Latest News: May 14-20, 2020

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
May 14-20, 2020

Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 17, 2020
Stuchie Art: The Promise
John 14:15-21

I Won't Leave You

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

I read Psalm 72 this morning as part of Morning Prayer. It’s not one of the more difficult psalms, but it’s still a bit challenging to my theology. It just doesn’t jive with our modern understanding of the role of political leaders.

Psalm 72 is a prayer for the king.

God, give your judgments to the king.
Give your righteousness to the king’s son.

Now, it’s not one of the “may the king slaughter all his enemies” psalms, but the language is still a little strange to my ears.

Let the king rule from sea to sea,
from the river to the ends of the earth.
Let the desert dwellers bow low before him;
let his enemies lick the dust.
Let the kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute;
let the kings of Sheba and Seba present gifts.
Let all the kings bow down before him;
let all the nations serve him.

I’ve been educated to value the limiting of political power, not the strengthening of it. I’ve been educated to value the diversification of political power, not the centering of power in fewer hands. It is too easy for people with more power to hoard that power or shower favor from it on friends and donors. I think that’s why the verses that follow are a really central tenet of Psalm 72.

Let it be so, because he delivers the needy who cry out,
the poor, and those who have no helper.
He has compassion on the weak and the needy;
he saves the lives of those who are in need.
He redeems their lives from oppression and violence;
their blood is precious in his eyes.

I suspect that the best litmus test for the quality of power is how it is distributed to the powerless.

In a democracy like ours, that will mean ensuring that every person has a voice in our election. Every effort should be made to get a ballot in every hand. Every effort should be made to educate every voter, not just to feed them propaganda.

Every effort should be made to ensure that everyone has enough good food to eat.

Every effort should be made to ensure that everyone has shelter.

Every effort should be made to ensure that everyone has access to the best healthcare.

Every effort should be made to ensure that everyone can enhance their gifts so that everyone’s giftedness is available for the benefit of the community.

Every effort should be made to ensure that everyone’s life has meaning.

Every effort should be made to ensure that everyone’s life has value.

Every effort should be made to ensure that everyone’s life has love.

I believe that is the responsibility of those who hold power.

I believe that’s true in government, and I believe it’s true in the Church. I believe in the priesthood of all believers. Further, I believe in the priesthood of all people. All people made in God’s image are holy. We all represent the Divine. We all speak and act on God’s behalf.

I believe it’s time to embrace the dignity and giftedness of all people.

Let the righteous flourish throughout their lives,
and let peace prosper until the moon is no more.


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

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Our New book study
continues this Wednesday
via Zoom.

Kaitlin B. Curtice is engaging and inspiring.
I hope we can learn together to pay more attention to God's glory all around us.

Here's the link to participate:

Topic: Glory Happening book study
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 911 4326 2294
Password: 633880

Here's a link to purchase a copy:

Thanks to Donna Camper for leading the
Sunday service two weeks ago.

Long time church member, Donna is a retired kindergarten teacher with the Bristol, Tennessee school system, where she worked for 38 years and was awarded Teacher of the Year.

She is co-founder and Executive Director of Recovery Road.
In addition, Donna has just completed
requirements for
Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner by the United Methodist Women. She will be appointed at Recovery Road to continue her ministry work, but she will be available to help at First as needed.

Congratulations to Donna!

To read more about the UMW Deaconess program click on the link below.

Hands-On Liberia School Kit collection
delayed until August-September.

This mission needs a coordinator as kits are collected.
Please reflect on how you could contribute to getting vitally needed school supplies to the children.

Click on the link below to email Julie Blanton for instructions.

If you would like an Upper Room Daily Devotional delivered to your home please call the church office and leave a message.
Please specify regular or large print.


A Note From Sue Dietz,
Lay Leader

An Idea:

How is your week going? I've heard experts say our emotions are high and with reason! That was me last week. I found Dale wiping his eyes this morning after listening to heartwarming story about a cheering squad raising money to send food to the nurses in their local hospital. Yes, emotions are high. I hope the financial news in this newsletter has given you some real hope for First's financial survival.

Then I got to thinking about one story that really gave me a great feeling and wet eyes. A group of friends got together and decided on a restaurant to 'slam' with takeout orders. They now do this once per week at a different restaurant each week. That almost sounds to me like a mission outreach to our Bristol restaurants.

So, here is what I'm going to suggest. If you are interested in joining a group like this (almost a Dinner for ?) let me know.
I need your email, choice of day to order, and suggestions, up to five, for where to order. I will make a group email. We will be able to give feedback and keep in touch with our Dinner for? group. Sound like fun? I hope so. I will tally votes; the day with the most votes wins. The restaurants will be chosen in order of their votes. We will pick up our own food. If you need help contact someone on the list who is near you and have payment ready when they deliver. If our votes are divided between two days, we can have two groups.

I will start the list:

Sue and Dale Dietz
Angry Italian, Mad Greek, Delta Blues, Fatz

Be safe, and know that you are loved.
Committee Report April 20

Apologies for the error in posting the month-end report last week. To be able to give you a much better report hopefully makes up for the error. Our revised deficit is -423.73.

We have now received our $16,000 loan from SBA (First Bank and Trust). For the months of May and June this money may be used for payroll and utilities. Any remainder will be returned to the bank along with reports of how money was spent. 75% MUST be used for payroll. If spent properly in the two-month time frame, the loan will be forgiven and called a grant.

We are family, we are First.
Virtual Holston Annual Conference
June 27, 2020

Theme: I Love to Tell the Story

The conference mission offering this year is directed to
Opioid Addiction Response and Change for Children.
These projects will promote wonderful work in
serving and ministering
to those in need.
Please keep these missions in mind as we approach conference.
Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
call Julie at 423.914.9820.
For each publication, information is
needed by noon on Wednesday.
May 14-20, 2020

Sunday, May 17
11:00am-live-stream service via Facebook
Wednesday, May 20
virtual book study-Glory Happening via Zoom. Check church Facebook page for details

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