Newsletter: April 29-May 5

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
April 29-May 5, 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.

  • 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.

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.

5th Sunday of Easter

May 2nd, 2021
fumage (smoke and ink)
Jeff Gorrell, artist
John 15:1-8
"Who's in Charge"

Rev. Alan Gorrell

From the Pastor's Pen

Quite a few people are offering commentaries around the theme “post-pandemic x will not be the same as pre-pandemic x.” They’re probably right. The world has changed. Some of the changes could have been predicted. Some were quite overdue. Some were painful. Some things I had hoped might change stubbornly refused to.

I think it’s going to take some time before we realize just how many things have, in fact, transformed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the very least, it’s going to take some time for everything that was upturned to settle back into a place and give us a sense of the shifted landscape. That settling will take even longer if a large number of folks continue to refuse to get vaccinated against the virus.

I spend a lot of worry looking at our attendance, our participation, our giving, and our ongoing ministries and wondering exactly where and when that settling will happen. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason to expect that any of those things will come back up to a level we saw before the pandemic. After all, several of the ministries that we prided ourselves on were already facing considerable challenges before the world shut down. What happens to them now that they have been paused for more than a year?

I won’t begin to suggest that we are in a uniquely troubling situation at First Bristol. Most churches face very similar challenges to ours. We are not alone, and we should not act like we are alone. We are, after all, United Methodists. We exist and thrive in connection. We do our most powerful work not when we are standing on our own, but when we are partnering with our siblings across the Missional Hub, across the District, across the Conference, and across the globe. Maybe what we need to grab onto is a revitalized sense of that connection, a partnering with other folks who have similar missional foci and passions.

It is my sincere hope and prayer that First Bristol retain and grow our missional heritage. That is more exciting to me than any other single characteristic of our church. We have a strong practice of reaching out in active compassion to our community that rivals what – oh, I don’t know – 80% of other churches do. Gosh, that’s probably a low estimate. I can’t imagine how one might measure that.

I hope that’s something you treasure, too. I hope you’ll be part of it. I hope you’ll help rebuild. I hope you’ll help us connect with the missional opportunities you’re passionate about.

That’s how we’re going to come out of the pandemic a healthy church, I think. That’s how we can differentiate ourselves from everybody else who is still doing worship and going online and offering Bible studies and learning Zoom and Google Meets and whatever else.

We are a missional church. Let’s reclaim that heritage.

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

4th Sunday of Easter

Words of Greeting and

by Andrew McGrady

Responsive Reading
led by Rev. Berg

Psalm 23
adapted from the Common English Bible

The Lord is my shepherd.
I lack nothing.
The Lord lets me rest in grassy meadows;
the Lord leads me to restful waters
and keeps me alive.
The Lord guides me in proper paths
for the sake of the good name of the Divine.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
they protect me.

You set a table for me
right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
my cup is so full it spills over!
Yes, goodness and faithful love
will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the Lord’s house
as long as I live.

Opening Hymn
"Oh, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing"
UMH 57

sung by Phil Haga

Gospel Reading

led by Rev. Berg

John 10:11-18
Common English Bible

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.

“This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

Last Week's Sermon



Rev. Berg

Closing Hymn

"Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us"
UMH 381

Sung by Phil Haga

Grief Support Group…

There is a Grief Support Group in the process of
forming locally.
See the link below for information and a registration link.


The church gratefully receives a donation to the Memorial Fund in memory of
John Coppedge
Amy Reid
Annual Conference Schedule Change

Be sure to check out for all the latest news concerning
2021 Annual Conference schedules.

The new Annual Conference Schedule is as follows:

June 8, 2021 | VIRTUAL Clergy Session: ZoomWebinar-2:00pm

June 12, 2021 | VIRTUAL Annual Conference: Zoom Webinar-1:00pm

August 27, 2021 | Memorial Service: First Broad Street UMC-3:00pm

August 27, 2021 | Ordination Service: First Broad Street UMC- 7:00pm

August 28, 2021 | In-Person Annual Conference:
MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center – 12:00 – 6:00 pm

A Note From Our
Lay Leader

How are you doing?

I read an article that said those of us who have been vaccinated are either ready to party or are afraid to go out of the house. Dale and I decided we are in the middle. No big parties, but not be afraid of being with others who have been vaccinated. I do not mind wearing a mask still. I feel it is my duty to protect others in case I can transfer Covid19 or to set a good example. This past Sunday we went to our daughter and son-in-law’s home to watch a NE Community College drama production being streamed and then to have dinner. I cannot tell you what that time with Amy and Beau and away from our routine did to restore me.
This past week has been a little crazy with freezing temperatures and cloudy rainy weather. The predicted 70’s sound wonderful. I am wondering when we can start tailgating again. Those of us who met on Friday evenings on the church porch had a great time and none of us got sick. How about we watch the temperatures and if weather is warm enough let’s meet the first Friday in May, May 7. We will send out an all-church email on that Friday to let you know it is a go. You will need to bring your own food and seating. We will be on the Sparger side of the church. Do not forget your mask just in case. (Mine is working well for spring allergies!)
Hope to see you in church and at the tailgate. It won’t be a wild party but we will go out of the house.

Sue Dietz

on weekday mornings in the 8:00am hour.
Share your prayer requests with him
or join him online.
Remember that you can mail your offering or bring it to the church at
or give online at
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 29-May 5, 2021

Sunday, May 2
11:00am-Sunday morning service IN-PERSON and live-streamed on Facebook

Tuesday, May 4

First United Methodist Church
Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor (276.237.6498)
Our Vision
Building A Community Where Anyone Can Become A Deeply Committed Christian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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