Latest News: April 16-22

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
April 16-22, 2020

Second Sunday of Easter

April 19, 2020
Emil Nolde: Doubting Thomas (The Life of Christ)
John 20: 19-31

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

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 perBishop 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

I’m thankful to still have the opportunity to offer a service of worship from the church. Not all my colleagues have that luxury. We are all making the best of what we have available to us, working within limitations that are both technological and skill-related. I have friends offering beautiful opportunities for worship from pulpits, from lakesides, from dining room tables, and from living room couches.

We aren’t doing this to compete with each other.

We aren’t doing this to show off our homes.

We aren’t doing this to show off our homiletical and liturgical prowess.

We are doing this to give you an opportunity to worship in a way that is meaningful, engaging, and transformative.

And we are doing the best we know how.

We do better when we hear from you.

That’s true every Sunday, but it’s easier to hear from you when we’re congregating in the same place. Often, the way you respond in the midst of worship tells us a lot about how effective a certain practice or exercise is. But now that our responses are all either virtual or confined to the privacy of your home, what Phil and Betty and I need are direct comments from you.

We have to be very intentional in our communication right now.

So let me offer you a glimpse into what’s swirling around in my head as I design worship.

I hate watching videos online. Hate it. Something on a screen had better be pretty doggone engaging for me to stay tuned. So what I’m trying to do is eliminate any fluff we might enjoy in our worship in a shared physical space. I rank that with advertisements when I’m watching something online. That’s exactly the point at which I shut the video down.

I’m trying to make sure that anything we do in our online worship is something I’d be comfortable doing in my home. I don’t want to offer a video you’re just going to watch. I want to offer a worship experience you’re going to participate in. I want you to sing along. I want you to read along. I want you to respond. I want you to be engaged.

I want everything to make sense together. Phil Haga is excellent at selecting hymns that tie into the theme of the texts and the season. I am enormously thankful for his gifts. They are especially important right now, as is offering other liturgical elements that make sense on that particular day.

That’s what we’re trying to do. We want to offer an experience of worship online that is helpful to you, that you’ll tune into, that is engaging. If you tune out or shut the window down, I’ve lost the opportunity to be a vessel of God’s Spirit that could transform you and the community around you. I want to minimize the chance of that shut down happening.

So now, with the rush of Holy Week and Easter Sunday over, as we transition into the greater Season of Easter and move toward Pentecost, I need to hear from you. I need to know what makes you tune in and what makes you tune out. I need to know what you’re comfortable doing at home. I need to know what will make this experience more engaging.

Phil and Betty and I — and the Berg tech crew — are doing everything we can. Now we need your help.

Help us make our time of social distancing transformative for everyone. Help us be clear and flowing vessels of God’s Spirit. Help us bring the Body of Christ together.


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
Last Sunday and Holy Week Images

Images submitted by the congregation
for Holy Week and Easter Sunday
The Walk

book study will resume via
Zoom HD video meeting soon.

Click on the link on our church Facebook
page to follow along.

to do here? (Call-to-Action)
Native American Ministries Sunday

May 3, 2020

Native American Ministries Sunday serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The special offering supports Native American outreach within annual conferences and across the United States and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans.
United Methodists celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday on the Third Sunday of Easter.

Please consider donating by check or online

a limited time only" or "only 7 remaining!"
Historical Musings From Penny

Have you ever wondered about the history of the bells in the sanctuary bell tower?

Click the link below to read the history by
Penny Hudson.

Bristol Food Pantry Needs Help
The Bristol Emergency Food Pantry
is asking for volunteers in order to keep its doors open and it's volunteers safe.

Abbreviated hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-3p.m.

Call 423-571-4449 to help.

Lay Leader Message
by Sue Dietz

Surprises and Gifts

We found this one lone tulip blooming its heart out in our garden. Never has a tulip bulb been planted anywhere on our property in 27 years, but here is this wonderful gift. I think that may be what God can do for us during this frightening time. A phone call from someone you haven't heard from in many ears, a bunch of cookies left by your door from a neighbor, ability to do something for someone else are all gifts we receive and give at just the right time. When we get a thought of something to do for others, let's do it if possible. It just may mean we are being asked to be the hands and feet of Christ!

Be safe, and know that you are loved.

  • To date we have not heard back from the bank or government about our grant request.
  • It took longer to compile the 19 page document with application and documentation. It was filed last week with the necessary signatures. Thanks to Crystal at the accounting firm.

  • Don't forget that you may give by credit card at this time. We have received two well-documented conference checks with donations. Click on the link below to donate:

Our district is the Clinch Mountain District.

Your continuing gifts will be very appreciated. The treasurer processes the bills and gifts which come in each week. The church is current on all bills owed.

General Conference to move to 2021

The Commission has determined that General Conference will not meet in 2020 as originally planned and will work toward
setting a date in 2021.

Holston Annual Conference

June 7-10, 2020

Lake Junaluska, N.C.

The conference has not been rescheduled as of yet; any changes will be posted.