Latest News – Dec 5-11

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule

December 5-11, 2019

Second Sunday of Advent

December 8, 2019
Saint John the Baptist and the Pharisees by James Tissot (French, 1836-1902)

Matthew 3:1-12

Prepare the Way for Peace

Rev. Brandon Berg
From the Pastor's Pen
These are busy days. Thanksgiving with its rush of decorating and cooking and traveling has passed, but now is the season of gatherings and parties and shopping and more cooking and more travel. There isn’t really a chance to breathe until December is over.

In the midst of all the rush, before you become weary of Bing Crosby and the Christmas Donkey, take a moment to turn everything off and remember the center and source of these celebrations.

I’m not arguing that we keep Christ in Christmas, by the way. You can’t actually take Christ out of Christmas, even if you abbreviate it XMas, since the X is the Greek chi which is the first letter of Christ. You can’t take Christ out of Christmas because Christ is Emmanuel, God with Us.

What I’m inviting you to do is pause, refocus (or just unfocus), and remember that name.


God Is with Us.

That’s why we celebrate. In one focused, intentional historical moment, God chose to bring all of Godself into a tiny, vulnerable little mass of blood and bone.

We celebrate because God Is with Us.

So when you get overwhelmed this season, pause. Turn your attention away from the busyness. Turn your attention to God inside and all around you.

God Is with Us.


This Week's Feed the Hungry Offering
Our Feed the Hungry offering this week is for Recovery Road.

Bristol Recovery Road for Women, Inc. is a faith based recovery program for women
who have been released from jail, providing them a safe and healthy place to live, job training, and other basic needs until they are back on their feet again.

Last Sunday at First UMC
Message by Rev. Brandon Berg
Matthew 24:36-44, Prepare the Way for Hope
During The River Service,the Rollins Family read the Advent Liturgy
and Lit the Candle of Hope.
Come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
And at the Traditional Service, the Berg sisters shared the Advent Liturgy . . .

and lit the Candle of Hope.
We may not know when, but we will go,
to bring God's grace to our broken world.
We may know know who, yet we will go,
to receive Jesus' hope from those
we are uncomfortable being around.
We may not know how, so we will go,
to share the Spirit's peace
in the most unusual places.
~Thom M. Shuman
Hard at Work
Tom Felty and Alan Hale – two men who often can be found at First UMC making repairs and taking care of our facility. Today they replaced the knob on the Chapel door.
Help Meet a Need

Our District Office alerted us that The Elk Garden School Community Ministry has an immediate need for these items:

  • Pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Ravioli
  • Toilet paper
  • Canned chicken

We can help meet this need. Please add an extra item or two to your grocery cart whenever you shop. A bin will be placed in the narthex through the end of December to collect these items.
First UMC Homebound Christmas Card List 2019
Copies of the 2019 Homebound Christmas Card List will be available outside both The River
and Traditional services on Sunday morning. Be sure to get one!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
How Lovely Are Your Branches!
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came Monday to help set up and decorate our beautiful tree and to Phil for his amazing confections! Special thanks also to Peggy Wilson, Sue Bryngelson, and Tom Felty who began decorating the church last week.
An Opportunity to Serve
First UMC will be serving at the Soup Kitchen during the first two weeks of December, Monday through Friday, 9:15 a.m. until finished. Take this opportunity to bless others and be blessed this Christmas season. To volunteer, contact Carol Taylor at 423.989.3574 or email
Join the Annual Christmas Party
at Sunhouse!

Saturday, December 7, 2019 at Noon

Dale Dietz premiers as Santa!
Martha Circle

Tuesday, December 10

Home of Peggy Wilson

Bring a covered dish.

We will have a gift exchange.

