Latest News: July 16-22, 2020

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

7th Sunday After Pentecost

July 19, 2020
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Old, Old Stories: The Promise That Takes Awhile

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 have no doubt that this quarantine time is wearing on you. It’s lonely and scary and frustrating. I know that some folks around, and you may be one, think the whole COVID-19 milieu is just a hoax. We’ve found a way to make a global pandemic a political issue. We’ve found a way to make mask-wearing a political issue, which is mind-boggling to me.

I’m just tired of it, but there’s no real end in sight. It’s so frustrating and stressful that I stressed my way into the most stubborn bunch of knots I’ve ever tied in my shoulders and my back. I had an aggressive steroid, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant regimen for a couple weeks, and my muscles did nothing but laugh in scorn.

Now I’m in physical therapy and I’m doing stretching and strengthening and posturing exercises that I didn’t know existed. I have a couple hands working those tight muscles out after I’ve done my own hard work. I’ll tell you something: a little hands-on work goes a long way.

I respect medicine and what it can do, but sometimes what the body needs is just a little touch.

I suspect that’s true in the Church, as well. It’s true in our individual witness. We can pour out a whole lot of polemic or vitriol or apologetics or legalise, but a steady, engaging, warm, compassionate touch will soften a heart and make someone a lot more open to the love of Jesus than any sermon I could ever preach.

Preach the gospel at all times, says Saint Francis, and if necessary, use words.

What the world needs more of isn’t necessarily more needles full of aggression-inducing cortisone. What the world needs is a loving touch.

At any rate, that’s what my shoulders need.

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 Holston Conference COVID-19 Task Force met July 8th to discuss questions district offices have been receiving as local churches submit their plans to return to in-person worship. A subcommittee has been formed to create a document to give guidance to District Superintendents on when to allow and disallow in-person worship.
This subcommittee will also discuss additional ministries and outside groups, and what additional guidelines, if any, are needed moving forward.
The subcommittee was scheduled to meet last week.
At this point in time, no changes have been made to the in-person worship guidelines: "Taking Steps Forward Faithfully and Safely."

FUMC-Bristol's Administrative Council has determined
that we will only open when numbers of COVID-19 cases have gone down
for at least two weeks.

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

Last Sunday

Old, Old Stories: Good Soil and Bad

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
New Revised Standard Version

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!’
‘Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

Hymn of Promise

In the bulb, there is a flower
In the seed, an apple tree
In cocoons, a hidden promise
Butterflies will soon be free

In the cold and snow of winter
There's a spring that waits to be
Unrevealed until its season
Something God alone can see

There's a song in every silence
Seeking word and melody
There's a dawn in every darkness
Bringing hope to you and me

From the past will come the future
What it holds, a mystery
Unrevealed until its season
Something God alone can see

In our end is our beginning
In our time, infinity
In our doubt, there is believing
In our life, eternity

In our death, a resurrection
At the last, a victory
Unrevealed until its season
Something God alone can see

Author, Nancy Allen

Waiting on the video tech to set up…

Karoline and Rebekah watching the service from home.

Thanks to Rev. Berg, Phil Haga, Betty Curtis, and The Berg Family
for bringing this service to us.
The Church Gets a Much Needed Freshening-up!
The crew de-staining the sidewalks.
The facade getting a wash-down.
The surfaces will gradually lighten even more in the sun.

The Pen Pal Club
Has Begun!

Last week I introduced the idea of starting a local Pen Pal Club,
whereby our church members could choose a resident in a senior living facility
with whom to regularly communicate through cards and letters.
Since the area facilities have limited or no visitation,
this would be a way to help them feel connected.

The program is off and running!

So far we have four volunteers to be Pen Pals with residents of Elmcroft in Bristol.

We need just two more volunteers for Elmcroft.
If the program there is successful we can expand to other local facilities.

Please volunteer to be a Pen Pal to a local senior!

Write or call Julie Blanton for details.


The church gratefully receives memorials in memory of
Launa Williams
Helen Chafin
Charles and Mary Burns

Prayers Requested
Please keep Lewis Booher
 in your prayers;
he has been hospitalized

Tithes and offerings may be donated using the

free online giving tool. Choose Clinch Mountain District.

or mail your check to the church if you wish.

Historical Musings
From Penny
Click to read about Methodist preacher Rev. Bunn's actions during a time of racial divide in America.

Dinner for ?
Our Dinner for ? gathering scheduled for this Friday
 has been canceled.

Several factors have
come into play:

temperatures in the nineties, threat of thunderstorms, COVID-19 cases rising in the area.

We hope to reschedule soon when conditions improve.

Sue Dietz
Lay Leader

Wow, do you feel as if you are in another universe? I do. I'm glad I'm not involved in all the school opening decisions. I think of the Bergs who are affected by Sullivan County, Bristol, TN and Bristol, VA decisions. How crazy is that! I don't know what to worry about and what to let go. That's assuming I could do anything anyway.

I woke up this morning with all the crazy running through my mental checklist. It isn't a way to wake up to a beautiful sunny day! So, I've decided to start a list of what to be happy about and what I can control. Here is the beginning.

Walking out the back door I can see many of our day lilies in red and yellow hues. I can see blue hydrangea. I can see the sunlight filtering through the trees. We even had green beans we grew from seeds for dinner the other night.

We have a wonderful black neighbor with whom I can talk about kids, life experiences, and daily news. We differ in politics, but we know we can talk openly and honestly without fear of anger. What a blessing.

Staying at home has brought a slowdown to life and provided a time to listen and think. Sometimes that thinking gets crazy so being outside pulling weeds and listening to the birds talk with each other calms and makes me want to know their wisdom. Nature is God's gift for us to enjoy. Thanks be to Him.

I can control what we eat to stay healthy.

I'm sure you could add to this list. Send me your ideas and I'll write them up next week.

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!

Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
call Julie at 423.914.9820.
For each publication, information is
needed by noon on Wednesday.
Calendar of Events

July 16-22, 2020

Sunday, July 19th
11:00am- Sunday morning 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