Newsletter: Dec 2 – 8, 2022

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 unable to join us for whatever reason, please tune in as we live-stream the service on Facebook.

The CDC has designated our local area as YELLOW (Medium) for COVID-19 transmission this week, so:

> Masks are optional, but recommended if you are high risk for gathering in person – please respect the safety concerns of others. Masks will be available if you forget to bring your own.

> If you are unwell, we hope you will stay home and join our fellowship virtually.

Church Office Hours:

Sundays 2-6 PM

Tuesdays 5-8 PM

Wednesdays 5-8 PM

In-person worship is at 11:00a.m. Sundays in the Sanctuary AND can 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. Irwin on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Email Prayer Chain

If you are interested in being a part of the email prayer chain, please sign up as you exit the sanctuary or email Pastor Casey. The messages will be distributed through our email lists on Realm.

Worship This Week

December 4, 2022

Second Sunday of Advent

Scripture: Matthew 3:1-12

Sermon: Signaling Ahead by Rev. Casey Irwin

Serving This Month


12/4 Jennifer Daniel

12/11 The McGrady Family

12/18 David Swecker and Donna Murray


*Please make arrangements to trade with someone if you will be unable to serve in this way. Any emergency changes can be handled by those present at worship.

Last Sunday at First UMC

November 27, 2022

First Sunday of Advent

Prelude: O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Thomas Helmore; Phil Haga, organist

Hymn of Praise: 196 – A Mighty Fortress is Our God

First Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5

Second Scripture: Matthew 24:36-44

Sermon: Hope is Coming by Rev. Casey Irwin

Hymn of Benediction: 202 – People Look East

Postlude: Hail to the Lord’s Anointed By W.  H. Monk; Phil Haga, organist

Find the worship video and bulletin linked here:

Photo by Rebekah McGrady

Missional Hub Events

Thank you to everyone who was a part of our Thanksgiving Evening Worship Service. We gathered with people from 4 congregations, including our Missional Hub Churches, and several who attended online.

The cookies and snacks were excellent and much appreciated. Thank you for supporting our shared events.

  • Illuminate, a contemporary worship time, will take place Sunday, November 27 and December 11 at 6 PM at Addilyn Memorial.

From the Pastor’s Pen

December 1, 2022

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;” – Isaiah 9:2-3

Advent is a season of anticipating joy in the world. We prepare for Christmas with the religious focus on Jesus; we prepare for holiday traditions with friends and community; we prepare for those joyful moments that become lasting memories. One ongoing tradition in our family stemmed from my grandmother’s love of people. Everyone was welcome at Memaw’s house. For many years, you never knew who would show up for a holiday, a family birthday, or just the regular Tuesday night family dinner. So many of my friends and their families found their way to Memaw’s table (or to her stash of ice cream in the freezer). The most special moments though, came from the times someone needed joy in their life and found it in our “family” circle. As you find your joy in this season, I invite you to “enlarge the nation” of the people you share Advent and Christmas with. Who do you know that needs community this season? Who could be a part of your family circle, if only for one meal or visit?

This Sunday, we are going caroling to several families who have been shut-in due to illness, immuno-compromised concerns, or struggles with movement. We hope to share the joy of the Lord and connect with people we don’t see as often as we used to. If you can’t join in caroling, consider other ways to reach out. Make calls, share baked goods, offer to drive someone to do their gift shopping, or make room for one more at your family table. The light of the world spreads when we let it fill the world beyond ourselves. Jesus’ love spreads when we connect with others in love and joy.

Pastor Casey

Altar Flower Sign Up

Share the beauty of God’s creation as a gift to God and our congregation.

Select your date, and  list your name and any details about the flowers. Examples – “in loving memory of _____”, “in celebration of _____”— or it can simply be a gift to the glory of God. 

  • Cost $50 for a professional arrangement.
  • Label your check or envelope as designated to the altar flower fund, with the date you signed up for. 
  • Deadline for sign up and payment is the Sunday before.
  • You may take the flowers after Sunday service or we will distribute them as we are able. 

Contact Sue Bryngelson or the church office with any questions.

Elk Garden Project

Calling all knitters and crocheters! A Christmas outreach of Elk Garden Community School is to include homemade dishcloths in the December food bags provided. Rev. Valerie Ritter is asking for volunteers or yarn donations. Any pattern will work. Contact Rev. Valerie or our church office with any questions.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

Advent Luncheon at First UMC

Wednesday, December 21, we are hosting the last of the 4 Advent worship and luncheons for Bristol area churches. A sign-up sheet is available on Sundays or contact Pastor Casey to provide part of the meal, desserts, or help serve.

