The latest news for you

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
April 25 – May 1, 2019
Second Sunday of Easter
April 28, 2019

The Incredulity of St.Thomas by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
John 20:19-31
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor’s Pen
A couple weeks ago, I dug out a box that hasn’t been opened in several moves, maybe not since Karoline and I have been married. What prompted me to dig it out was Noah’s recent interest in Scouting. The box is labeled, “Brandon’s Scout Stuff.”
Part of me, I suppose, was looking for a way to connect to the kid, who is teenaging more quickly than makes me comfortable.
I mean, I remember what I was like as a teen.
There was also a part of me wondering if my BSA stuff might be of any use to him, or if it might fit him.
I pulled the old pants out of the box, and was surprised how large they looked. I couldn’t find a size listed anywhere. I wasn’t really interested in trying them on.
I pulled the shirt out and discovered that it was a tent.
I forgot that, even in high school, I was hiding under baggy clothes. I thought I started that in college. I still have some XL tees that haven’t gotten so worn out that I have to dispose of them.
I came across an image this morning that made me think of that old Scout uniform in a slightly different way.

Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber are two of my favorite authors and preachers. They exude confidence and inspiration, but they present and express themselves very differently.
And that’s how it should be.
God has brought them to where they are from very different directions, and the way they present themselves is a reflection of their journey.
Even in the tight circle of United Methodist clergy, we express ourselves in a pretty wide variety; from clerical collars to bowties, jeans to sundresses, crisp grammar and polos to fragmented phrases and sport coats.
We are who we are, and we got here on a long and often winding road. I’m often tempted to discount someone because of their particular presentation of themselves, and I recognize mostly too late the snobbery that inspires my judgment.
Silly Brandon, you’re just a little clay pot with some God Breath puffed in.
I’d like to not hide behind snobbery any more. I’d like to not hide behind XL when I’m really just an S. I’d like to not hide at all.
I am, after all, exactly what God made me to be.
And I’m working on becoming the best version of that, with God’s help.
I hope you’re working on that, too, because you are exactly what God intends you to be. Be that. Be you. Be the beautiful image of your Creator.
There’s nothing you can do better than to be just that.
p.s. Pray for Rachel Held Evans, who was hospitalized April 19th for constant seizures and is currently in a medically-induced coma. Her husband, Dan, is providing updates on her blog.

Feed the Hungry Offering
This week’s “Feed the Hungry” Offering will go to Local School Missions.
This fund helps families in need within the Bristol School System.

Clinch Mountain Mission Project
School Kits for Liberia
District Goal – 400 Kits

Sunday May 26th
is the last drop-off date
for School Kits.
Thanks to Ron Schoenhardt for
tips on where to shop.
What happens to the kits after they are turned in?
Stay tuned for more information!

27th Annual Letter Carriers
Food Drive
Saturday, May 11th, 2019
Place a bag of non-perishable food by your mailbox.
All food collected benefits our local community.
Check back in next week’s newsletter
for specific instructions.

