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First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
 March 22-28, 2018
April 8, 2018
Second Sunday of Easter
John 20:19-31
And the World Will Live as One

Rev. Brandon Berg
From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
This is a planning week.
It is the week after Easter. All my plans heretofore have led up to this past Sunday, and they are now spent. It’s time to look ahead.
Typically, I hate to go into a week with no work done ahead, but sometimes, y’all, a body just gets busy and behind.
So this is a planning week. I’m very thankful to be spending the week in planning, because my worship professor at Candler School of Theology, the Reverend Dr. Don Saliers, told us more than a few times:
“The Holy Spirit has never rejected good planning.”
Right now, I’m taking a few minutes away from the weeks of texts I have laid out around the library table to offer y’all some words of encouragement, specifically around planning and preparation.
I’ve found myself, as I pointed out, with no plan for any week to come, and that’s an unnerving place to be, but I’m sure you have some experience with that, too. In these early days of Easter Season, I’m letting some things simmer on the back burner and choosing not to address others so that our worship together may have some responsible shape.
That doesn’t mean it’s all set like concrete, of course. That might be just fine for some folks, but quite a few others like some liberty, some flexibility in worship.
I’ve been reading Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time to our girls before we invite them to watch Disney’s take on the story, so I’m going to offer the author an opportunity to explain what I’m trying to get across:
“Can’t she see what’s going to happen?” Calvin asked. 
“Oh, not in this kind of thing.” Mrs. Whatsit sounded surprised at his question. “If we knew ahead of time what was going to happen we’d be—we’d be like the people on Camazotz, with no lives of our own, with everything all planned and done for us. How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet.” 
“Yes, yes,” Calvin said impatiently. “What’s that got to do with the Happy Medium?”
“Kindly pay me the courtesy of listening to me.” Mrs. Whatsit’s voice was stern, and for a moment Calvin stopped pawing the ground like a nervous colt. “It is a very strict form of poetry, is it not?” 
“There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That’s a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?” 
“Yes.” Calvin nodded. “And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?” 
“But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn’t he?” 
“Yes.” Calvin nodded again. 
“So,” Mrs. Whatsit said. 
“So what?” 
“Oh, do not be stupid, boy!” Mrs. Whatsit scolded. “You know perfectly well what I am driving at!” 
“You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?” 
“Yes.” Mrs. Whatsit said. “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”
I suppose I want to invite you to experience worship like that: a form with flexibility within. In fact, experience life like that. It may well be that God gives us a lot more flexibility than we know how to handle well, but some prayer goes a long way.
So does a little preparation and planning. Some study, perhaps, some time with the Creator of this whole epic poem we live. Or, as Wesley puts it, some time attending to all the ordinances of God, those ways God has set up to help grow and mature us into God’s own image.
I hope that’s a little helpful to you this week. I hope that, in these early days of the Easter Season, you have peace and joy and warmth. I hope that I see you very soon.
Our “Feed the Hungry” offering this week is for
Family Promise of Bristol.
This program provides an opportunity for us
to show God’s grace and Christ’s love
to children with homeless families in the Bristol area.
2018 Clinch Mountain District
Sets Goal of 400 Health Kits
for Liberia
Put into a large Ziploc bags these items:
  • 1 hand towel
  • 1 washcloth
  • 2 toothbrushes
  • 2 tubes toothpaste 6.4 oz. or less
  • 1 bottle shampoo 15 oz. or less
  • 1 bottle lotion 18 oz. or less
  • 1 bottle roll-on deodorant 4 oz. or less
  • 1 small spray perfume/cologne/body mist 4 oz. or less
Put the following items separately into a sandwich-size bag.
  • 1 tube antibacterial ointment 1 oz.
  • 1 bottle Tylenol/acetaminophen 500 mg. 24 count
  • Remove price tags from all Items.
  • Please use only the quantities listed.
  • NO SUBSITUTIONS or additional items are allowed due to Customs regulations. This includes notes, cards, photos, religious tracts or anything else that is not on the list.
