The latest news for you

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
 May 10-16, 2018
Happy Mother’s Day
Emmie and Her Child by Mary Cassatt, 1889
May 13, 2018
Ascension Sunday
Luke 24:44-53
And They Were Continuously in the Temple Praising God
Rev. Brandon Berg
From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
It is May. The merry, merry month. The month when Summer plans start to get really solid and complicated. The month when I find myself gearing up for Annual Conference and looking more intently at the connectional nature of our United Methodist Church.
During this month, in fact during this week, we have had two important news items come to our attention that deeply affect the way we do ministry together. One of those is a decision from the Council of Bishops to recommend the plan that the Commission on a Way Forward has chosen as the best possible option for our future as a church in ministry in the world. The other is the announcement of the results of Annual Conference votes to uphold or strike down five pieces of legislation from the 2016 General Conference.
I’ve lost some of y’all, I know. If I didn’t lose you, it’s because you’re so invested in these issues and in our connectional church that you already know what’s going on and wish I’d just get to the point.
In ridiculously broad strokes, for those of you I’ve already lost:
•General Conference is our lawmaking body. Each Annual Conference elects delegates to General Conference every four years to fight with each other about the inclusion of LGBT persons in God’s world. Actually, they do a lot more than that, but that’s been the persistent elephant in the room for the past four decades.
•Annual Conferences meet annually (thus the name) to sustain the ministries of our connection within their particular region. For us, that’s slightly fewer than 900 churches and a bunch of other ministries stretching from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Radford, Virginia.
•The Council of Bishops is the gathered body of all those pastors elected to serve in supervisory roles for all those Annual Conferences. Their decisions together (let’s be very clear) are primarily advisory and do not hold the weight of law. Again, the General Conference is our lawmaking body, not the Council of Bishops. We tend to forget that when our Bishops say things we don’t want to hear.
•The Commission on a Way Forward is a temporary group gathered specifically to deal with the elephant who has been destroying the General Conference since The United Methodist Church has existed. They are a diverse group who have been talking since 2016 about what the best way forward (again, thus the name) might be for The United Methodist Church, given our persistent argument about the inclusion of LGBT persons in ministry in the world.
Let all that sink in, then go back and re-read that second paragraph. I’ll wait.
Certain pieces of legislation that come out of the General Conference have to be passed on to our Annual Conferences to be ratified (sounds like our own national civics, doesn’t it? There’s a reason for that.) before they become church law. Five of those were handed to our Annual Conferences following the 2016 General Conference, and I am not alone in grieving the way the voting went.
An amendment that would have emphasized the equality of men and women and committed the church to ending discrimination against women and girls failed by 0.5%.
An amendment that would have included “gender, ability, age and marital status” as characteristics that cannot keep persons from becoming members of local churches failed by 5.7%.
Those are not big numbers, y’all. They are small numbers that represent an increasing inability for us to work together and support each other in common ministries.
So as we’re preparing for Annual Conference this year, I’m finding myself deeply disappointed in our United Methodist Church. I still believe in the work we can do together, but I’m concerned that we’re refusing to do what it takes to make the life-giving, transforming ministry of Jesus Christ happen.
But it doesn’t do me a bit of good to wallow in disappointment, so I’m drafting here some words for y’all to let you know:
(1) I support your ministry and welcome you and your dreams regardless of your “gender, ability, age and marital status” or any other qualifications you might have, and if you catch me living or practicing anything less than fully inclusive, for God’s sake, call me out on it; and
(2) I believe and seek to practice equality of all persons and intend to do all I can and create a sacred space where we together do all we can to end any sort of discrimination whatsoever.
Those are my commitments to you, and I want to encourage you to join me in them and spread the word that we are a church that welcomes everybody to the table and to the work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. That is a difference we can make. That is something we can offer to this community, at least, and that is the kind of step that’s necessary to make a real difference that will bring all of God’s people into one kin-dom.
Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.
This week’s Feed the Hungry offering will go to
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.
Mission of the Month
Liberia Health Kits
2018 Liberia Mission Project
Pick up your plastic bags with instructions. They are located both in Tankersley Hall
and in the Narthex.
The last day to return kits is Sunday, May 27.
Last Sunday
John 15:9-17
New Commandment; New People
Ringing the Bell to Announce: The Hour Has Come to Gather in Worship
We need more workers for the Church Yard Sale May 18 and 19.
You can sign up for duty on the chart provided in the Narthex.
Walking in sunlight all of my journey,
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, I’ll never forsake thee—
Promise divine that never can fail.
