Newsletter – April 15-21

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
April 15-21, 2021

Welcome to In-Person Worship Again….

We rejoice in once again gathering together for in-person worship!

If you are uncomfortable with worshiping in person or unable to join us for whatever reason, please tune in as we live-stream the service on Facebook.

As a reminder, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Even though people are being vaccinated and infection rates are declining, we will be maintaining recommended best public health practices for the foreseeable future. When you come worship with us, some specific things will happen:

  • Enter the narthex doors beside the sanctuary.
  • Wear a cloth mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Temperature checks will be done.
  • You will be asked a handful of questions about your current health and recent interaction with other people who may be at risk for COVID-19.
  • Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and anyone outside of your immediate household.
  • Minimize your use of the lavatory and sanitize the spaces you use, and
  • Exit the Sanctuary through the side doors closest to the parking lot.

This is a first step back toward normalcy, and we are looking forward making more progress very soon, but we will all have to cooperate to ensure that can happen.

Schedule Adjustment:

In-person worship at 11:00a.m. Sundays in the sanctuary
can also be viewed on the church Facebook page.

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.

3rd Sunday of Easter
Native American Ministries Sunday

April 18th, 2021
Luke 24:36b-48
"You Are Witnesses"

Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor's Pen

There is a handful of common conversations pastors face when we enter a new appointment. One of those is usually initiated by a question like, “We organized a walk around the neighborhood recently (recently, in a local church’s memory, typically reflects a period between 15 and 40 years previously) and we knocked on doors and invited people. Could you organize that soon?” It’s a practice that reflects a world in which people attended the church closest to them. It’s also a practice that reflects a world in which people are looking for a church to attend, in which people are likely to respond positively to a knock on the door and an invitation to attend locally.

That’s just not the world today.

Evangelism looks different now, and I want to address one specific way in which it has changed.

Most of us reading this epistle maintain some degree of Facebook presence. It’s such a widely used social medium that we’ve found it’s our best way to share worship online. And we’ve found that it is important to share worship online. Our Sunday morning services typically reach over 150 people, which is roughly five times the number joining us for in-person worship in this pandemic moment.

Maybe that video service has popped up in your Facebook feed this week. Maybe it hasn’t. It depends on a number of things, among which the specific time you happen to browse your news feed ranks pretty low, actually. Several years ago, Facebook fed its users a stream of status updates that were simply organized chronologically. If you wanted to find what someone had posted three days ago, you’d have to wade through the past three days of updates.

The news feed algorithms are considerably more complicated now.

But if you want to share what we’re doing here, if you want to make our worship and our church more widely known, there is a thing you can do. You can simply like and share our online worship.

It will not only pop up in your timeline and appear in the news feed of folks who follow and pay attention to your online busyness; it will also bring us closer to a number that will automatically trigger a wider sharing of the video on Facebook’s platform.

You have more power than you think.

Why is it that complicated? Golly, I don’t know, but that’s how Facebook is working right now.

I hope you do enjoy what we do in worship and what we offer on our social media. I hope it’s meaningful to you. I hope you’ll take a couple moments to share the things that are meaningful to you. It really does make more of a difference than it seems.

Go evangelize.

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

2nd Sunday of Easter

Words of Greeting and

by Sue Dietz

Responsive Reading
led by Rev. Berg

Psalm 133
adapted from the Common English Bible

Look at how good and pleasing it is
when families live together as one!
It is like expensive oil poured over the head,
running down onto the beard—
Aaron’s beard!—
which extended over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew on Mount Hermon
streaming down onto the mountains of Zion,
because it is there that the Lord has commanded the blessing:
everlasting life.

Opening Hymn
"Christ is Risen"
UMH 307

sung by Phil Haga

Gospel Reading

led by Rev. Berg

John 20:19-31
Common English Bible

It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”

Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”

After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!”

Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.”

Then Jesus did many other miraculous signs in his disciples’ presence, signs that aren’t recorded in this scroll. But these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that believing, you will have life in his name.

Last Week's Sermon

"Thomas and the Power of Doubt"


Rev. Berg

Closing Hymn

"Trust and Obey"
UMH 467

Sung by Phil Haga

The Prayer Vigil has past, but please consider supporting the Austin-East community
with your prayers and contributions.

