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First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
 August 23-29, 2018
August 26, 2018
Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

John 6:56-69
Bread that Satisfies
Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
I think it came as a surprise to no one that attendance was down a bit this past Sunday. Some folks (the Bergs included) left town to escape the mad rush of August race traffic. Some folks just didn’t leave the house.
I had been warned that would happen, but it’s still a little unsettling to see our worship spaces so empty.
What unsettles me more, though, is that I find low attendance on Sunday morning unsettling.
Sure, it’s our primary means of grace during the week. It’s the big event that draws us all together, but it’s not what defines us, and that’s something fundamental to my theology that I try to proclaim.
What defines us as a fruitful church isn’t our worship. What defines us as a fruitful church is what our worship and our faith inspire us to do.
Looking at my calendar, I’m a lot less unsettled than I am looking out over the empty sanctuary.
Hearing stories of lives transformed and blessed, I’m a lot less unsettled than I am hearing the paucity of voices singing our old songs on Sunday morning.
Seeing the excitement in each others’ eyes as we gather to do the missional work of the Church during the week, I’m a lot less unsettled than I am when a couple of you nod off during the sermon (yup, I saw that).
Formal worship together is only one part of what demonstrates our fruitfulness. Lots of churches gather on Sunday mornings, but they have nothing whatsoever happening either together or individually that bears fruit for God’s Kin-dom. Jesus says that “those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned” (John 15:6b). That’s a process we’re seeing today. God is using the outcast of the Church, the anathematized, the ostracized, the nones and the dones to exercise judgment on fruitless churches and nominal Christians.
I thank God that First, Bristol, is a church that is actively flowering and growing plump, juicy fruit for God’s kin-dom. I thank God for our folk who give of their gifts and their time to support our missional work. I thank God for our folk who put their hands to work to build God’s children up. I thank God for our folk who go out into our community to seek out and encourage God’s children who have been pushed into the shadows and into the margins of society.
You are the fruit of the family of God, breaking heavenly glory into a creation that humanity has spent millennia destroying.
You are what gives me hope. You are what gives me joy.
Folks, if you’re not one of those saints busying your hands with the mission of Christ, and especially if you’re busy bemoaning all those empty seats around you on a Sunday morning, it’s about time to wake up and do something about it. You’re actively starving yourself of God’s vitality. Stop choking your own vine and let God’s Spirit flow wildly through you, out of control, plumping up those dried fruits of yours. And don’t be selfish with them, but let your neighbor pick them. They’ll grow back; I promise. That’s what God’s fruit does. The more it’s harvested, the more will grow back.
Don’t stress and worry about the empty seats and the low coffers. God will take care of those if we take the opportunity God is giving us to go bear fruit in the world.
God has great things in store for us. God has great things in store for Bristol. God is just waiting for us to open ourselves to the Spirit. God is going to pour power through us in ways that will amaze us.
People are going to notice. That’s not why we should do it, but it’s bound to happen. And they’ll get on board, too. And more people will bear fruit. And more of God’s glory will break through. And as relationships form and lives are healed and transformed, the family of God will gradually come together, and the Kin-dom of God will become a glorious reality.
Nope. I’m not unsettled about attendance. I’m excited about letting God’s Spirit loose.
It’s going to be fantastic!

Feed the Hungry Offering
Our “Feed the Hungry” offering this week is for Local School Missions.
This fund helps families in need within the Bristol School System.

Ongoing & Upcoming
Mission Opportunities:
Food collection for Bristol Faith in Action
Place non-perishable food items in collection bin in narthex through September 30th
Thank you to the many who have already contributed!
Hospice Lunch Week Food Donation-
September 4th-7th. We still need one volunteer to contribute for
Wednesday, the 5th. Please contact Julie Blanton

Last Sunday
John 6:51-58
Bread that Lives

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing God’s power and God’s love;
our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavillioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
~Robert Grant, 1833

The Lord sent redemption to his people
and has commanded his covenant for ever.
Holy and wondrous is God’s name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
The praise of the Lord endures for ever.
~Psalm 111:9-10

Teach me to feel that thou art always nigh;
teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
~George Croly, 1867

Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain.
My guilt and despair 
Jesus took on Him there, 
And Calvary covers it all.
~Mrs Walter G. Taylor

Teach us to utter living words of truth which all may hear,
the language all may understand when love speaks loud and clear.
~Henry Tweedy, 1935

