Latest News: August 6-12, 2020

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
August 6-12, 2020

10th Sunday After Pentecost

August 9, 2020
The Hand of God by Jongsung Kim
Matthew 14: 22-23

Old, Old, Stories: Falling In

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

Today is the sneaky election day. It’s primary election day.

I used to skip this one and let somebody else pick the candidates we’d be voting for in November, but these in-between days and down ballot races have become increasingly important as our social climate has become more divisive. I’m becoming more aware that whom we choose to run in this moment can weigh heavily on the result of the later election. I suppose that, as issues become more important to me, I just want someone to represent me who represents a closer set of my values. In fact, there is a slew of tabs open in my internet browser so I can compare different candidates’ priorities.

I’m trying to be informed.

I’m trying to be involved.

If I’m apathetic about these elections, I hand my voice to someone else and I forfeit my right to gripe about the result.

It seems appropriate to remind us all that our United Methodist church is a representative democracy, too. We annually elect leaders whose terms begin on January 1. Those elections formally happen at Charge Conference, sometime in the Autumn. The slate of leaders is nominated in the weeks before Charge Conference. That gives you multiple opportunities to have your voice heard.

First, you can nominate someone (or yourself) for a leadership role by voicing your opinion to the Committee on Lay Leadership and Nominations. Second (and this is the part that feels like pulling teeth), you can show up at Charge Conference and vote. It is the one time we do so as a body. Forfeiting that opportunity is forfeiting your opportunity to voice your opinion and participate in the democratic process. Forfeiting these opportunities means you forfeit your right to an opinion about the church’s leadership.

Look, y’all, I have no interest in leading a church with an iron fist. I’m not gifted that way. I need you help. I need your gifts. I need your voice. I need you to step up and do what the Spirit is calling you to do. We are, after all, a priesthood of all believers, not just believers muddling through under a priestly umbrella.

And our city, our state, and our nation needs your voice, too. Educate yourself, step up, and make this important step today to shape the nation you want to live in. It is your right and your privilege and your duty.

Your vote is your voice.


Here’s a lighthearted parody by Atlanta Episcopal Priest
Rev. Lonnie Lacy on
“You’ll Be Back” from Lin Manuel Miranda’s play

Please enjoy as we patiently
wait for direction from our
District Superintendents
on church re-opening.

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

Brandon opened with

words of greeting.

Opening Hymn UMH 185

When Morning Gilds the Skies

When morning gilds the skies
my heart awakening cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer,
to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

The night becomes as day
when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The powers of darkness fear
when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Let all the earth around
ring joyous with the sound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In heaven’s eternal bliss
the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, while life is mine,
my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this th’ eternal song
through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Larry and Kathy Wagner’s cat
Ling Ling
enjoys hearing Phil sing.
Responsive Reading

Psalm 17:1-7, 15
Common English Bible

Listen to what’s right, Lord;
pay attention to my cry!
Listen closely to my prayer;
it’s spoken by lips that don’t lie!
My justice comes from you;
let your eyes see what is right!
You have examined my heart,
testing me at night.
You’ve looked me over closely,
but haven’t found anything wrong.
My mouth doesn’t sin.
But these other people’s deeds?
I have avoided such violent ways
by the command from your lips.
My steps are set firmly on your paths;
my feet haven’t slipped.
I cry out to you because you answer me.
So tilt your ears toward me now—
listen to what I’m saying!
Manifest your faithful love in amazing ways
because you are the one
who saves those who take refuge in you,
saving them from their attackers
by your strong hand.
But me? I will see your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I will be filled full by seeing your image.

Gospel Reading and Sermon by Rev. Brandon Berg

Old, Old Stories: Wrestling With God

Matthew 14:13-21
Common English Bible

When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.”
They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.”
He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.

Thanks to Rev. Berg, Phil Haga, Betty Curtis, and
The video tech crew for bringing this service to us.
Prayer Concerns

Please continue
to keep
Jim and Brenda Hobbs
in your prayers.

Prayers are needed
for P.G. Mueller,
who has been hospitalized
 in serious condition.

Ron Schoenhart
has asked for prayer
as well; he experienced a fall
with subsequent broken ribs.

Card Showers

Several members have suggested starting Card Showers for our members who may not have connection with others through the computer or they may live alone or in assisted living
and nursing home facilities.
If you have a name for us to publish, with an address, please send it to
And any time you feel led to, make a call or send a card to the person on your mind and heart.
This card shower will remind each of us
to keep in contact.

Send cards of encouragement and good wishes currently to:

Betty Pierce
#328 Brookdale

Helen and Tim Harkleroad
309 Redstone
Bristol, TN 37620

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.

Thank You to Penny
Much appreciation is extended to Penny Hudson for her First-Bristol history articles. Penny has kept alive the early history of First for many, and informed the newer members about our past. She has an ardent passion for history and a flair with telling the historical information in a compelling way.

Thank you Penny for your contribution!

Sue Dietz
Lay Leader

I have been having quite a fight with poison ivy for the last couple of weeks and am having a great time working until I crash in the evening from Prednisone. I did not realize I had so much to do and undo after I do. Anyway, I’m on the road to recovery and have an app on my phone now that identifies plants. I will check before I weed any more around the house!

One thing that kept running through my steroid full mind was folks I should call and check how they are holding up and if they need anything. That really hit me this week when I learned P.G. Muller is in the hospital in serious condition. She had been on my mind, but I had not picked up a phone. Then I got a call from Louise Carver, who is concerned about her friend, another member, who she can’t visit. And then, I got a call from Sue Bryngelson, who has such a heart for our church family, who cannot use a computer to view services or receive newsletters and those who are alone.

Then I remembered the joke Brandon told in a recent sermon. The one about the man drowning and waiting for God to help. After turning down a boat ride and other help which he turned down he blamed God. Well I think maybe those phone calls last week might just have been a “call” from God to make some calls and send some cards. Have you received a call or card? I have and they are great.

If you can print a newsletter do it and send it to one of our members. Send a card or make a call. The idea was presented to have a card shower every other week. We can suggest some names and addresses, but you know who is on your mind and heart. Listen to that voice. We are led if we will follow.

Finance Report
Our accountant is working on preparing an application for the SBA loan forgiveness.
The bank is not accepting applications yet, but ours should be ready to submit
when the time comes.
We will let you know when we receive any update. Ours has been spent according to the rules.
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
August 6-12, 2020

Sunday, August 9
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