Newsletter: September 9-15, 2021

First United Methodist Church of Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule

Photo by Rebekah McGrady

Welcome to In-Person Worship Again….

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 continuously.

> 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.

Holy Spirit Painting by Painted Christ on Society6

September 12, 2021

Mark 7:24-37

“Wisdom Cries Out”
Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor’s Pen
 September 9, 2021

What am I doing to end cycles of violence?

It has been twenty years since news reached me in a windowless basement office of the Ramsey Regional Activities Center at Western Carolina University that the twin towers in New York City were burning and collapsing. I had no television, spotty cellular service, and perhaps you’ll remember that the internet in 2001 was a bit less zippy than it is today. I knew Karoline was working from home that morning, so I called her to draw her attention to the news.

It took very little time for credit for the attacks to be claimed by Al Qaeda, and angry, violent rhetoric began poisoning the air on campus even more quickly. That seemed like an ill-informed response to me, though. We, as a nation, had superimposed ourselves on regional conflicts in the Middle East, forcing our ideologies and politics on cultures for whom they fit like round pegs in square holes. Frustration at our bullying had been building for generations.

Of course they lashed out. We should have expected that.

Twenty years later, that is still an unpopular opinion to share. But it is the only opinion that makes sense to me as a follower of the Prince of Peace.

My faith is not a private concern. My faith is in a God who is bringing all creation around to a realm of relationship and unconditional love. My faith is in a Spirit being breathed into all flesh, not just a predestined few. My faith is in a Savior who has shown us exactly how to bring heaven into reality, who is embodied in every Way that is defined by and leads to peace.

I hold political structures accountable to means and ends that love our neighbors, because that is their vocation regardless of their particular creed. I call our communities and organizations to the same means and ends. I expect exactly the same out of individuals.

Violence has no place in any political or social sphere. Violence is only ever a means toward violence.

We have to do better.

Spread the word. Practice nonviolence everywhere you go. Show everyone there is a better Way.

Folks will follow if you lead. God’s peace will break through. It’s up to you.


Last Sunday at First UMC

15th Sunday After Pentecost

September 5, 2021

Prelude: Sweet Hour of Prayer by Wm. Bradberry, Phil Haga, organist

Hymn: Morning Has Broken UMH 145

Responsive Reading: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

Gospel: Mark 7:24-37

Sermon: The Faith of the Overlooked

Hymn: Open My Eyes, That I May See UMH 454

Postlude: People of Christ Arise by Charles Lang

Phil Haga, organist

Find the order of service here

and come pray with Rev. Berg here.

Morning Prayer

Rev. Berg streams morning prayer live on Facebook on weekday mornings in the 8:00 am hour.
Share your prayer requests with him or join him online.

Earthquake in Haiti

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday, August 14.  This was followed by torrential rains from tropical storm Grace which hampered rescue efforts.  The latest statistics show that nearly 2,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the earthquake, with many more injured.  Add to this news the fact that Haiti is dealing with the covid-19 pandemic and political instability. 

We have heard the good news that the children from the Help for Haiti Children’s Shelter are safe.  The area where members of our church family, Leferne and Melila Preptit, are from is in a location that was in the earthquake’s path.  There is an immediate need for basic medical necessities. 

Leferne plans to travel to Haiti as soon as he can make arrangements and he is hoping to take extra luggage filled with as many supplies as he can pack to aid with the relief efforts.

Below is a list of requested items.  There will be a collection box in the church narthex for those wanting to bring their donated items on Sundays until Leferne is able to travel to Haiti.

Haiti Earthquake Relief 

  • Acetaminophen 500 mg
  • Tylenol 500 mg
  • Advil
  • Aspirin
  • Aleve
  • Zyrtec for allergy
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Ibuprofen
  • Imodium A-D Anti-Diarrheal caplets and soft gels
  • Plastic for Tent
  • Toothpastes
  • Towels and hand towels
  • Blanket sheets
  • Bar Soaps

Rev. Berg is leading the Wednesday 6pm study. Sign up here.

It’s Charge Conference Time!

