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First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
 July 19-25, 2018
July 22, 2018

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Rest from Your Labor

Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
On July 30, the Commission on a Way Forward will publish their set of three recommendations following years of prayerful deliberation about the future of The United Methodist Church. The Council of Bishops has already read and thoroughly discussed the recommendation, and they have offered their own proposal, favoring what is known as the One Church model. The rest of the global church has not yet seen the report, because the Commission is interested in offering it simultaneously to the church as a whole, available in translation into French, Kiswahili, and Portuguese, so that all our General Conference delegates may have access to the report without any one group (English-speaking delegates, specifically) being allowed a head start on the others.
That is about as fair as one might hope we can be.
What seems unfair is that so much conversation within the Commission on a Way Forward has happened behind closed doors, without allowing the rest of the global church to see.
It seems unfair, but I’m not sure it is.
The Commission on a Way Forward, after all, is made up of real human beings, real people trying to be in real conversation with each other while they know they are in disagreement, and while some of them feel that conflict in a very personal way because the issues they have been discussing aren’t just issues to them, but are real parts of who they are as Divine Images, the creatures God intends them to be. The meetings of the Commission are private not because they don’t want the rest of us to see, as it were, the sausage being made, but because these real children of God need space to express themselves and converse with each other without the rest of the world reacting in vitriolic Twitter storms and Facebook rants.
Andy and Rebekah McGrady have an ongoing argument over the value of the Empire in Star Wars mythology. Rebekah argues that the Empire consists of people just trying to keep order and peace in the galaxy, while the Rebel Alliance is a terrorist group doing everything they can to create anarchy and undermine the government. Andy comes back with, “But they’re EVIL!”
Personally, I hesitate to sanctify Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, but the part of me that recognizes that once they were full of hope and promise as Anikin Skywalker and Ben Solo knows that Rebekah is onto something. In the end, the Empire is full of real people who experience real hurt and maybe have gotten caught up in nursing or even nurturing that hurt.
The most astounding thing about the Commission on a Way Forward is that it brought together people from the groups most diametrically opposed to each other in our United Methodist connection, and expected them to covenant to listen, to respect, and to love each other.
You know, to treat each other like human beings.
Because the knee jerk reaction of representatives of both the Wesley Covenant Association and the Reconciling Ministries Network, when faced with the daunting task of encountering their opposite, is precisely Andy’s reaction to the Empire: “But they’re EVIL!”
And it’s fair to say that a lot of the hurt — most of which leaves permanent scars, and some of which is nothing short of deadly — that has been done in this decades-old fight is, in fact, evil. No human being should ever demean or categorize another for any reason at all, and I say that knowing how complicit I have been sometimes. Those actions are evil, full stop.
Those people are not. They are behaving out of hurt and fear, which is dangerous, as Yoda reminds us:
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
It is well past time to stop being afraid and start being human. The Commission on a Way Forward has shown us that that’s possible. I’m pretty sure Jesus has shown us that’s possible, too, but he was crucified for saying it.
I think we can start showing some grace and humanity without risking execution. I suspect that by doing so, we might just change some hearts. Heck, there’s an off chance we might actually change some minds, or at least let Jesus start doing that through us.
It’s up to you. Maybe you’re angry at me because I’m not taking a hard line. I’m very sorry for that, and if I’m betraying the hurt you’ve experienced by not standing up for a more solid, decisive way forward, please know that I love you and I deeply, sincerely apologize. I’m convinced that the only way we change hearts and minds is through relationship. If we don’t leave room for that, then I believe that we are closing the door to any possibility of sharing the love of Jesus Christ that is transforming the world and bringing the reign of God that is fundamentally relational in nature.
That is, after all, what we proclaim when we celebrate a God who is Three in One: Father, Son, and Spirit.
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
Let’s be brave. Let’s step away from fear. Let’s share Jesus.