  • A $5.00 donation is to accompany each kit – do not put money in the bag.
Mission of the Month
This month we celebrate our members who cannot
physically be with us to worship.
Our Homebound Connections Team serves these
cherished church members in many ways:
monthly visits, birthday cards, Easter baskets and
Christmas poinsettias, contact calls, and digital photo sharing.
Pastor Brandon also shares communion with our Homebound folks as requested.
Would you like to help with this vital ministry? Check back next week to discover
ways to help our folks stay connected!
The Church Gratefully Acknowledges These Gifts
In Memory of Loetta Cornett
To Help for Haiti by Carol and Doug Taylor
To the Memorial Fund by RA and Ellen Mueller
Last Sunday We Celebrated the Resurrection of Christ.
John 20: 1-18
Christ Is Alive
This is the day:
when tears are wiped away;
shattered hearts are mended;
fears are replaced with joy.
This is the day the Lord:
rolls away the stone of fear;
throws off death’s clothes;
goes ahead of us into God’s future.
This is the day the Lord has made:
death has no fear for us;
sin has lost its power over us;
God opens the tombs of our hearts
to fill us with life.
This is the day – Easter Day!
Christ is Risen! Hallelujah!
                                                                            ~Thom Shuman
Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
                                               ~Laurence Hull Stookey, 20th cent.
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
    ~Charles Wesley, 1739
Welcome, first-time visitor, Baby Nirvana.
On this morning, we welcome God’s good news for our lives,
and go out to share it with everyone we meet.
Tomorrow morning, we will go with Jesus to serve the world
to bring healing to the broken, hope for the despairing.
On every morning to come, we will join the Spirit in living the gospel,
to welcome all who have been abandoned by others
to speak out for all whose voices are silenced by fears.
                                                                                                      ~Thom Shuman
Last Week at Children’s Sunday School
and Easter Egg Hunt
Jesus is Alive! Ms. Penny used the flannel board. Mr. Mike brought cupcakes and juice. The youth hid eggs, and a great time was had by all! We hope our visitors come back! Thank you to everyone who made our Easter egg hunt a success!
Next Great Youth Event
April 11
Prayer Labyrinth and Blackbird
6:30 p.m.
For more information contact John, Brandon,
Andy, Rebekah, or Erica.
It is with great joy I share with you my brother Paul’s confirmation picture from Easter Vigil and Mass at the Catholic Church where his wife, daughter and family are members. Paul’s granddaughter, Haley,(standing in the back beside his wife, Mary Ellen) was also confirmed at this service. His daughter, Angela, standing next to him, served the wine during Communion. Paul said, “That was a nice touch, receiving the blood of Christ from her hands.”
I adore my brother and his family. Please rejoice with me in a Great God who connects us not only as family, but also, as Family. ~Carol Johnson
MAY 18-19
We are storing items in the former nurse’s office.
Antagonism in the Church:
Building a Healthy Congregational Culture
Sponsored by the Holston Conference Task Force on Clergy Abuse
An event for clergy and lay leadership
Be part of the conversation.
2 Events – Featuring Dr. David Brubaker
Saturday, April 21: Concord UMC (Knoxville)
Saturday, April 28: Emory & Henry College
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $25.00 (lunch provided)

Morning conversation about antagonism in the church
Afternoon learning opportunity with Dr. David Brubaker
Registration Open
April 30 – May 2, 2018

MainStay Suites, Pigeon Forge
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.
For details, go to the Jubilation website
Camp Bays Mountain
This year Holston Conference is excited to offer summer camp for children and youth, Grades 1 – 12, at Camp Bays Mountain.
Camp Director Jeff Wadley says, “The outdoor setting, camp activities and summer counselors are avenues for our campers to be introduced to Christ and to grow in faith. Our theme this summer is Here I Am! in which we will study God’s presence in our lives.This is the heartbeat of our camp curriculum.”
