Latest News: January 30 – February 5 , 2020

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
January 30 – February 5 , 2020

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 5, 2020
Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch
Matthew 5:1-12

Blessedness for Fools

Rev. Brandon Berg
From the Pastor's Pen
I did a lot of my social up-growing in the Boy Scouts of America, among nerds who like to spend time outside catching things on fire. I think that, at the time, we had the second biggest troop in Maryville. We camped at least monthly and hiked incessantly. We learned leadership skills and planning and how to bully the deeply weird kids. We learned to cook over a fire and a stove, how to set up multiple styles of tents, and that foam sleeping pads will mostly float when it rains so hard that the tent itself becomes a pool.

We also learned the basic shape of the principles of Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

I’ve more recently learned that there are seven specific principles, and that Leave No Trace is a real organization and not just an idea floating in the outdoor-enthusiast communal mind, but I hadn’t any idea of that when I was sixteen. They summarize this way:

  1. Plan and prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Maybe we were spending too much time focusing on earning merit badges and preparing for the next camping trip to actually learn those seven points, but we did get the basic message: leave things better than we found them.

That has shaped a lot of what I do.

That is something I try to do as a pastor, too.

On Sunday morning this week, our youth at Resurrection responded to the traditional altar call for young people who perceive God calling them to some sort of full-time ministry. More than half of our group went forward.

Pray for them. You don’t even have to know which youth they were. Just pray for them.

Pray for them because I’m deeply concerned that we are not, in fact, leaving the Church better than we found it. We are not leaving any single environment we inhabit, whether social, political, ecclesiastical, or physical, better than we found it. We seem to have done everything we can, as a society, to destroy our world beyond repair.

So as I watched our children commit themselves to making the world a better, healthier, safer, more loving place, I wept. I wept uncontrollably. I ugly cried.

I wept because they deserve better.

We have got to do better, friends. We have got to do everything in the power God is giving us to make our churches healthier and more welcoming, to make our neighborhoods the kind of place where neighbors smile and wave and say hello and help each other out, to equip our schools and make sure no child has to worry about who might come in with a weapon, to make our homes places of safety and love.

Our children deserve better. Our children deserve the best. I need your help giving them that.


This Week's Feed the Hungry Offering Is
for Bristol Faith in Action.
BFIA is a cooperative outreach ministry of the churches of Bristol and the local community formed to serve any persons whose circumstances leave them with significant physical, social, emotional, or spiritual needs.
Thank You for Giving to Recovery Road!

What a successful campaign we had! You helped raise lots of money and provide the ladies of Recovery Road with a variety of new and high-quality kitchen supplies from Pampered Chef! They should be set on kitchen supplies for well into the future! Again, a huge Thank You!
A Book Study Coming Soon to First UMC!!!
The Walk examines five essential spiritual practices rooted in Jesus’ own walk with God. How do we walk with Christ—daily follow him, grow in him, and faithfully serve him? In The Walk, Adam Hamilton focuses on five essential spiritual practices that are rooted in Jesus’ own walk with God and taught throughout the New Testament. Each of these practices is intended as part of our daily walk with Christ while also being an essential part of growing together in the church.
Read this excerpt from Chapter One of The Walk: Back in the mid-1600s, Christian theologians in England and Scotland created a document called the Westminster Catechism to teach and summarize what Christians believe about God and what it means to be human. It was written in a question and answer format. Perhaps the best-known question posed in the Westminster Shorter Catechism was, “What is the chief end of man [or humankind]?” The answer: “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
We were created to display God’s glory. Our lives are only properly oriented when we are seeking to give glory to God, honoring, revering, and recognizing God as the source of our lives. Our praise is not merely in words, but from the heart and with every part of our being. We are meant to be a living hallelujah. In seeking to give thanks, to praise God not only with our words but also with our lives, rendering our worship to God, we find communion with God and the grace, strength, and love to live as his people.
About the Author:
Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, where he preaches to more than 8,000 people per week. Adam writes and teaches on life’s tough questions, the doubts with which we all wrestle, and the challenging issues we face today. He explores the “gray” areas that present themselves when the Bible’s teachings and life experiences cross paths.

Plan now to participate in this five-week study led by Pastor Berg.
Let's learn, or remember, together the practices of Jesus that will help us
in our daily walk with Christ and grow us together as a church.
What better way to journey – hand-in-Hand, and hand-in-hand,
through this season of Lent?

Last Sunday at First UMC
Matthew 4:12-23 Calling and Casting
by Dr. Alan L. Gorrell

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness–
on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
~Isaiah 9:2-4 (NRSV)
Will we listen when God calls us?
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back.
~A Burton
A squirrel feasts on leftover Communion Bread.
Let us take God's light into the world.
We will go to join others in pilgrimage of trust.
Let us go to gather the burdens of others.
We will take away their fears and offer them to Jesus,
who helps everyone in every moment.
Let us go to live in the Spirit's presence.
We will follow the Spirit into the peace
which is offered to all of God's people.
~Thom Shuman
Worship Committee Meets Sunday
The Worship Committee will meet this Sunday, February 2, at 12:15 p.m. in the choir room.

This will be our first meeting of the year to plan and organize worship events for 2020. All who are interested in being part of this committee are welcome to attend.

Choir will not rehearse on Sunday.
SPR Meeting
Sunday, February 9, 3.00 p.m.
Church Library
The Reverend Leah Burns will be facilitating a two-session discussion and workshop based on Ibram X. Kendi’s new book: How to Be an Anti-racist. In the book, Kendi states that “the only way to undo racism is to identify and describe it—and then dismantle it”. He goes on to say that “racism has always been terminal and curable”…and that cure is what this workshop seeks to enable.
Participants in this workshop will wrestle with and discuss answers to questions such as:
–What is the historical context of racist ideas?
–How do we heal and repair the damages done over generations?
–How do we continue to propagate these ideas in our relationships, in our institutions, churches, schools and communities?
–What are the intersections between race and gender, race and class, and race and sexuality?
–How do we uproot racism from our communities and society—starting with ourselves?
Next Group of "Eight" Outing Planned
Saturday, February 15 at noon.
Alfredo's Restaurant
Please RSVP to Kathy Wagner.
Ministers Convocation
Flourish: Health and Growth for Every Church
February 17 – 19
Pigeon Forge, TN
February 26 Hunt Memorial UMC Rev. Jane Taylor
March 4 Reynolds Memorial UMC tba
March 11 First UMC-Bristol Rev. Natalie Justice
March 18 State Street UMC Rev. Annette Warren
March 25 tba tba
April 1 tba Rev. Jeff Moncier
April 8 Sinking Springs UMC Rev. Mary Kay Briggs
Services 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch served 12:30 p.m.- 1:00 p.m.
Everyone welcome.
May 5-15, 2020
Holston Annual Conference
June 7-10, 2020
Lake Junaluska, NC
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
January 30 – February 5, 2020
Thursday, January 30
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room

Friday, January 31
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio

Saturday, February 1

Sunday, February 2
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
12:15pm-Worship Committee-Choir Room
Monday, February 3
1:00pm-Food Pantry Volunteers-Bristol Emergency Food Pantry
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, February 4
Wednesday, February 5
6:30pm-Youth Activity

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
    First United Methodist Church of Bristol Tennessee | 322 Vance Drive, Bristol, TN 37620