The latest news for you – Dec 12

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule

December 5-11, 2019

Third Sunday of Advent

December 15, 2019

A Service of Lessons and Carols

Phil Haga and the Chancel Choir

From the Pastor's Pen
I’m the kind of nerd who checks Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day. I don’t often use it after I’ve checked it; I usually forget about it a few minutes later in the busyness of getting everybody out the door. It’s a little piece of entertainment for the morning, though, especially the brief write-up the editors add for a bit of etymological or evolutionary background on the word.

Today’s word has me thinking about trips we used to take to see Karoline’s family in southern Michigan. For a few years, they held on to a tradition of gathering on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant time to be in that area between Ann Arbor and Detroit, though. Late December is very cold, but not so deep into winter that there is an accountable bit of snow to play in. It’s just cold and snowy enough to be slushy.

Sodden is what everything becomes when we attempt to travel from the car to the front door.

Sodden is what attitudes can become when everything outside is colored in shades of grey.

How do we get through this grey, cold time?

Well, the Berg family has shifted our annual trip to Michigan to Summer. That helps a bit.

But as the daylight shortens and the vibrant colors of Summer and Autumn fade, as the cold drives most of us to spend more time cloistered inside, how do we maintain a vibrancy of spirit and avoid grief-laden and bitter attitudes?

It won’t happen accidentally.

It also won’t happen if we simply try to ignore the heaviness of this season.

I encourage us to recognize what makes days heavier and more difficult to bear. Name those things. Call them exactly what they are. Especially if they come from a place of loss and grief, recognize what is lost and what you grieve.

There is a reason we grieve. What we experience is the loss of something important or dear to us. We care about it. We treasure it, whether it’s a job, a relationship, or a thing.

We care.

That’s something worth hanging on to.

It’s easy to fall into cynicism and an I-don’t-care attitude, but it’s far more worthwhile and healthy to open our hearts and let ourselves be endeared to each other and to all the gifts God has given to us. Of course they’ll pass; so will we. Let’s treasure each other and treasure our gifts while we have them.

Life is not given to us to be endured. Life is given to us to be enjoyed.

So this Winter, let’s dry up our sodden attitudes and let God’s Spirit fill us with joy!

This Week's Feed the Hungry Offering
Our Feed the Hungry offering this week is for Local Missions.

This mission helps members of our church family and other immediate local
mission needs.

Last Sunday at First UMC
Message by Rev. Brandon Berg
Matthew 3:1-12, Prepare the Way for Peace
During The River service,Carol Wright read the Advent liturgy,
and Robert lit the Candle of Peace.
Come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
Rebekah helped her father serve Communion.

Gathering for the Traditional Service
The poinsettia on the altar was given in loving memory of Blake Cornett's December 13 birthday by
Kathy and Larry Wagner.
The poinsettias that encircled our tree on Sunday were provided by
the UMW and were delivered during the week to First's homebound members
and others by members of the homebound team.
The Daniel-Graybeal Family read the Advent liturgy and lit the
Candle of Peace.
Phil Haga blessed us with a solo by John Peterson,
accompanied by Betty Curtis.
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.
God is preparing the way in us;
Transform us, Spirit of Change;
your reign is near to us today.

Help Meet a Need

Our Clinch Mountain 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.

We also have a family in the church who needs a set of Queen-sized sheets and pillowcases. If you would like to donate a set, would you bring them to the church office? We will see that they are given to the appropriate person.
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!
Annual Sunhouse Christmas Party
A Joyful Event
We brought and shared lunch.
Pastor Brandon read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas–with lots of expression!
Our very own Dale Dietz, in his debut as Santa, was quite popular
with the residents. He had lots of gifts in his knapsack for them.
THANK YOU to everyone who participated in making the Christmas party for the residents of Sunhouse a happy, celebratory occasion!.
A Change of Venue for Group of "Eight"
The next Group of "Eight" gathering will be Saturday, December 14 at noon
at The Mad Greek restaurant in Bristol, TN

The location has changed due to ETSU graduation taking place in
Johnson City this Saturday.
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!

Sunday School and The River Service will not meet.
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.

Wednesday Advent Luncheon Series

All Are Welcome

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

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

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.

UPDATE: $1270 has been received for the $10,000 challenge.
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.

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 12 – 18, 2019
Thursday, December 12
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room
6:30pm-Mankind Project-Youth Room

Friday, December 13
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio

Saturday, December 14
12:00pm-Group of "Eight"-The Mad Greek Restaurant

Sunday, December 15
10:00am-Common Ground Worship-Chapel
11:00am-A Service of Lessons and Carols-Sanctuary
12:00pm-Christmas Luncheon-Tankersley Hall
Monday, December 16
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, December 17
8:00am-Men's Prayer Group-Tankersley Hall
Wednesday, December 18
12:00pm-Advent Luncheon-South Bristol 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