Newsletter: September 16-22, 2021

First United Methodist Church of Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule

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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.

Christ with Children by Christopher Santer

September 19, 2021

Mark 9:30-37

“A Low Profile Moment”
Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor’s Pen
 September 16, 2021

Eshet chayil

Who can find eshet chayil?

This is probably the last time I’ll publicly focus on the book of Proverbs for a while. I’m thinking about this because it’s one of our Lectionary texts this week, and I want to handle it here rather than in the pulpit. I want to offer you a lens through which to read the last chapter.

A typical translation asks, Who can find a capable or competent wife?

It’s astounding just how profoundly that shortchanges that little phrase, eshet chayil. Our translations assume, first, a typified relationship that a woman ought to have within a familial context, which is not a relationship reflected frequently within our scriptures. It also severely narrows the meaning of the word, which refers to a female person, exclusive of relationship.

Second, “capable” or “competent” are possibly the shallowest understandings of the Hebrew we might be able to come up with. “Strong” would be better. “Valiant” or perhaps “virtuous” might lean into it all right. Or maybe we should focus on characters like Supergirl or Wonder Woman or Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for uprightness, courage, and valor.

Woman of valor.

But here’s the third thing: this is a biblical song memorized by the spouses of Jewish women, traditionally, and sung (yes, sung) to them to honor them, and that’s important and beautiful; but we have to remember that this poem is the closing song of a book extolling the virtues of a character who transcends humanity, not one simply located in a specific space and time. Proverbs is a book about Wisdom who cries out in the market square, trying to connect to humanity. It is a book that personifies Wisdom in such a vivid way that we boldly name her the same breath that moves over the waters of creation and alights on the apostles at Pentecost: the very Spirit of God.

It is a hymn in praise of Wisdom.

Who can find Wisdom, that Woman of Valor? Who can find the Holy Spirit?
Better still, who can embody her?

She is certainly not meek and submissive. She is not the doting wife. She is confident, kind, resourceful, generous, industrious, courageous, creative, and beloved of those who know her.
Can you embody that? I think it’s worth the effort.


*I lean heavily on the work of Rachel Held Evans for this week’s observation. Find her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, wherever you find excellent reads.

Last Sunday at First UMC

16th Sunday After Pentecost

September 12, 2021

Responsive Reading: Proverbs 1:20-33

Gospel: Mark 8:27-38

Sermon: Wisdom Cries Out

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.

From the Finance Committee:

Red Number Report from Finance

As of September 1, we were-$9,929.91 in our General Fund.  There are no more loans to count on.  If you have not had the opportunity to give to the church, please consider donating at this time.  There are three months left in our fiscal year to change the report to BLACK Numbers.

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

Portrait or Landscape?

If you are a painter, you think faces and trees.  If you are on the computer, you think vertically and horizontally.  Both make sense.  I feel as if we are a country of part “painters” and part “computer users.”  We hear the same words but interpret them differently.  When I heard this question, I was a painter.”  How about you?  Are we speaking the same language?

Thank goodness our Good News is clear…Love one another as we love ourselves.  We have different Bible versions, but they give us the same message.  We heard about Wisdom this last Sunday.  I think Wisdom always puts love at the forefront when she speaks to us quietly.  So when you are confused as to what the answer might be, listen to Wisdom. 

Send Your Pictures, News, and Announcements to Publish in the Newsletter

For each publication, information is needed by noon on Wednesday.

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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 16

8:00pm – AA

Sunday, Sept 19

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

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

8:00pm – AA

Tuesday, Sept 20


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

One thought

  1. Brandon,
    Great commentary on the final chapter of Proverbs, “The Virtuous Woman” or RSV, “the good wife.”
    Both of my women, my wife and daughter are strong personalities that fit the biblical description of
    women who are strong. Thanks for insight from commentary. Mike T.


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