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First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
January 10-16, 2019
Celebrating Baptism of the Lord Sunday
January 13, 2019

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
I Love You; You Are Mine
Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor’s Pen
We have come around again to the time of year when we submit to our District Office our annual statistical reports. I’m more thankful than I can say for the work of Carol Johnson and Sue Dietz in completing them in full and in a timely manner. Everything was in order and clear and correct, so the majority of the fifteen minutes I spent in the office in Abingdon was in conversation about ministry and the inefficiencies of these reports we submit.
Here’s how it works:
The Holston Conference office sends revised statistical tables (blank year-end reports) to the District Offices, who push them on to local pastors. This year, that meant that we grabbed our respective envelope full of papers at our year-end consultation. Well, that’s what I did. I don’t know what my colleagues are doing who are just now having their consultations.
Some years, the system is so efficient that I can receive the papers by email or pull them off the District or Conference website; and in our best moments, we can open the reports on the computer and edit them right there. That didn’t pan out this year.
Once I remembered that I had the reports (Advent and Winter Break are a bit rough on my remembering of deadlines), I handed them to our Queen of Organizing and Knowing How Things Get Done, Sue Dietz. She and Carol finished those reports in a fraction of the time it has taken me in other appointments to pull together information no one remembers or knows how to locate.
In less than a week, I had the reports back to the District Office.
But here is where the process gets hairy.
Monika Surcey, our Clinch Mountain District Administrative Assistant, has to take every report from every church and manually input every data point into our antiquated and cantankerous Conference database. If I’m counting correctly, that’s 110 data points for each of the 111 churches in our district.
She has to do the same thing with our Charge Conference paperwork every Autumn.
It is a very inefficient system.
We just ended a season marked by the proclamation of Isaiah and John the Baptist:
   “Prepare the way for the Lord;
       make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled,
   and every mountain and hill will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight
   and the rough places made smooth.
All humanity will see God’s salvation.”
Everything we do as God’s Church ought to be focused on making the way of Messiah and the way to Messiah more efficient, easier to travel. Even in our ecclesial administration, when we add to the complexity of the life of the Body of Christ, we build on frustrations with the Church and with organized religion as a whole that are centuries in the making.

I want to encourage us, as a church and as individuals, to do everything we can to ensure that every stumbling block, every impediment, every unnecessary thing is swept away so that the only barrier in our disciple-making is the barrier of self-will keeping people from heeding the call of Jesus.
I mean, isn’t that a difficult enough struggle on its own?
Let’s make everything we do gracious and beautiful and loving and easy to step into. Let’s see what we can do to welcome our friends and neighbors, to break down the walls that divide us, to fill every valley and level every mountain and straighten every nauseatingly curvy and pothole-ridden way of doing things.
Let’s make First UMC, Bristol, a family and a place that’s uniquely and beautifully welcoming; where everyone who encounters every one of us can see that God is doing something miraculous here.
I think we’re on the right track. I think we’re seeing the fruits of God’s Spirit begin to appear. Thanks to all of you who are part of that. Let’s keep it up and keep making it better.
We are making a difference. We are making disciples for the transformation of God’s world. We are bringing the Kingdom of Heaven right now.
Let’s keep at it.

Feed the Hungry Offering
Our Feed the Hungry offering today 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.

In Loving Memory
We share loving memories of our Friend and Sister in Christ,
Jimmy Sargent Bowen,
who went to be with our Lord on December 16, 2018.
She is survived by her son, Dr. Dale Sargent and wife Joneen;
two grandchildren, Millie Hines and husband Tim, and Maxwell Sargent;
two great grandchildren, Andrew and Emmett; one brother,
Darryl Dunn and wife Susie; and several nieces and nephews.
We extend our love and deepest sympathy to Jimmy’s Family.

The Church Gratefully Acknowledges these Gifts to the Memorial Fund
in Memory of
Jimmy Sargent Bowen
Given by

WMA Hospitalists
Martin and Marilyn Gabriel
Robert and Helen Barrett
Karen and David Whiting
Dale and Joneen Sargent
Mary Jo Hana

First UMC Extends Our Love and Sympathy to
Tom and Donna Felty and family in the
passing of Donna’s mother, Mrs. Dorothy Hackley.