Ballad Hospice House Bristol
The first week of September our church provides a lunch item
for families of patients at Hospice House in Bristol.
So far we have:
September 3rd: pasta salad
September 4th: chicken salad
September 5th, 6th, and 7th we still need someone to sign up.
You don’t have to cook, store-bought or restaurant foods are fine!

please contact
Julie Blanton 423-914-9820

This week’s Feed the Hungry offering is for Local School Missions.
This fund helps families in need within the Bristol School System.

Martha Circle Potluck Dinner
Thursday, July 26
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Home of Peggy Wilson

Saturday, July 28
9 a.m. – 12 noon
Your Church needs YOU!

The Children’s Garden
Have you been to see our Children’s Garden? Please stop by, harvest its bounty
as it becomes available, and as your heart and body are blessed
by its organic goodness, make a donation to FUMC Children’s Program
or to Missions. (Remember to bring a gathering bag!)

Last Sunday was Unity Sunday
Mark 6:14-29
Rev. Berg’s Message- The Foundation of Worship: Thanksgiving

It’s time for church, everyone!
Happy July 11th
Birthday to our
Beloved Pastor!
(It is never too late to

This beautiful young couple has been married 65 years!
Meeting and Greeting

We were privileged to have our District Superintendent, Sandra Johnson,
and her husband worship with us Sunday!

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in God’s holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek the Lord,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
~Psalm 24:3-6

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.
And now let the weak say, “I am strong.”
Let the poor say, “I am rich,
Because of what the Lord has done for us.”
Give thanks.
~Don Moen

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
~Fanny J. Crosby, 1873

Give us clean hands, Lord;
Give us pure hearts.
Let us go from here as a people who give thanks,
as a people who give back,
as a people who give forward,
a people who model the generosity of our God
who has given everything for us . . .

FUMC Youth
Overnight Lock In
Wednesday, July 25, 6:30 PM
Tankersley Hall

REZ 2019 Coming to Pigeon Forge TN
January 25-26-27
It is time to start gearing up! Last year was phenomenal.
This year will be, also!
Registrations paid by August 30 are $50.00.
Thereafter, the price increases as the date of the event draws closer.
Our cabin sleeps only twelve, so don’t delay! See John Mack for more
information and/or to sign up.

What a Fun Time Was Had By All at the
Church Cook Out

We have many photos of those who planned, prepared and participated in
FUMC’s Cook Out.Thank you to everyone who was a part of this event!
An awesome God, heartfelt worship, wonderful people, beautiful weather, deliciously prepared food – (and even a water balloon or two!) made our Unity Sunday a very
special occasion. We were especially blessed to welcome friends and guests
into this time of fellowship!
Dow, I do believe that was the best hotdog I have ever eaten!
Enjoy the pictures! (A special thank-you to those who shared photos!)
After perusing the photos, check out the recipes for
Carol Taylor’s Pimento Mac and Cheese and
Karoline Berg’s German Potato Salad.Yum!!

Pimento Mac and Cheese 
(Carol Taylor’s delicious Cook Out dish; recipe from Cook’s Country)
1 pound elbow macaroni
salt and pepper
3 T unsalted butter
2 T all-purpose flour
1 T dry mustard
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (4 cups)
2 oz. cream cheese
2 T Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
3 (4 ounce) jars pimentos, drained, patted dry, and minced
Heat oven to 375.
Bring 4 quarts of water to boil. Add macaroni and 1 T salt and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add butter to now empty pot and melt over medium high heat. Stir in flour, mustard, 3/4 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until mixture is fragrant and bubbling, about 30 seconds.
Slowly whisk in milk and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 2 minutes, whisking frequently.
Remove pot from heat. Add 3 cups cheddar, cream cheese, hot sauce and Worcestershire to sauce and whisk until cheese is melted. Add pimentos and macaroni and stir until macaroni is thoroughly coated in sauce.
Transfer to 13 X 9 inch baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheddar. Bake until edges are lightly browned and filling is bubbling, 18-20 minutes.
Let rest for 20 minutes. Serve
To make ahead:
Fully assembled casserole can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, remove plastic and bake until heated through, 40-45 minutes.
Notes: I used 1 % milk, sharp cheddar cheese and 7 oz. of pimentos. I was concerned the pimentos would be overpowering if I used what it called for in the recipe.

