Latest News: July 23-29, 2020

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
July 23-29, 2020

8th Sunday After Pentecost

July 26, 2020
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Old, Old, Stories: Time, More Parables, and Others

Rev. Alan Gorrell

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 am vacationing.

I’m not going to the beach. I’m not going to a theme park. The Berg crew is taking our annual trip to see Karoline’s family in Michigan. When you don’t hear from us in the next week, do not be surprised or alarmed. I’m ignoring everyone on purpose.

Even pastors need to do that sometimes.

If that offends your sensibilities, I do not apologize. I have been taking ministry in the age of pandemic at a sprint, and that was a mistake. This is not a short journey. This is a marathon or a through hike. I need to stop and recover.

Pray for us as we escape for just a little bit. I will be praying for you.

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

We had thought we could resume in-person worship by mid-July, but considering that our area is experiencing a larger rate of coronavirus infection than the first wave, it would be unsafe to do so. We have pushed the date of reopening back to August, but this is contingent on the curve flattening back out.

Per the District Superintendents, if the number of COVID cases in the counties
exceeds ten, churches will definitely be closed for at least two weeks.
As conditions are rapidly changing,
they are endeavoring to inform pastors as soon as possible.

Last Sunday

Old, Old Stories:
The Promise That Takes Awhile

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.’

Sarah Flower Adams was a British actress. After health problems disrupted her plans to continue
with theater, she found comfort in writing poems and hymns.
She wrote this hymn at her home in England, in 1841;
it was first set to music by Adams's sister, the composer Eliza Flower.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee.

There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be nearer, my God, to Thee.

Old Testament Reading by Jennifer Daniel
Genesis 29:15-28 The Message

When Jacob had been with him for a month, Laban said, “Just because you’re my nephew, you shouldn’t work for me for nothing. Tell me what you want to be paid. What’s a fair wage?”
Now Laban had two daughters; Leah was the older and Rachel the younger. Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful. And it was Rachel that Jacob loved.
So Jacob answered, “I will work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
“It is far better,” said Laban, “that I give her to you than marry her to some outsider. Yes. Stay here with me.”
So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel. But it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much.
Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife; I’ve completed what we agreed I’d do. I’m ready to consummate my marriage.” Laban invited everyone around and threw a big feast. At evening, though, he got his daughter Leah and brought her to the marriage bed, and Jacob slept with her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.)
Morning came: There was Leah in the marriage bed!
Jacob confronted Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work all this time for the hand of Rachel? Why did you cheat me?”
“We don’t do it that way in our country,” said Laban. “We don’t marry off the younger daughter before the older. Enjoy your week of honeymoon, and then we’ll give you the other one also. But it will cost you another seven years of work.”
Jacob agreed. When he’d completed the honeymoon week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) Jacob then slept with her. And he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years.

Thanks to Rev. Berg, Phil Haga, Betty Curtis, and Jennifer Daniel
for bringing this service to us.

The Pen Pal Club is Happening!

Would you like to be a Pen Pal to a senior
at Elmcroft Senior Living Community in Bristol?

Help them feel connected during this time of limited contact
with families, friends, and outside activities.

We need just one more volunteer to write
a card or letter regularly!

Write or call Julie Blanton for details. 423-914-9820

Prayers Requested
Please keep the family of Lewis Booher
in your prayers; he was remembered in a private service this last Monday.

Please pray for the family of
Hershel Perdue,
who passed July 18th.
Hershel was the uncle of Erica Rakes.
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.

Sue Dietz
Lay Leader

Keep Calm and follow Jesus…
Most of us were children or not born during WWII. I’ve watched and read romanticized stories about that time. The tales are heroic and inspiring. Well, I have been reading a well-researched fiction story about Clementine Churchill and Winston during their marriage. First, I am not sure how she was able to keep her sanity taking care of him and did have a few breaks from those duties thank goodness. She was a powerful voice in the fight.
What has really caught my attention though is the ability of the English at home to endure nightly bombings. At the beginning of the war the fallout shelters were filthy, cold and crowded with no place to sit comfortably. The people spent 10 to 14 hours a night in those places to stay alive. Clementine organized the cleaning and making of these places into if not comfortable at least habitable places. Women left their homes to serve in munitions factories and behind the lines to facilitate the fighting men. The English people endured day in and day out deprivation.
We had an English war bride who lived across the street from us in Des Moines. She served in the land army which consisted of women who went into the country to work the fields. Her stories of the blitz which she went through before leaving London for the country were fascinating.
We are facing our world war against an enemy that we are only beginning to even understand. With God’s grace we can emulate the attitude of the English people. Jesus has set the example in all he did. We can think of others and what we can do for them. We can take time to rest our minds and bodies to keep us going. The Spirit can fill us with determination and joy. The buildings may be shut, but the Church continues. No one can stop us when God is with us.

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 23-29, 2020

Sunday, July 26th
11:00am- Sunday morning service via Facebook

Monday, July 27th
Clinch Mountain District Conference zoom meeting, details to follow

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)
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