Dorothy Tilson Smith Hackley, 95, passed away on Sunday, January 6, 2019, at NHC of Bristol. She was a loving and treasured mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. The funeral Mass will be conducted at 12 p.m. Thursday, January 10, 2019, at St. Anne Catholic Church, with the Rev. Chris Hess officiating. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. prior to the funeral Mass at St. Anne Catholic Church. Entombment will follow in St. Anne Catholic Church Mausoleum. Mrs. Hackley’s grandsons will serve as pallbearers. There will be an Honor Guard from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, where Mrs. Hackley’s grandson serves as sheriff. Those desiring may send memorial donations to St. Anne Catholic Church, 350 Euclid Ave., Bristol, VA 24201. Condolences and memories may be left for the family at Akard Funeral Home, (423) 989-4800, is serving the family of Mrs. Hackley.
In Worship Last Sunday We Celebrated Epiphany.
Your Light Has Come
Matthew 2:1-12

Arise! Shine! Your light has come;
the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.
Though darkness covers the covers the earth
and gloom the nations,
the Lord will shine upon you;
God’s glory will appear over you.
Nations will come to your light
and kings to your dawning radiance.
Isaiah 60:1-2

The Spanglers have welcomed a beautiful new baby boy
into their family.

Jennifer Graybeal is FUMC’s SPR Chair for 2019.
Sue Dietz is our 2019 Lay Leader.
From the eastern country came the kings afar,
bearing gifts to Bethlehem, guided by a star.
Sing we Noel, the King is born, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas, sing we now Noel!
~Traditional French carol

During Children’s Time, Mr. Mike taught us about the practice of inviting
God’s blessings on our homes by writing the year and the Latin words,
Christus mansionem benedicat “May Christ bless this house”
above the door. The numbers and letters appear in this way:
20 + C + M + B + 19.

Behold! Seekers of peace and justice
are winding their way back to God today.
Open our doors, Lord,
to give your children a safe home to return to.

Asking God to Bless Our Homes
Bless this house, O Lord we pray; Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout, Keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimney tall; Let thy peace lie over all;
Bless this door that it may prove ever open to joy and love.
Bless these windows shining bright, letting in God’s heavenly light.
Bless the hearth a-blazing there with smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within; Keep them pure and fee from sin.
Bless us all that we may be fit, O Lord, to dwell with Thee;
Bless us all that one day we may dwell, O Lord, with Thee.

Beautiful New Bundles of Joy Born Into
First UMC Families

Charlotte Grayce Hobbs
Granddaughter of Jim and Brenda Hobbs

Charlotte Lile Basham
Great Granddaughter of Russell and Beverly Basham

Nelan Allen Spangler
Son of Josh and Alexis Spangler
Grandson of Randy and Susan Spangler
Great Grandson of Peggy Spangler

In Children’s Worship Last Week . . .
What happens when God gives a gift to the whole world? He puts a special star in the sky to announce it. What happens when you are a wise man, woman or child that follows that star? You find Jesus is the most wonderful gift ever given. 
Were there kings the night he was born? Did they show up at the barn? Why are they in all our nativity scenes? We celebrated Epiphany. We understand. We have had an epiphany. I hope we all celebrated by chalking our doors. May Christ bless our homes, our church and our lives..  

Renewing waters: How United Methodists
understand baptism

In January, we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord. How much do you know about
the United Methodist understanding of the sacrament? This is a perfect time
to reflect on the meaning of our vow and this gift of grace.
~From United Methodist Now

Celebrating Christmas at Sunhouse
Members of FUMC had our annual Christmas party at Sunhouse.
We have received a lovely thank-you card signed by each of the residents
of Sunhouse which is posted on the bulletin board in the church foyer.


Join us Wednesday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Tankersley Hall.
Sunday School every week at 9:30 a.m.

BeTween Bible Study (Grades 5 and 6)

Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

The Fellowship Group will begin another study soon on Wednesday evenings
at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome! Stay tuned for details . . .

From the Finance Committee:
Account Balance as of December 30
Ending Balance for 2018
This balance follows us into 2019. We need your ideas on what to do.
We will leave the envelopes out for a few weeks. You can find those in the narthex entries.
Many pledges have not been received at this time. We use these to help plan our spending for the year. 
if you plan to pledge this year!

Benefit Concert for Basketball Coach, Jon Odum
Got Junque?
Before we know it, it will be time for FUMC’s Annual Indoor Spring Yard Sale.
It is not too early to begin bringing your sale items to the church. They can be stored here until time for the sale.

reception to follow

For further details and information regarding the wedding weekend and to RSVP, please visit: Access code: nashville2019
Shepherds Needed
contact Alan Gorrell
Alan has placed a Sample Binder on the table in the foyer which contains
information about this ministry.

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
January 10-16, 2019
Thursday, January 10
9:30am-Help for Haiti-Library
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-Yoga Studio
6:30pm-Mankind Project-Youth Room
Friday, January 11
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
5:30pm-Girl Scouts-TH
 6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, January 12
Sunday, January 13
9:30am-The River Contemporary Worship Service-TH
9:30am-Sunday School Hour
10:00am-Common Ground Service-Chapel
11:00am-Traditional Worship Service-Sanctuary
12:15pm-Choir Rehearsal
Monday, January 14
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, January 15
 8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group
Wednesday, January 16
6:30pm-BeTween-Upper Room
            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