This is a great opportunity to share with our local community and the offering for the 4 weeks will go to Help for Haiti ministries through First UMC.

United Women in Faith

We had a wonderful meeting and dinner this past week with the United Women in Faith, formerly the United Methodist Women. The group made plans to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas support for local school families, and voted on support for Help for Haiti missions.

Our next gathering is December 13 at 5:30 PM.

Trustees Church Improvement Day

Thank you so much for all the work we shared in together! 10 people showed up to beautify our spaces and work on several repairs. We are so thankful for your faithful service and grateful for everyone that worked in the building at a different time. Be on the lookout for the next date in the new year.

A Note From Our Lay Leader

Well, week 2 of Covid has me thinking about how we sometimes misjudge people’s circumstances. Dale and I both have had Covid the last week. Dale, a transplant recipient, is the one we have all watched so carefully due to “lowered immune system.”  Shortly before this hit, a test showed his system was robust after 13 or so years of immunosuppressants.  He is over the symptoms and doing very well.  I’m still a little down.  

Do we judge people by what we think we know about their circumstances?  Are people suffering hurts that should be treated with care by those of us around them?  A word of encouragement and prayer may just be the thing they need to help them through tough times.  Find someone who needs some encouragement this Christmas time. 


Serve with First UMC

What is God calling you to do? What ministries bring you joy?

First UMC is adding volunteers to serve on rotations for:

  • Liturgist– read the Sunday Announcements, Responsive Reading, or other speaking opportunities
  • Sunday Ushers– Assist people before and after worship with seating and questions. Weekly or monthly rotation as needed.
  • Offering Counters- Teams of two unrelated people count the offering immediately following worship and record the totals on the provided spreadsheet. Join in this simple task to be a part of keeping our finances healthy.
  • Videographer– It’s easier than it sounds! If you’re not familiar with Facebook Live, Pastor Casey or another leader will have the account open for you– just click “Go Live” and rotate the tripod if we need a different camera angle
  • Administrative TasksChoose one or several areas to serve– proofread the bulletin, check the church voicemail, run DVD and newsletter copies weekly for shut ins, address church mailers.
  • Gardening and Weeding– You choose your schedule to maintain a beautiful and inviting environment at our building.

Reply here via email or check with Pastor Casey for more opportunities to use your gifts in God’s Kingdom.

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

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

Giving to Ministries at First UMC

What can I give towards?

  • General Fund- monthly expenses for upkeep and ministries
  • Designated Gifts- towards a specific project or ministry
  • Missions Giving- to a specific mission or a general gift to be split among our mission partners

How often should I give?

  • Everyone manages their funds differently. Some give weekly when they attend worship. Other families give monthly when their income is deposited. Still others give at varying times to match a need or a project.

Our only request is that you prayerfully consider how God has called you to support the church and ministries with your fund. We challenge you to be good and faithful stewards of what is entrusted to you.

How can I give?

  • In person
    • Offering envelope booklets are available for you to take home. Each include 53 undated envelopes for weekly giving, or spread them out over time if you give on a different schedule. Please pick up yours from the rear of the sanctuary.
    • Offering envelopes have returned to the pews as well. If you forget yours, please take one for identifying your giving.
  • Digitally
    • ACH – contact us directly for a confidential form. This type of giving will automatically withdraw the amount your choose directly from your bank account
    • With online giving you can contribute from your checking account, or give with a debit or credit card. You also have the option to make your gift recurring.
      • Website: or any of the “Give Online” buttons
      • Text: from your cell phone, text FIRSTUMCBRISTOL to 73256. This will open up a link for you to choose how you give.

Calendar of Events

December 2-8, 2022


9:30 a.m. Sunday School

11:00 a.m. Morning Worship

– We are following the CDC Guidelines for in person gatherings – we will publish the recommended precautions each week in this newsletter and on our facebook page.

7:00 p.m. AA Meetings


7:00 p.m. AA Meetings


7:00 p.m. AA Meetings

December 4

12:15 p.m. Lunch and Christmas Caroling to Shut-ins

December 11

4:00 p.m. Trustees Meeting

December 21

12:00 p.m. Advent Luncheon at First UMC

December 24

5:00 p.m. Candlelight Christmas Eve Worship

December 25

11:00 a.m. Sunday Worship

January 22

12:15 p.m. Administrative Board Meeting

First United Methodist Church
Rev. Casey Irwin, Pastor
322 Vance Dr., Bristol, TN 37620 423-652-2811

Our Vision – Building A Community Where Anyone Can Become A Deeply Committed Christian

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