Latest News: December 26, 2019 – January 1 , 2020

December 26, 2019 – January 1 , 2020

First Sunday After Christmas Day

December 29, 2019
James Tissot, La fuite en Égypte

Matthew 2:13-23

Not Welcome

Rev. Brandon Berg
From the Pastor's Pen
It is a well-documented phenomenon that the Sunday church crowd is the rudest and the most stingy with gratuity at restaurants.

Don’t be part of that phenomenon. Always overtip. Even if the service is inattentive or distracted, remember a couple things:

(1) These folks work for a wage that hasn’t gone up since 1991; and
(2) Everybody has bad days. You never know what somebody has going on in their personal life, and some of that is bound to play out in their ability to interact with graciousness and generosity to you.

It is our task, as followers of Jesus, to be the example of compassion, forgiveness, and generosity to others. That’s an important thing to remember on the day that this epistle wends its way to your inbox.

Today is Boxing Day. It is December 26, the day after Christmas. Well, it’s the Second Day of Christmas, actually. Christmas is ongoing, but that’s another conversation.

It became tradition in Britain to celebrate Boxing Day on the Second Day of Christmas, a day to exercise generosity to laborers, servers, and folks generally less fortunate than perhaps we are. It has nothing to do with reboxing and returning to Walmart or Amazon all the trinkets you don’t want and the clothes that don’t fit.

Exactly where the tradition originates is uncertain. It’s somewhere around two hundred years old, but it’s a good one. It reminds us who are more fortunate that we tend to overlook quite a lot of people who are doing jobs we often scoff at for wages that are far below what they ought to be.

Now, maybe you are, in fact, in a service or labor industry and your paychecks don’t go as far as you need them to. I recognize that. I recognize that most of us are one failed paycheck away from a financial disaster.

I also recognize that there is always someone more stable than I am, and there is always someone in a more precarious position than I am. My job is to be generous and compassionate with what I have.

So on this Boxing Day, I invite us all to consider what we can do to be a bit more generous, to help someone who is often overlooked. The gap between those who have and those who don’t is growing, and the middle class is dwindling. Let’s see what we can do to alleviate that, and maybe start to advocate for more stability for all God’s children.

Maybe the theology of Boxing Day can spread to be a theology of generosity for every day.

Isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do?

This Week's Feed the Hungry Offering
This week's Feed the Hungry Offering will go to Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, Tennessee. For the children and staff of Holston Home, fifth Sunday offerings throughout our Annual Conference give children an opportunity
to encounter acceptance, love, and hope for their future.
May the coming year bring you good health, peace and joy.
Church offices will be closed on Wednesday, January 1
Last Sunday at First UMC
Prepare the Way for Love by Rev. Brandon Berg
Matthew 1:18-25
At The River, Noah and Karoline shared the Advent Liturgy and lit the Candle of Love.
The McGrady Family lit the Advent Candle during the Traditional service.
On Saturday morning, Girl Scout Troop 102 met Girl Scout Troop 877 to receive the Peace Light of Bethlehem. The light has been burning for over 1,000 years at the Church of the Nativity and is shared as a message of peace around the world during Advent and Christmastide. We are honored to host the light this year. If you would like to bring the light into your home, contact Rev. Berg or Karoline. We would be pleased to share it widely! offers this brief explanation of the sharing of the flame:

Each year, a child from Upper Austria fetches the light from the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The light is carried in two blast proof miners lamps on an Austrian Airlines jet from Tel Aviv Israel to Vienna Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries. Austrian Airlines then flies the miners lamps containing the Peace Light from Bethlehem to New York City.
The Candle from Bethlehem was used to light our Altar Candles on Sunday.
God has brought us together at the end of Advent,
anticipating a miracle, so today, we wait;
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Help Meet a Need
Elk Garden School Community Ministry has an immediate need for these items:

  • Pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Ravioli
  • Toilet paper
  • Canned chicken
Add an extra item or two to your grocery cart whenever you shop. You may already have some of these items in your pantry.

A collection bin is located in the narthex.

$34,500 Goal (November debt)
25,704 Given to date
$ 8,796 Needed to clear the November goal
Pledges are down for 2020. This means it’s up to each of us to think of ways to save money next year. We have the power with God to figure out how to manage what we have been given.
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.
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 26, 2019 – January 1, 2020
Thursday, December 26
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room
6:30[,-Mankind Project-Youth Room

Friday, December 27
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio

Saturday, December 28

Sunday, December 29
9:30am-The River Contemplative Worship Service-TH
9:30am-Shaw-Anchor Adult Sunday School
10:00am-Common Ground Worship-Chapel
11:00am-Traditional Worship Service-Sanctuary
Monday, December 30
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, December 31
8:00am-Men's Prayer Group-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)
Our Vision
Building A Community Where Anyone
Can Become A Deeply Committed Christian