Newsletter: May 6-12

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

6th Sunday of Easter

May 9th, 2021
John 15:9-17
"Abide in My Love"

Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor's Pen

I adore that Jesus makes a valiant effort at calming the disciples’ terror when he appears out of nowhere in their locked little room. He had to know that wouldn’t work. They’ve had a nightmare of a weekend (nothing compared to what he’d been through, but they couldn’t possibly know that) and their emotions are all askew by the impossible news Mary has just proclaimed to them. Suddenly he pops in out of thin air.

Peace be with you.

I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about peace recently. Or maybe I’ve just been hoping and praying for peace recently. We have increased awareness of violence against people of color, a massive attack on the capital, vitriol in every public sphere we encounter, and warring factions ripping The United Methodist Church to pieces. We need peace.

I’ve been thinking about where peace could come from.

What we’ve been practicing frequently to make peace is a band aid. We make truces and agreements to stop fighting, but they don’t fix the fundamental problems between people. Over the past decade or more, our UMC has tried instituting Holy Conferencing in small groups so that we can safely practice reflective listening and learning from people whose experience and opinions differ from ours. Those efforts don’t tend to go badly, but they don’t result in any sort of change, because all we tend to do is be polite to each other instead of screaming at each other.

So how do we actually make effective and lasting peace?

Well, it looks to me like the thing we’re failing to do is understand what another person is experiencing. It’s a fundamental part of following Jesus that we just refuse. It feels weak in a culture that constantly teaches us that winning and defeating everyone else is the primary goal.

The primary ingredient of peace is empathy.

I’m not going to invite you to reflect on that idea. We’ve had just about enough reflection. I’m going to invite (beg? compel? command?) you to live it. Live it and spread it. Without it, nothing’s going to change. Our conflicts are only going to get worse. But with it, everything will change.

With peace grown from empathy, I’m pretty sure we’ll see the ushering of God’s kin-dom.

How cool would that be?


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

5th Sunday of Easter

Words of Greeting and

by Sue Dietz

Responsive Reading
led by Rev. Berg

Psalm 22
adapted from the Common English Bible

I offer praise in the great congregation
because of you;
I will fulfill my promises
in the presence of those who honor God.
Let all those who are suffering eat and be full!
Let all who seek the Lord praise the Divine!
I pray your hearts live forever!
Every part of the earth
will remember and come back to the Lord;
every family among all the nations will worship you.
Because the right to rule belongs to the Lord,
our God rules all nations.
Indeed, all the earth’s powerful
will worship God;
all who are descending to the dust
will kneel before the Lord;
my being also lives for God.
Future descendants will serve the Divine;
generations to come will be told about my Lord.
They will proclaim God’s righteousness
to those not yet born,
telling them what God has done.

Opening Hymn
"Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"
UMH 384

sung by Phil Haga

New Testament Reading

Acts 8:26-40
Common English Bible

An angel from the Lord spoke to Philip, “At noon, take the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) So he did. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian man was on his way home from Jerusalem, where he had come to worship. He was a eunuch and an official responsible for the entire treasury of Candace. (Candace is the title given to the Ethiopian queen.) He was reading the prophet Isaiah while sitting in his carriage. The Spirit told Philip, “Approach this carriage and stay with it.”

Running up to the carriage, Philip heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?”
The man replied, “Without someone to guide me, how could I?” Then he invited Philip to climb up and sit with him. This was the passage of scripture he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent
so he didn’t open his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was taken away from him.
Who can tell the story of his descendants
because his life was taken from the earth?

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself or someone else?” Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. As they went down the road, they came to some water.

The eunuch said, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Lord’s Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found himself in Azotus. He traveled through that area, preaching the good news in all the cities until he reached Caesarea.

Gospel Reading

led by Rev. Berg

John 15:1-8
Common English Bible

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.

Last Week's Sermon

"Who's in Charge"


Rev. Alan Gorrell

Closing Hymn

"Lord, I Want to be a Christian"
UMH 402

Sung by Phil Haga

Grief Support Group…

Coming Soon

State Street UMC Bristol, VA is pleased to announce that a new support group is forming that will focus on grief and loss. It will meet via Zoom on Thursdays.

See the link below for information and a registration link.

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

Which Side Are You On?

No, I am not talking politics, I am talking states! Last week was wild for us. It started with washing at least a million Kleenex and ended with a problem about which side of Bristol we were using! We are still picking tissue out of towels and clothes, but the state problem has been solved. As many of you know, my husband had a liver transplant at the University of Virginia for cancer several years ago. There is one medication he can NOT miss. It was time to renew that prescription. We got The Call. Due to legal coverage, they can only prescribe medications in Virginia. We have worked with Anderson’s in Tennessee ever since the transplant. They have seen me through times of tears and times of low supplies of the medication. I am not leaving them. Period. UVA now must send the prescription to Kroger. Then Anderson can pull the prescription from Kroger and fill it as usual. Kind of ridiculous yes, necessary absolutely to continue having all medications at one place. Next, we must find out if Dale can have his annual meeting with his doctor via computer here at our house in Tennessee! Bother yes, but it is the rule.
I am glad that God gave us the Ten Commandments and Jesus told us it is all based on love for God, for ourselves, and for our neighbor. Not always easy to do, but easy to understand. I think that if we follow the rules, we are expressing love for God and for our fellow man. I wish the states could figure that out too.

Sue Dietz

To donate to the current pandemic crisis in India, Global Ministries will again promote its UMCOR COVID-19 Response Fund (Advance #3022612). Gifts can be made online or sent by mail to Global Ministries/UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. (“Advance #3022612” should be written on the memo line.)

From the Finance Committee

The April report is still positive.

We have dipped into our PPP forgivable loan for $6,787 so far.
This leaves $8,805 from the loan and no other funds in the general fund.

Giving from the congregation is down.
To be able to return to more normal times this trend needs to change.
If you would prefer to have your gifts taken out electronically, the bank can make that possible.

The tailgate has been cancelled for May 7 due to
the wet and chilly weather forecast.

Let’s see what Friday, May 14 looks like weather wise.
Hope to see you soon.

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
322 Vance Drive, Bristol, TN 37620
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
May 6-12, 2021

Sunday, May 9
11:00am-Sunday morning service IN-PERSON and live-streamed on Facebook

Tuesday, May 11

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

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