Heavenly sunlight! Heavenly sunlight!
Flooding my soul with glory divine;
Hallelujah! I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine!
~George Cook
The body of Christ, given for you.
The blood of Christ, given for you.
On the night in which Jesus gave himself up for us
he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
When the supper was over, Jesus took the cup,
gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Drink from this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.”
In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north;
but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.
In Christ shall true hearts everywhere their high communion find;
his service is the golden cord close binding humankind.
In Christ is neither Jew not Greek, and neither slave nor free;
both male and female heirs are made, and all are kin to me.
In Christ now meet both east and west, in him meet south and north;
all Christly souls are one in him throughout the whole wide earth.
~John Oxenham, 1913
Last Week in Children’s Sunday School
Ms. Suzanne taught a lesson about Lydia in Acts 16 who was a seller of purple. Lydia listened to and believed Paul’s message about Jesus. She did things to help others. Ms. Suzanne brought some purple plants from her yard to show different shades of purple.
We used shaving cream and food coloring to make the color purple. The children then used the mixture to make note paper. After the paper dried, the children wrote notes to be sent to some of our members.
Mr. Mike made us a yummy snack of yogurt with sprinkles and apple slices.
SPR will meet today,
Thursday, May 10,
at 5:00 p.m.
in the Church Library.
Dinner for 8
Group Dinner
The Chop House
in Kingsport
Saturday, May 12
Meet at the Church
4:30 p.m.
Spring Cleanup at Church
Saturday, May 12
9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Lots of jobs for all abilities
Church Trustees will meet Sunday, May 13,
at 4:00 p.m. in the Library.
Youth Movie Night
Wednesday, May 16
6:30 p.m.
For more information contact
John, Brandon, Andy, Rebekah, or Erica.
Friday and Saturday, May 18-19
Sign up for work times in the Church Narthex.
FUMC Youth at Recent Rock Band Event
Pew Repair in Progress
One of our pew seats is out this week for a much needed and
anticipated cushion replacement. A huge thank you to the folks
who have made this happen.
Pastor Brandon leads music
at a recent youth weekend
at Camp Ahistadi.
Women Build 2018
Be a strong woman during Habitat’s Women Build Week.
Join us as we build in partnership with three local women, Cissy, Susan & Jessica. Choose to BUILD STRONG in either Jonesborough,
Johnson City or Bristol: May 10-12.
Even if you can’t build, you can still support our Women Build
activities by donating to honor Cissy, Susan and Jessica by clicking below
Camp Bays Mountain
Move the Flame!
The last few steps are being taken to begin a brand-new phase of camping ministry in the Tri-Cities. The first campers will flood Camp Bays Mountain on June 3, and they will gather on Thursday evening for holy communion and dedication to following Jesus around the first vespers campfire of the camp’s history!
But first, we have to Move the Flame from
Buffalo Mountain Camp to Camp Bays Mountain.
So Thursday afternoon, June 7, some folks will begin a relay of hikers and bikers and runners to pass the torch from one camping generation to the next.
If you’re a person who hikes, bikes, or runs; and if you have fondness in your heart for Buffalo Mountain Camp and Camp Bays Mountain, we would love for you to be a part of Move the Flame. Jennifer Bradley ( is organizing relayers, and you can find more information online or you can ask
Rev. Berg. Let’s get together and Move the Flame!
Camp Bays Mountain will offer summer camp 
for children and youth grades 1-12.
Pastor Brandon Leads Camp Dedication Crowd in Song
New Swimming Pool for Campers
 Learn how to help brothers and sisters who are dying of opioid addiction.
Friday, May 18, 9:00AM–5:00PM and
Saturday, May 19, 9:00AM–3:00PM
Celebration Church, Blountville
Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
to 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 May 10-16, 2018
Thursday, May 10 
5:00pm-SPR meeting-Church Library
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room
 6:30pm-Mankind Project-Youth Room
Friday, May 11
 9:00am-Reading Buddies Appreciation Brunch (until noon)-TH
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, May 12
9:00am-Church Work Day (until noon) 
9:00am-Simmer Down Catering (until 2pm)-TH
4:30pm-Dinner for 8 (until 8:30)-Meet at the church to go to Chop House, Kingsport
Sunday, May 13
  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.)
12:15pm-Choir Rehearsal 
4:00pm-Trustees Meeting-Church Library
Monday, May 14
 6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 7:00pm-Hispanic Congregation PVUMC
Tuesday, May 15
 8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group-TH
Wednesday, May 16
6:30pm-Youth Activity-TH
            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
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