Latest News: July 2-8, 2020

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
July 2-8, 2020

5th Sunday After Pentecost

July 5, 2020
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Old, Old Stories: My Yoke is Easy, my Burden is Light

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
and our Administrative Council.
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 don’t preach the epistles much. I stick to the gospels (you know, what Jesus said and did) and let them play with the other stories around them. But this weekend there’s a really important idea that Paul plays with a lot:

Now that you have been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. (I’m speaking with ordinary metaphors because of your limitations.) When you were slaves of sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What consequences did you get from doing things that you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have the consequence of a holy life, and the outcome is eternal life.

Americans tend to worship the idea of freedom. Specifically, we worship the idea that we have a right to do whatever we want whenever we want and wherever we want. We excuse our liberty under the guise of freedom of expression. Who cares who is harmed by what we do? Our freedom is more important than the consequences of our actions.

Paul would remind us that we have no such freedom. Liberty is a lie told to us by the Father of Lies, wrapped in a star-spangled banner and stroking our love of self-indulgence. We are ensnared and enslaved by our pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth. They hold us captive in a subtle addiction to pleasure.

And slowly, piece by piece, they destroy us: body, mind, and soul.

But in our baptism, Jesus kills those parts of us enslaved by that self-indulgence. We are set free from them so that we might be yoked to a Master who only seeks the very best for us, for each of us and for all of us.

So as you’re tossing back lagers over a grill laden with fat beside a hole filled with thousands of gallons of water poisoned beyond the capacity to sustain life, I’d invite you to reflect on your particular choice of enslavement. Maybe your Independence Day celebration doesn’t look quite like that, but I’d bet none of us has very far to look to find our masters.

This Independence Day, try to take a step toward freedom. I bet nothing would make Jesus happier than that.


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

Our Administrative Council, with others, is carefully considering best practices
to keep us safe in our reconnection.

Things will be different during our in-person services:
Tankersley Hall will likely be the location; social distancing will be observed with a different seating arrangement; dedicated entrance and exit doors will be used; the offering basket will not be passed; there will be no singing.
A re-opening date has not been determined, but will coincide
with health recommendations.

We feel and share your eagerness to return,
and we appreciate your patience
during this uncertain time.

Be assured that you will stay informed.

A link to the Holston Conference re-opening recommendations is below
should you wish to read the plan in its entirety.

Clinch Mountain District News

The latest newsletter is available.
Topics include: Church in the Time of Covid,
Wesley Foundation News, Opportunities to assist at Camp Bays Mountain, and more.

Click on the link below for access

Last Sunday

District Superintendent Rev. Jane Taylor
presented the sermon via Facebook,
with Rev. Brooke Atchley, United Methodist Missionary

Matthew 10:40-42 Common English Bible (CEB)

“Those who receive you are also receiving me, and those who receive me are receiving the one who sent me.

Those who receive a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward.

Those who receive a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.

I assure you that everybody who gives even a cup of cold water to these little ones because they are my disciples will certainly be rewarded."

Here I Am, Lord

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
I who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
I, the Lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide
'Til their hearts be satisfied
I will give my life to them
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
I will hold Your people in my heart

Thanks to Rev. Taylor, Rev. Atchley, Rev. Berg, Phil Haga, Betty Curtis, Rebeka Berg,
as well as others behind the camera for bringing this service to us.

We, as Methodists, recognize
racism as a sin.
We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access.

Click on the link below to see how you can help.
Clinch Mountain District Hands-On Mission Project
Our School kits for Liberia project is still scheduled to proceed; the collection dates have been delayed. Please keep this mission in mind and assemble a kit for a school child.
Also, if you are willing to oversee the checking and transport
of the kits to Abingdon please let Brandon or Julie know.

Our worship at
Sugar Hollow Park
has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19.
We look forward to gathering next year when hopefully we can do so safely.

Tithes and offerings may be donated using the

free online giving tool. Choose Clinch Mountain District.

Financial Report for June 30, 2020
The Finance Committee is happy to report a positive balance in the
General Fund! $4,227.53

This includes our having paid an insurance bill for $2,000. We will need more giving in the months to come because our Small Business Loan ends June 30.

It is time to pull together and either continue your giving or resume giving or begin giving. The church building is not open, but church has not stopped. We will open when it is safe for YOU to come together with others

Keep Us Updated
Have you had a change of physical address, phone number, or email address? Please notify Julie Blanton or leave a message at the church office so that we may update our records.
Thank You!

Dinner for ?

Our Tailgate Meal was rescheduled due to rain from
Tuesday of this week to

this Friday, July 3rd at 5:30pm.
in the church parking lot, Vance Drive side.

Let’s plan on bringing our own food and drink. We must leave one parking space between each car. I think we could have "camp" chairs to sit outside the car just so we social distance with masks. No bathroom facility. Bring your own hand sanitizer. This can also be a July 4th celebration!

It would be so great to see each other and send up a corporate prayer for our church, community, country and world. If I’ve missed any safety precautions please email right away. I miss you all so much!

Sue Dietz

Sue Dietz
Lay Leader

I have been thinking about Valentines boxes when I was in grade school and how I looked forward to seeing who cared about me. What brought this all on was working with Dale cleaning out our office area. There are files from way back and instruction booklets for things we do not even remember using! But one thing that stops us is old greeting cards and letters from friends and family. Each card and letter will stay with us.
Now this is related so please bear with me. Yesterday we heard a message from District Superintendent Jane Taylor about being a welcoming church. First has had much discussion on this subject. But what do we do once a person is a part of our church family? Do we send cards and letters of encouragement and healing? Do we make calls?
Personally, I fall way short in this category. I make excuses that I am worried about bothering with a phone call. I buy great cards that end up sitting in my card box. I feel guilty and promise myself that tomorrow I will do better.
This is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf. When you call, keep it short. If you find a problem that needs a minister, call Brandon. We have trouble remembering our pastors do not possess magical powers to know what is going on. Let us each send a card or make a call this week to let our church family know they are being thought about. Now where did I put the stamps!

Historical Musings
Penny Hudson

Click on the link below to read
interesting history of the time
the new sanctuary was built.

Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
call Julie at 423.914.9820.
For each publication, information is
needed by noon on Wednesday.
July 2-8, 2020

Sunday, July 5th
11:00am-live-stream service via Facebook

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