make space for relationship, to love my neighbor.
That seems like a pretty good way to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi. I hope you’ll join me.
April 3, 1935 – January 20, 2018
The Church extends our deepest love and condolences to Brenda Hobbs, Vangeline Chafin and their extended families in the loss of their beloved brother, Harold Jenkins.
Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, January 25 at 10:00 a.m. at Groff Funeral Home in Sandusky, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to contribute to Harold’s memory may do so to Stein Hospice Services, 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, OH 44870.
Jean Porter, former member of First United Methodist Church, Bristol who recently resided in Maryland, went to be with our Lord on
Sunday, January 21, 2018.
Linda Moore, Jean’s daughter, is planning a Celebration of Life service in her remembrance, to be held at FUMC Bristol on
Sunday, February 18, at 3:00 p.m.
with Rev. Bill Fowler and Rev. Brandon Berg presiding.
We gratefully acknowledge a gift in remembrance of
Brother of Brenda Hobbs and Vangeline Chafin,
by Larry and Kathy Wagner
Nehemiah, the Renewal Expert
He built walls! He gave the exiles homes! He brought the law back!
We are offering two sessions of this four-week study so that you may join the study at the time most convenient for you:
Sunday evenings at 7:00
Wednesday mornings at 11:00
I’m looking forward to exploring the world and experience of Nehemiah with you! Come ready to dig in!
Sunday, January 28, Session 3
Wednesday, January 31, Session 2
Biblical Exploration Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, January 31
Awareness of others, disabilities, and of our blessings
Last Sunday . . .
Mark 1: 14-20; Jonah 3: 1-5, 10; 1 Samuel 3: 1-10
What Opened Your Ears?
Karoline Berg teaches the children’s sermon . . .
. . . and in the absence of our beloved Pastor Berg, who was with our teens at Resurrection,
and of our esteemed Dr. Gorrell, who was prepared to fill the pulpit but became ill,
Karoline Berg, who joined the church last Sunday, stepped up to deliver a heart-stirring sermon during our morning worship.
Ah, the beauty of a Proverbs 31 woman!
When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
~John H. Sammis, 1887
In Children’s Church Last Week . . .
We studied Jesus and the children. Jsus welcomed the children because they had pure hearts.
He always had time for them!
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Jesus then blessed the children (Matthew 19:14-15).
A new baby doll was introduced.
A demonstration of the proper way to hold a baby.
A Thank You Letter from Beth Rhinehardt, Librarian, Anderson Elementary School
Dear Friends at First United Methodist Church,
On behalf of the students and staff at Anderson Elementary School, I am writing to express our most sincere thanks to you for your recent generous donation to our Scholastic Book fair “All for Books” Program. This donation provided an opportunity for many of our students to select a book from the Book Fair who were not financially able to purchase a book. I wish you could have seen the smiles on their faces when they heard their name called on the intercom that they had won a “Wild West: Saddle Up And Read” book coupon and the sparkle in their eyes when they selected their book.
We are truly thankful and blessed to have your organization as part of our community. We appreciate your generosity, support, and desire to assist us as we motivate students to discover the joy of reading.
Coming April 30 – May 2, 2018
MainStay Suites, Pigeon Forge, TN
A retreat for adults (50+) who desire to explore and enhance their
relationship with Christ.
We have this hope as an anchor for the Soul, firm and secure. It enters the inter sanctuary behind the curtain. Hebrews 6:19 NIV
Sponsored by Holston Conference United Methodist Church Foundation.