In Worship Last Sunday
John 20:1-18
Christ Is Risen!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
This is the message that began in Galilee,
spread throughout Judea,
and brought fullness of life into all the world;
Alleluia! We are witnesses!
We are witnesses of healing,
of peace,
of power,
of lovingkindness that can only come from Jesus;
Alleluia! We are witnesses!
Go, and share the good news of resurrection
of the One who speaks your name,
the One who sets you free,
the One who is Three,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Our Church Family and Friends at Easter
We Enjoyed a Delicious Easter Brunch
A special Thank You to Gary and Joe, who hosted this lovely event.
It Was Quite an Egg Hunt!
A huge Thank You to our Youth who hid the eggs for the children. Well done! A very special Thank You to Ms. Suzanne and the Children’s Department for coordinating the Children’s Egg Hunt and preparing the eggs. And, finally a big thank you to everyone who brought candy and treats to put inside the eggs.
A Note From the Children’s Director . . .
Wasn’t Easter Sunday wonderful?! I don’t know what happened on your pew, but we had some real “God moments” on ours. I was personally blessed by the opportunity to worship with Travis and D.J. The responses I have gotten from people is that they so enjoyed the children in worship and would like to opportunity to sit with our children and explore Godly and worshipful pay with them.  
I hope you also can bear witness to the power of an inclusive, loving household of faith. The nature of Christianity is such that it thrives in community and dies in isolation. Please join me in reaching out to our visitors and our children, welcoming them and surrounding them in love so that they can come to the sure knowledge that they are spoken to – like Mary – by name. 
Open the eyes of their hearts, Lord. Let them see you in all we do. Help them feel your presence. 
Talk to your children about your relationship with God. Worship with them. Make it a priority. They are hungry for it. 
This is my eyewitness account of the Risen Jesus from my pew on Sunday:
Two rowdy boys are swaying to a praise song, their eyes almost closed.
The boys explore a comic book version of the scripture, reading the text and watching the story unfold. I realize they are attentive and learning when Travis responds to Brandon’s question, When was the first time God spoke to you? with his own question to me,
“Oma, does God talk to you?”  
“Sometimes when I pray. Sometimes when he whispers in my ear and asks
me to do something for him. Does he talk to you, Travis?”
“When I sleep.”
“That is wonderful! I am glad.”
Jesus is alive! He came to my pew! He spoke to us by name! We heard his voice!  
~Suzanne Goyette

Fellowship Class will meet on Wednesday, May 1, 5:30 p.m. in the Church Library.
Bring a snack to share.

For the Youth
Be Surprised
Wednesday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. in Tankersley Hall

Volunteer Sound Tech Needed
With multiple members of the Sound Team moving away, we need YOU to help
run sound and record sermons on Sundays for Traditional Worship.
Experience helpful, but not required — if you can turn on a computer, we can teach you the rest.
This is the Committee with Zero Scheduled Meetings! Team members usually
only run sound one or two times per month. See Andrew or Rebekah McGrady
for more info.

Church Financial Report for March 2019
The General Budget balance will be posted as quickly
as possible following the end of each month.This gives
the most accurate picture of the financial status for
First UMC.

    March 31 Balance (-)$9,384.20

Bristol Sings!
An evening of music benefiting Bristol Faith in Action
April 27, 2019 at 7:00 PM
State Street United Methodist Church
Suggested donation $10

Light and Lively Concert at First UMC Bristol
Friday, May 10
7:30 pm
With Joy Smith-Briggs, Organist
and Tim Landis, Soloist

Invite friends, neighbors and relatives
Admission is by donation.

John Wesley United Methodist Church
311 Lee Street, Bristol, Virginia
Reverend Dr. Robert Kariuki, Pastor

“A Time to Recharge”
Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.
Guest Speaker
Reverend Dr. William Ward
Hood Memorial AME Zion Church
612 5th Street, Bristol, TN
Music from various choirs and musicians
Come and Be Blessed
All Are Welcome

Be a Shepherd.

Spring Yard Sale
May 31 and June 1

Items may be stored at the church until time for the sale.
Storage space is available in Tankersley Hall on the right side of
the stage, as you are facing it.

Worship and Picnic at Sugar Hollow State Park Sunday, June 2
First United Methodist Church will hold a Sunday morning joint worship service and
picnic afterward at Sugar Hollow State Park. More details will follow . . .

Holston Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska
June 9-12

Pre-Conference Briefing May 19, 3:00 p.m., Lebanon Memorial UMC
Camp Bays Mountain Summer Camp
To register, go to and click on the Summer Camp tab.
Travel to the Holy Land
Tour of the Holy Land, Greece, and Rome. 
There is a $300 per person deposit upon registration.
The final payment deadline is May 30, 2019.

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
April 25 – May 1, 2019
Thursday, April 25
10:00am-Bristol Missional Hub-Library
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean – The Upper Room
6:30pm-Mankind Project-Youth Room
Friday, April 26
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, April 27
Sunday, April 28
9:30am-The River-Tankersley Hall
9:30am-Sunday School
10:00am-Common Ground Worship-Chapel
11:00am-Traditional Worship-Sanctuary
12:15pm-Choir Rehearsal-Choir Room
Monday, April 29
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, April 30
 8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group-TH
Wednesday, May 1
5:30pm-Fellowship Class-Library
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