Kitchen Crew Needed for Camp Bays Mountain
Camp Bays Mountain seeks talented, passionate, creative,
and flexible Kitchen Crew members for the 2018 summer
A Note of Thanks from Brian Miller,
Staff Chaplain
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Dear Brandon,
Thanks again to you and your church for hosting our Community Clergy Training on March 6. It seemed to be a wonderful event, and we’ve had lots of good feedback.
                                      Grace and Peace, Brian
Thanks to you, Kroger Shoppers/FUMC Supporters, FUMC will soon receive a check from Kroger for $102.42 based on purchases you made between 12-1-2017 and 12-28-2018 (Cycle 14, Quarter 2). We currently have 19 families participating in the Kroger Community Rewards Program.
If you shop at Kroger and have not yet enrolled in the program, it is not too late to get started. Call the church office for details.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Bristol Train Station
eliminating racism
empowering women
Christians will gather in May to learn
how to help brothers and sisters who are dying of opioid addiction.
Please join us at The Holy Friendship Summit
Friday, May 18th from 9:00AM – 5:00PM and
Saturday, May 19th, 2018 from 9:00AM – 3:00PM
at Celebration Church in Blountville, Tennessee.
The Holy Friendship Summit is more than a conference or workshop.
It is a long term vision to produce networks, resource sharing opportunities,
and new publications. Clergy, clinicians, congregations, educators, non-profit leaders,
recovery program leaders, and neighbors are called and are coming together
in Holy Friendship.
Café Central Rivers Way
Café Central (est. 2014) is a community food initiative operated by youth and young adults with disabilities. The initiative is a partnership between River’s Way, Central Christian Church, Tennessee High School and Virginia High School. Café Central provides tasty and nutrition lunches to the public on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the school year. The hours are 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the cost is $5.00 per person.
Café Central is located in the Fellowship Hall at Central Christian Church at 424 Melrose Street in Bristol, TN, two blocks from Tennessee High School. For more information, contact Tom Hanion, Executive Director of River’s Way at To sign up go to
Annual Good Food for All Challenge
Launched by Local Citizens
Appalachian Sustainable Development’s food access program, Healthy Families-Family Farms (HFFF) has launched the Good Food for All Challenge to support local farmers and provide free, fresh vegetables to people in need who visit food banks/pantries. Since 2004, HFFF has donated over 1 million pounds of nutritious seconds produce to food banks and pantries.
Good Food for All Challenge will take place from now – May 15, 2018. All donations received during this time will have up to 30 percent added to it from HFFF. Donations can be made at Supporters can also mail checks to: Healthy Families-Family Farms, P.O. Box 791, Abingdon, VA 24212 with “Challenge” in the memo line.
Send your photos and announcements 
for the Newsletter
or call Carol at 423.652.2811
M-Th, 9-2.
For each publication, information
is needed by noon on Wednesday.
Your Church Event and Planning Calendar
Week of April 5 – 11, 2018
Thursday, April 5    
         6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room
        6:30pm-Girl Scouts-TH
Friday, April 6      
         5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
         6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, April 7
         9:00am-Simmer Down Catering (until 2pm)-TH
Sunday, April 8
         9:30am-Sunday School Hour
         9:30am-The River Worship Service-TH
       10:00am-Common Ground Service-Chapel
       11:00am-Traditional Worship-Sanctuary
                             (Childcare is provided from 9:30am to 12:00pm.
                              Children may be picked up at any time.)
       12:00pm-Choir Rehearsal 
Monday, April 9
        6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
         7:00pm-Hispanic Congregation PVUMC
Tuesday, April 10
          8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group-TH
Wednesday, April 11 
           6:30pm-Youth Activity
            To make changes or additions to the calendar contact Alan Gorrell 423-652-7377
                                                   or Sandy Gorrell 423-652-1987.
First United Methodist Church
Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor (276.237.6498)
 322 Vance Dr., Bristol, TN 37620
Our Vision
Building A Community Where Anyone
Can Become A Deeply Committed Christian