A Request from Karoline
Are you Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?
Have ye had yer Lucky Charms?
Would you save your large empty cereal boxes (of any variety)
and bring them to Karoline?
She needs them for her school classroom.
Thank you!

Dinner for 8 Group Enjoys Lovely Evening
Here is our “dinner for eight” group at GastHaus Edelweiss in Weber City last Saturday. We had a fantastic time and ate a wonderful German meal. Ingrid hosted us with her grand-daughter Miriam. We listened to stories of how she met her husband Eddie in Berlin and how they came to Southwestern Virginia. (Kathy Wagner also worked with Eddie at Eastman). Next we will be feasting on seafood at the “Captain’s Table “ in Hampton. John
Annual Conference Gave $110,191 to Assist
Our Sudanese Brothers and Sisters in Exile

During the 2018 session in June, the Annual Conference gave a missions offering of $110,191 to continue providing shelter and education for “Our South Sudanese Brothers and Sisters in Exile.” An additional offering of $61,335 was received for the Change for Children, a fund distributed annually to aid children’s ministries in Africa and Holston communities.
The annual Hands-on Mission Project concluded as Bishop Taylor blessed four trucks packed with 8,586 health kits collected by local churches, valued at $215,681, and bound for Africa. The food, health, home and school supplies will support children at the Ishe Anesu Project in Zimbabwe and United Methodist schools in Liberia.

The First Ever Clinch Mountain District Conference
Sunday, September 23, 2018
3:00 p.m.
More information tba.

2018-2019 Holston Conference Handbook/Directories are now available.
Cost is $!5.00 each.
2019 Holston Conference Program Calendars are available.
Cost is $9.00 each.
Please contact Carol in the church office if you are interested
in obtaining one of these publications.
Order Deadline: Monday, September 10.

How Can I Help Immigrant and
Refugee Families?

For some of us, the events may be far removed, but there are ways for all of us to help bring families back together–or to at least share some compassion with those who are suffering from separation and despair.
What is the UMC’s Official Position
on Immigrant and Refugee Policies?

“We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, health care, education, and freedom from social discrimination. We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all. We oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children, and we call on local churches to be in ministry with immigrant families.” [2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline, Social Principles ¶162.H]
Matching Funds Available for Bays Mountain Camp
through July 31

There are matching Bays Mountain Camp funds available. Someone is going to donate $25,000 if the Camp can receive $25,000 from individual donors by the end of their Camp season which is July 31!
Individuals can make a check payable to Camp Bays Mountain & mark it “MATCH” in the memo line.
Mail to: Camp Bays Mountain, P O Box 3706, Kingsport, TN 37664.
OR if the church wants 5 Star credit do the following:
Record amount on the tithe form and mark #101 – Camp Development Funds.
An email or note needs to be sent to Mary Boehms ( at the Camp stating the name of the donor and the amount that is being sent to the conference office. If mailing a note send to Camp Bays Mountain, ATTN: Mary Boehms, PO Box 3706, Kingsport, TN 37664.

Send Your Pictures and Announcements
to Publish in the Newsletter

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 July 19 – July 25, 2018
Thursday, July 19
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room
6:30pm-Girl Scouts-TH
Friday, July 20
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, July 21
  9:00am-The Quilters Guild (until noon)-TH
Sunday, July 22
  9:30am-The River Worship-TH
9:30am-Sunday School Hour
10:00am-Common Ground Service-Chapel
                            (Childcare is provided from 9:30am to 12:00pm.
                             Children may be picked up at any time.)
12:10pm-Choir Rehearsal
Monday, July 23
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, July 24
 8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group-TH
8:00am-Meals on Wheels (until 11am)-TH
Wednesday, July 25
6:30pm-Youth Event-Overnight Lock-In-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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