Newsletter: May 13-19

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee
Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
May 13-19, 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.

7th Sunday of Easter

May 16th, 2021
Luke 24:44-53
"You Are Witnesses"

Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor's Pen

I’m a bit excited about some weeks of worship coming up. I’m really pumped to be bringing Joyce Moore and Melissa Wright into the pulpit in June, because I deeply value their approach and experience in the ways they differ from mine. I hope you enjoy the perspective of people whose histories aren’t like yours. We learn so much more from their voices than from all those neighbors who sound more like us.

But that’s not all I’m excited about. I’m also excited because I’m looking beyond June and into this Summer with our upcoming stories. We have about ten weeks of stories about David just around the corner!

I get excited about David for much the same reason I get excited about Peter. They are complex, rich, deeply flawed characters. David does some really nasty stuff, but he also has some incredible high points. If you haven’t ever discovered that, I encourage you to go read his story again. Don’t wait for June when his story comes around to worship. Go dig in now. Don’t read him as scripture; read him as story. Read his motivation. Read his emotion. Read the way everyone around him experiences his enormous personality. Put yourself in their shoes. Put yourself in his shoes. Read the psalms that unambiguously refer to him (not all of them do) and hear his voice coming through them, too.

Seriously, go read ahead. Start in 1 Samuel 15 and take your time working through the next volume. It’s probably okay to skip some bits in 1 Samuel, actually, because a lot of it’s still about Saul, but there are some really important bits that you won’t want to miss. But take your time. Try to set aside all the Sunday School lessons you learned about David’s piety and God’s plan. Just let yourself fall into the story this time.

David is a fun character to dive into. I hope you’re looking forward to walking through his story this year. Is there a character whose story you just can’t get enough of? Is there somebody in these old, old stories you’d like to have coffee with or wander around a golf course with? What connects you with them?

I’d love to hear your stories, too.


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

6th Sunday of Easter

Words of Greeting and

by Sue Dietz

Responsive Reading
led by Rev. Berg

Psalm 98
adapted from the Common English Bible

Sing to the Lord a new song
because the Lord has done wonderful things!
God’s own strong hand and holy arm
have won the victory!
The Lord has made salvation widely known;
the Lord has revealed divine righteousness
in the eyes of all the nations.
God has remembered loyal divine love
and faithfulness to the house of Israel;
every corner of the earth has seen our God’s salvation.

Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth!
Be happy!
Rejoice out loud!
Sing your praises!
Sing your praises to the Lord with the lyre—
with the lyre and the sound of music.
With trumpets and a horn blast,
shout triumphantly before the Lord, the king!
Let the sea and everything in it roar;
the world and all its inhabitants too.
Let all the rivers clap their hands;
let the mountains rejoice out loud altogether before the Lord
who is coming to establish justice on the earth!
The Lord will establish justice in the world rightly;
the Lord will establish justice among all people fairly.

Opening Hymn
"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
UMH 400

sung by Phil Haga

New Testament Reading

John 15:9-17
New Revised Standard Version

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

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

"Abide in My Love"


Rev. Brandon Berg

Closing Hymn

"The Summons"
TFWS 2130

Sung by Phil Haga

Mother’s Day Proclamation

written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870

read by Rebekah McGrady

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Grief Support Group…

Recovery at Bristol is pleased to announce the formation of a new support group focusing on grief and loss. It will meet online via Zoom immediately following the Recovery Praise Service which begins each Thursday at 7 p.m. We plan for this group to transition to an In-Person group when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

The group will be led by Melissa Wright, LMSW. Melissa is a social worker and active member of First United Methodist Church in Bristol. She has a focus on grief counseling and brings a great deal of experience.

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

Our House Talked –

When I was young, I belonged to a record club. One of the records featured sounds that a house makes when no one is there. It featured musical instruments playing different bits of music and combined it turned into a symphony. I think we have just had our house talk to us. First mice were discovered in the attic. The solution was new insulation which we needed anyway. We then discovered our heating and cooling system was not working! I was sure something had just been unplugged during the installation. Wrong! A safety alarm had shut down the system when the water pan did not empty. That kept the pan from spilling over and coming down through the ceiling.
Last Saturday reminded me of the signals we had from the house. Maybe you can identify. First was the cleaning of a closet to change over from cold weather to warm weather clothes. This got Dale started on his closet. Tom Sawyer knew what he was doing when he painted that fence. The rest of the day I just kept doing more. Remember the warning signal on the water pan? Well, I kept insisting we get the garbage out. Only problem is we do it on Sunday evening. Dale was smart, he just did not do it. I did not realize it until Sunday morning. I was so tired I had forgotten what day it was! Sunday I rested.
We have been given useful guides such as observing a sabbath and a time for everything. Out of each seven days we need a day of rest. As we age, we need to listen to the signs we get from our bodies. Just because we can not always keep the pace we once did, we have gained other skills we can share, and we can be realistic about what we can do. Isn’t it nice you can pray being quiet?

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.)
Here's a link to The Call,
 the weekly email newsletter from the Holston Conference

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 13-19, 2021

Sunday, May 16
11:00am-Sunday morning service IN-PERSON and live-streamed on Facebook

Tuesday, May 18

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