Fed with words of grace and hope,
let us go to bring the Bread of Life to our world.
(c) Thom M. Shuman

Summer Youth Gathering at
Hungry Mother State Park

Sunday, August 26
1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Hamburgers! Hotdogs! Fixings!
Bring a side dish.
Dinner will be served around 5:30 p.m.
Feel free to bring yard games and chairs.
Parking is $4/car or $25/bus
Swimming is $3/person
Paddleboats and Canoes are $8/hour

You Are Invited
Sunday, September 9

Sponsored by First United Methodist Church Youth
Where? FUMC, Tankersley Hall
When? Sunday, September 9, immediately following the 11 a.m. service
Why? To help FUMC Youth raise funds for REZ and other upcoming activities.
Please join us!!!

Five Week Book Study
Begins Wednesday, September 12
and Sunday, September 16

Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Ministry with the Forgotten by Bishop Kenneth Carder
will be offered in two sessions:
one on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 a.m. and
the other on Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the Library.

An Invitation from the Choir
Join the choir on September 23, Unity Sunday, for the 9:30 a.m. Contemplative Service followed by brunch. 
September 23 is also Rhythm and Roots Festival
Sunday in Downtown Bristol.
Come to First United Methodist Church’s early worship at
9:30 a.m. and bring a brunch dish
(the choir will provide juice and drinks).
After worshiping together, we will enjoy a time of
food and fellowship and be
ready for the final day of music downtown. 
This will be FUMC’s only worship service on September 23. 

For Anyone Interested in the Arts . . .
Come and Join Us!
The Faith and Arts Committee would like your input on upcoming projects. An organizational meeting will be held soon. Just let Mary Jane Bradbury
or Julie Blanton know.

  • Is your congregation seeking new people but unsure about how to attract them?
  • Are you wondering: “How do we develop relationship with unchurched people?”
  • How do I share my own story or experience of Jesus with others?
  • How can my church build a culture of invitation?
  • How do we know if we as a church are ready to receive those we invite?
2018 Holston Evangelism Conference
State Street UMC
Sunday November 4
2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Cost $10.00 at the door.
Books available for purchase on site.
Childcare provided.
Sponsored by the Holston Conference Witness Team and Discipleship Teams.

Youth Conference
REZ 2019
Pigeon Forge TN
January 25-26-27
Registrations paid by
August 30 are $50.00.
Our cabin sleeps twelve.
See John Mack to sign up.

It is Time to Enroll or Re-Enroll in the
Kroger Community Partnership Program

Several FUMC families participate in Kroger’s Community Rewards Program, attaching their
Kroger card to the church so that a portion of their sales comes to the church.
If you shop at Krogers and are not already participating, you may wish to sign up for this
free-to-the-shopper benefit to our church. (We receive approximately $90.00 each quarter.)
We have a new organization number: BE100
How to Enroll:
  • Go to
  • Create an account (if you do not already have one)
  • Sign in
  • Choose “My Account”
  • Scroll to Community Rewards; Enroll
  • Search for First United Methodist Church
  • Select the one in Bristol, or
  • Search by organization number, which is BE100
Youth went on a Labyrinth Prayer Walk August 8
Worship in Children’s Church Last Week
The girls helped Ms. Suzanne find the crab in the fish tank.
Ms. Suzanne told us about the Woman at the Well from John 4.
She explained that Jesus broke rules by talking to a woman.
It was especially against the rules
for a Jewish man to speak to a Samaritan woman.

Ms. Suzanne showed us how to draw water from a glass using a straw.
It works, but we couldn’t draw much water at a time.

We made wells to help us remember the lesson of
the woman at the well.

The matching grant for Camp Bays Mountain has been
increased to $40,000 and the deadline extended to Labor Day!  
Don’t let the window of opportunity to doubly bless this ministry
close without your gift.

Send Your Pictures and Announcements
to Publish in the Newsletter

Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
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 August 23 – August 29, 2018
Thursday, August 23
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-Yoga Studio
6:30pm-Mankind Project-Youth Room
Friday, August 24
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, August 25
Sunday, August 26
  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
1:00pm-Summer Youth Gathering at Hungry Mother Park
Monday, August 27
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, August 28
8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group-TH
8:00am-Meals on Wheels (until 11am)-Kitchen/TH
6:00pm-Reading Buddies Orientation-TH
7:00pm-Martha Circle-Home of Suzanne Rollins
Wednesday, August 29
9:30am-Help for Haiti Meeting-Library
            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