On behalf of the Holston Conference Staff, our thoughts and prayers go out to the students, teachers, parents, and those living in the Austin-East community. As many of you know this is the fourth shooting in this community and five young people have lost their lives. Tragedies, such as these, can often leave us feeling helpless and at a loss at how we could or should respond. It is easy for us to say things like "our thoughts and prayers are with you," but then it is also easy to walk away and not think about it anymore. However, when we truly lift up our thoughts and prayers concerning the people and events, God has a way of calling us to action. My prayer is that the Spirit of God would move through Holston and stir the hearts of God's people to minister in ways that help abolish tragedies like we have experienced in East Knoxville.

Nearly 5 years ago, our people came together to make a difference in the Smoky Mountains during and after the wildfires. Now there is a new wildfire raging, and it is destroying lives in the East Knoxville area. But as a conference, as the Church, we can make a difference in this area. Here are a few ways you can help:
  • Pray — take time out of your day to ask God to bring healing to this community. Ask God to speak to you and guide you in a way where you can be the hands and feet of Jesus. Ask God to be with those who have been affected the most by these tragedies.
  • Give — The Holston Conference has set up a fund for the churches and ministries within the East Knoxville area. These funds will be used to help our churches in this area establish and/or strengthen their outreach and missional ministries.
  • Attend — Lennon-Seney UMC will be offering a prayer vigil in their parking lot tomorrow, Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 7:00 pm. This service will also be live streamed on the (Special thanks to Cokesbury UMC for making this stream possible.)

If you are interested in giving to the East Knoxville Ministry project, click here to give online, or you may send a check to:

Holston Conference
P.O. Box 850
Alcoa TN 37701

Please mark your check using project #942 East Knoxville Ministry.

Thank you for your prayers, your gifts, and your actions to be the hands and feet of Jesus!

Rev. Dr. Tim Jones
Director of Communications
Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church

This Sunday is Native American Ministries Sunday

The church gratefully accepts a gift to the
Memorial Fund
in memory of John Coppedge
Louise Carver

In addition, a monetary gift was received from
the University of Notre Dame in John's memory
Financial Church Committee Report

As you know, we received a second forgivable small business loan for $16,000 in March.
As of the end of March we have a balance of $10,919. As you can see the expenses will use up the balance within a few months.

Church is open.

Please consider your giving as the church begins
to experience more expenses as we open.

A Note From Our
Lay Leader


At sixes and sevens – Idioms by The Free Dictionary

Do you feel at sixes and sevens? I do not know what to do for sure. I want to go back to leading a “normal” life. BUT I do not want to take a chance of spreading COVID19 to anyone. We do not know whether after both shots and some time we can still give it to others.
With my vaccine shots well established in my body, I do not worry about returning to church, however; I am not sure about going to a movie. I am not worried about going to my yoga class, but I have become comfortable with clearing out the family room and doing yoga with the group on ZOOM. I am tired of wearing a mask, but it is a great excuse to not wear makeup plus I need to wear a mask for others. Yep, sixes and sevens. Am I the only one? I hope not. Is it a tug of war between old and new normal? That just may be it.
For now, I will celebrate the 50 days of Easter. That is something we can do every year no matter what is going on. Please get your vaccine and join me as we move on.

Sue Dietz

Rev. Berg streams morning prayer live on Facebook
on weekday mornings in the 8:00am hour.
Share your prayer requests with him
or join him online.
Holston Conference
The Call is the Holston Conference weekly newsletter.

The Holston Conference offers a daily devotional authored by laity and clergy
from all around the conference.
If you would like a word of encouragement birthed from the Bible and understood through the eyes of East Tennessean and Southwest Virginian United Methodists click on the link below.

Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
to or call Julie at 423.914.9820.
For each publication information is needed by noon on Wednesday.
Calendar of Events
April 15-21, 2021

Sunday, April 18
11:00am-Sunday morning service IN-PERSON and live-streamed on Facebook

Tuesday, April 20

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

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    First United Methodist Church of Bristol Tennessee | 322 Vance Drive, Bristol, TN 37620