Latest News: March 26-April 1, 2020

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
March 26-April 1, 2020

Fifth Sunday in Lent
Passion Sunday

March 29, 2020
John 11:1-45

Days in the Wilderness: Fertile and Dry

Rev. Brandon Berg
Schedule adjustment:

Morning worship at 11:00 a.m. via Facebook Live

The River and the Traditional service will not gather
until further notice per Bishop Taylor.
Our virtual worship together will take their place
until our time of social distancing is lifted.

If you have not connected to FUMC via Facebook,
please go do that. You can also connect to Rev. Berg
on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.
He will try to share uplifting and empowering things
on those media.
From the Pastor's Pen

March 25 is the Feast of the Annunication.

With a little very easy math, you can figure out what that particular day is about.

If you're still scratching your head, here's what's up. Nine months from March 25 would be December 25. The Feast of the Annunciation celebrates the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and inviting her to become theotokos, the God-bearer, the mother of Jesus the Messiah.

Then Mary skipped town and spent her first trimester with her relative Elizabeth, who was already six months pregnant herself. It's a little difficult for me to imagine what that household must have been like:
young teenage Mary discovering what pregnancy is like; Elizabeth in her most uncomfortable trimester, already dealing with the complications of advanced age; and Zechariah watching both of them without a single comment.

In the Spring of 2020, the most prudent course of action may have been for Elizabeth and Zechariah to turn Mary away. They don't need the risk of outside infection endangering Elizabeth or the fetal prophet.

But even in these days, the Spirit of God has a way of wending a path into our lives and into our hearts. Maybe there's not a glowing angel spreading wings out and knocking inherited treasures off your living room table, but God is still showing up and saying directly to you:

Rejoice, favored one!
The Lord is with you! Don't be afraid.

Mary had the wherewithal to listen and accept the miraculous task God was offering, and because of her "yes", the whole of creation was transformed. Heaven came to earth, and hell and death were defeated.

Jesus changes everything.

All we have to do is accept the challenge God offers to us. Every one of us can bring God's presence everywhere we go. Everyone of us is a bearer of the image of God. Everyone of us can be theotokos, the God-bearer.

While we are practicing social distancing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak,
FUMC will not be keeping regular office hours.
If you need to reach Rev. Berg, he will still be responding by email at
and by text or call (276) 237-6498
The Book Study is postponed until
the coronavirus crisis is past.
Continue to read, study, spend time with Christ, and pray for one another.

Here I am, Lord, Send Me.
"Part of what is necessary to serve Christ by serving
others is our willingness to be interrupted."
~Adam Hamilton
Last Sunday at First UMC
John 9:1-41 Wilderness Days: Chosen and Rejected by Rev. Brandon Berg

Last Sunday was our first virtual

service. Brandon, Karoline,

and the Berg children teamed

up to bring

church into our homes via


Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place
I can feel His mighty power and His grace
I can hear the brush of angels' wings
I see glory on each face
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

UMH #328
A Note From Carol Johnson:

Dear First Methodist Friends,

Many of you probably know that I resigned my position as part-time secretary of the church last week. I knew that it was time to do so when a pandemic like nothing we have ever known closed down schools, churches, and many of the businesses around us and throughout our nation.

I just want to tell you how very much I have been blessed these past three years as I have worked at First UMC. I have had the privilege of working alongside a devout and caring ministerial staff-Pastor Berg, Phil, and Betty, who weekly commit their time and talents to sharing the message of Christ in all its beauty, truth, and relevance!

I have been blessed to get to know many of you in your devotion to our Lord and to learn your special gifts and talents! How many and varied are the talents in this church!
Each of you has touched me with your faith, and increased my own.

Even though I will not be driving to Bristol to be with you, I will be carrying you in my heart and prayers.
I hope, as much as you can, you are sheltering in place. Stay healthy. I love you.

Have you ever thought about the stained glass window in the Chapel? In memory of Absolom Bunn? Recently a picture of Absolom came into my possession and I did some research.

The funeral procession of Mr. C. M. Umholtz (a prominent church member) was moving up Pennsylvania Ave when Mrs. W. B. Wexler (another influential member of the church) was thrown from her buggy and killed. Shortly afterward, Absolom Bunn, charter member of First UMC, died. The old church building was under construction, and three beautiful windows were dedicated in the memory of these three.

There were three stained glass windows in the old First UMC building, but only the one dedicated to the memory of Rev. Bunn was put in the new building.

Below is what I have learned about Rev. Bunn. ~Penny Hudson

Rev. Absolom Bunn was born Jan 27, 1833 in Arcadia, Tennessee. He married Louisa Jane Phelps in 1854 and they had thirteen children – eight boys and five girls. In 1889, the family moved to Bristol.

Rev. Bunn was known as a pioneer minister of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. He was connected with the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and served many years as a supply pastor. He served circuits all over Holston Conference.

Rev. Bunn was one of the charter members of First Methodist Episcopal Church and was also a member of the first official board of the church.

The Sunday before he died, Rev. Bunn assisted Rev. W. F. Pitts in administering communion at First Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev. Bunn was a zealous Christian who left records showing some five thousand converts as a result of his ministry. Among those who were saved under his preaching were twenty five young men who would become ministers.

Louisa died Oct 5, 1896. One son, Robert, died of typhoid in 1903. One daughter, Ellen, also died early. The other seven sons became well known businessmen in their own right. The daughters also did well. One granddaughter, Margaret Bunn, was well known in the school system as principal of Rosemont Elementary School and was a well known public speaker.

Rev. Bunn passed away on March 9, 1911. He was buried at East Hill which at that time was known as the city cemetery.

In the chapel of First United Methodist Church is the stained glass window in memory of Rev. Absolom Bunn.
Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom
Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom

UMH #488
Holy Week at First UMC
Holy Monday, April 6
Holy Tuesday, April 7
Holy Wednesday, April 8
Maundy Thursday, April 9
Good Friday, April 10

All Services 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel
An Invitation
The Hebraic Christian Fellowship will be celebrating their Passover meal in Tankersley Hall on Wednesday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m. They have graciously extended an invitation to anyone from our church community who would like to join them. The cost of the meal is $25.00 per person. If you would like to attend, please contact Gary or Darlene Huff at immediately so that they may include you in their count.
The menu: Matzo ball soup and salad, Roasted Lamb, roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables and dessert prepared by Gingerbread Catering, Bristol, TN
Easter Sunday

Then came the morning
Night turned into day
The stone was rolled away
Hope rose with the dawn
Then came the morning
Shadows vanished before the sun
Death had lost and life had won
For morning had come.
~Guy Penrod
Combined Worship Service at 10:00 a.m.
Brunch at 11:30 a.m.
Egg Hunt for Children Provided by the Youth

We are requesting bags of individually wrapped candies for the Children's Egg Hunt. Candies should be small enough so that 2-3 pieces and perhaps a tiny toy can be placed inside a plastic egg.

We do not need plastic eggs – we have plenty remaining from last year.

General Conference 2020 has been postponed;
rescheduled dates will be posted.
Holston Annual Conference
June 7-10, 2020
Lake Junaluska, NC
Coming this Summer…

Worship at Sugar Hollow

July 12

Save the Date
Send Your Pictures and Announcements
to Publish in the Newsletter
Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
call Julie at 423.914.9820.
For each publication, information is
needed by noon on Wednesday.
Your Church Event and Planning Calendar
March 26-April 1, 2020
Thursday, March 26

Friday, March 27

Saturday, March 28

Sunday, March 29
11:00am Virtual Service via Facebook
Monday, March 30
Tuesday, March 31

Wednesday, April 1

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