Charge Conference is the Election Season of the local United Methodist Church. The mission and the membership (that’s you!) of the local church is represented in the work of multiple teams, including (but not limited to):

Administrative Council

Finance Committee

Board of Trustees

Staff Parish Relations Committee

Lay Leadership Committee

Missions Team

Worship Team

I hope you’ll do a handful of things in preparation for this year’s Charge Conference.

  1. Pray. We need the power and guidance of your prayer for us, but also because prayer (as noted below) guides you to…
  2. Get Involved. The gifts you bring to Christ’s Body are unique and beautiful and important. You see the needs of our community and the gifts of our church in a way that nobody else does, and we need your voice, your hands, and your feet.
  3. Be Present. Charge Conference is the one regularly scheduled time we, as a church, are democratic. This is when your vote counts loudly and clearly. This is also when we get to see what ministries and miracles other churches around us are celebrating, and that’s an exciting thing to hear!

So put Charge Conference on your calendar, and in the meantime, talk to your Lay Leadership Committee about how God is nudging you to get involved and active at FUMC Bristol this year. We need to hear from you.

The Lay Leadership Committee is:

Brandon Berg

Sue Dietz

Sandy Gorrell

Trinka Felty

A Note From Our Lay Leader

Where were you?

This is a week of thinking about where “you were” twenty years ago.  I remember that question for the awful day in 1963 when a president was assassinated.  I hear that as we talk about family history, both the good and the not so good stuff.  We have certain days that we may not remember the year but we remember what happened.As I look back I see how I’ve changed not so much by those eventful dates but by everyday life.  As we have moved I have heard and shared new ways of thinking and acting.  Hugging wasn’t the thing done in places where I lived.  Now I miss those hugs as we are apart.

Each of us has changed in some way or many.  I hope as we come back together we will welcome those changes or at least try to understand them in each other.  I’m not the same person I was a year and a half ago. You are not the same person you were either.  Let us try to understand differences between us and treasure those things upon which we agree.  God gave us the ability to think and to love.  Let us exercise both.

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Calendar of Events

Sept 9-15, 2021

Sundays 6:08 pm

Bristol Hub Youth at Reynolds Memorial UMC

Wednesdays 6:00 pm

Book Study
Lee Camp’s Scandalous Witness: A Little Political Manifesto for Christians

Live on Zoom. Sign up through the Southern Christian Coalition.

Thursday, Sept 9

8:00pm – AA

King Institute for Faith and Culture Lecture Series: Hannah Rappleye, Investigative Reporter, NBC News

10:00 a.m. Memorial Chapel Water, Spirit, Truth: Serving Others through the Calling of Journalism

7:00 p.m. Sinking Spring Presbyterian, Abingdon Faith, Blood, Bone: Connecting with Others through the Art of Storytelling

Sunday, Sept 12

11:00am – Sunday Service at FUMC and available for viewing on Facebook and You Tube

8:00pm – AA

Monday, Sept 13

King Institute for Faith and Culture Lecture Series: Vincent Bacote, Professor of Theology & Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics Wheaton College

9:15 a.m. Memorial Chapel Learning from Looking Back

7:00 p.m. First Baptist Church, Bristol VA Loving All of Our Neighbors

Tuesday, Sept 14


Sept 19

3:00pm – Clinch Mountain District Conference at Reynolds Memorial UMC

Sept 26

Guest Preacher: Reverend Beth Tipton, Campus Minister, Wesley Foundation at UVA-Wise

4:00pm – Board of Trustees

October 13

King Institute for Faith and Culture Lecture Series: Maria Liston, Professor of Anthropology, University of Waterloo

7:00 p.m. Central Presbyterian Church, Bristol VA Looking Back to Earlier Pandemics: Plagues, Pestilence, and the Origins of the Hospital in Early Christian Thebes, Greece

October 14

10:00 a.m. Memorial Chapel A Tale of Two Wells: Mothers, Midwives, and Infant Mortality in Ancient Greece 

Nov 14

2:30pm – Charge Conference: Bristol Missional Hub at John Wesley UMC

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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