Advent Luncheon Series
Every Wednesday

All Are Welcome

Worship 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 11
Host Church: Hunt Memorial UMC, 824 Harmeling St. Bristol, VA
Preaching: Rev. Roy Hull of State Street UMC

Wednesday, December 18
Host Church: South Bristol UMC, 1809 Southside Ave., Bristol, TN
Preaching: Rev. Jane Taylor, Clinch Mountain District Superintendent

Next Group of "Eight" Outing Set

The next Group of "Eight" gathering
will be Saturday, December 14 at noon at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Johnson City.
A Service of Lessons and Carols
December 15, 2019
11:00 a.m.
On December 15, Phil Haga and the Chancel Choir will lead the church in a
service of worship through music and scripture. Join in as we prepare our
hearts for Advent. Come, let us adore Him, Christ, our Lord!
Immediately following the service of Lessons and Carols, join us in Tankersley Hall for our

Annual Christmas Luncheon

Sponsored by the United Methodist Women

Meat, bread and drinks will be provided

Please bring your favorite salad, vegetable, or dessert.
UM Community Choir Christmas Concert
The United Methodist Community Choir
composed of members from six Bristol area United Methodist Churches
will present a benefit Christmas concert at
Anderson Street United Methodist Church
954 Anderson Street, Bristol, TN
on Sunday afternoon December 15 at 4:00 p.m.
Admission is free, but a love offering for Good News Jail and Prison Ministries will be collected. Please help support this great cause.
The season spanning Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time of memory-making and reuniting with family and friends. When we are struck by loss, though, those memories can become the deep wounds of grief, and the holiday season can become a dark time. We want to mark that time together and help each other through.

On Sunday, December 22, First UMC will host a Blue Christmas service to honor and commemorate the losses we feel so keenly during the darkening days of Autumn and Winter. We will gather at 6:00 p.m. to sing, pray, and remember. If your grief is deep this season, come and find healing. If your heart is lighter, come help your neighbor through their dark time.

We hope you will make time to come together on the last Sunday of Advent for a service of Blue Christmas.
A Service of
Holy Communion and Candlelight

December 24 at 6:00 p.m.
Monthly General Budget Report

General Account (-$34,520.73)
Designated reimbursement 3,234.20

We are spending more than we receive. That never works for any family.
The main expenses are for the operation of the building and salaries and accompanying expenses.

A pledge of $10,000 to match giving up to a total of $10,000 for the
designated accounts during the month of December has been received. This reimbursement will help to reduce the deficit of the general account.
Your 2020 Estimate of Giving to the Church
You should have received a letter from the Church Finance Committee.

If you did not receive one or have misplaced your letter, extra letters and forms are available on the table in the church foyer, or contact the church office to have one
mailed to you.

We need your estimate of giving as soon as possible to build a budget. The future of the church is in God’s hands. The budget is in ours.
All gifts are appreciated. You don’t have to be a member to help.
UMW Fundraiser
The UMW is selling knives with proceeds used for missions projects.
Think ahead for Christmas gifts.
Contact Kathy Wagner at (423) 323-5446.
Theatre Bristol presents “Miracle on 34th Street” this Christmas under the direction of Dottie Havlik, opening December 6 and running weekends through December 22 at Theatre Bristol’s ARTspace, 506 State Street, Bristol, TN, Tickets are on sale now.

Two of our First UMC members, Rebekah and Lara McGrady, are performing in this production. You won't want to miss it!
Camp Bays Mountain
Our community and local churches have a need that Camp Bays Mountain is
fulfilling. Last year forty-two campers made first time decision to follow Christ
and thirty-nine indicated a call into ministry while at summer camp.

Consider a gift to enable Camp Bays Mountain to complete its funding.
When you give to camp, you are investing in the next generation. Mail checks
to Camp Bays Mountain, PO Box 2706, Kingsport, TN 37604.
Send Your Pictures and Announcements
to Publish in the Newsletter
Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
call Carol at 423.652.2811 Tu-Th, 9-2.
For each publication, information is
needed by noon on Wednesday.
Your Church Event and Planning Calendar
December 5 – 11, 2019
Thursday, December 5
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room

Friday, December 6
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio

Saturday, December 7
12:00pm-Sunhouse Christmas Party-36 King St., Bristol, VA

Sunday, December 8
9:30am-Sunday School
9:30am-The River Contemplative Worship-Tankersley Hall
10:00am-Common Ground Worship-Chapel
11:00am-Traditional Worship Service-Sanctuary
12:15pm-Choir Rehearsal
Monday, December 9
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
6:30pm-Joint Meeting of Finance Committee & Administrative Council-Library
Tuesday, December 10
8:00am-Men's Prayer Group-Tankersley Hall
6:00pm-Martha Circle Christmas Gathering-Home of Peggy Wilson
Wednesday, December 11
12:00pm-Advent Luncheon-Hunt Memorial UMC
6:30pm-Youth Activity-Tankersley Hall

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