Newsletter: Dec 15-21, 2022

First United Methodist Church of Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule

Photo by Penny Hudson

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.

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 18, 2022
Fourth Sunday of Advent

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

Sermon: Give Me a Sign by Rev. Casey Irwin

Photo by Penny Hudson

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

December 11, 2022

Third Sunday of Advent

Prelude: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by Wm. H. Cummings; Phil Haga, organist

Hymn of Praise: 206 – I Want to Walk as a Child in the Light

First Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10

Second Scripture: Matthew 1:1-17

Sermon: Redemption Out of Brokenness by Rev. Casey Irwin

Hymn of Benediction: 213 – Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates

Postlude: Joyful, Joyful Bells are Ringing by D.W.Larson; Phil Haga, organist

Find the worship video and bulletin linked here:

Photo by Penny Hudson

Weather Reminder

As icy winter weather quickly approaches, please use your best judgment for driving to the church in this season. We have the opportunity to worship virtually with Facebook and YouTube recordings, an online bulletin, or a DVD of worship can be requested from Pastor Casey.

Any cancellation of services will be shared no later than 10 AM on our website and Facebook.

Missional Hub Events

As we work on what our shared ministry looks like, a few joint opportunities with South Bristol and Addilyn Memorial are coming up. Please mark your calendars and bring a friend!

Share the joy this season and invite people to the celebration! 

From the Pastor’s Pen

December 15, 2022

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says…..Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” James 1: 22, 27

While many times we work with and give to organizations that have the most widespread resources, sometimes people need the church to be hands on and directly care for others in the name of Christ. Earlier this week, our church was asked to support a local family whose crisis occurred too late in the season to register for Angel Tree and other gifting events. This mother and 2 young girls were left with only a few clothes and items they could exit with quickly during crisis.

 If you are able to share from your own abundance this season, please bring your items to the collection box in the sanctuary by December 21 at the latest. If you are able to wrap your gift, that would be helpful, just attach a removable tag that designates mother, older child, or younger child. 

Older daughter- size 6 clothes, size 1 kid’s shoes

Younger daughter- size 3T clothes, size 9 baby shoes

Both girls love books, play doh, crayons, washable paint and paper.

Mother could use personal care and self-care items, like lotion. 

Or gift cards to target, food city, etc because while she got her EBT card transferred, it doesn’t cover diapers and wipes, cleaning supplies, and medicine.

If anyone is able to help with rides to errands and appointments , or babysitting, please contact Pastor Casey directly and we will connect you with the family. 

Thank you for your willingness to be a blessing and serve the people God loves.

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.

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

On Tuesday, the women’s group had an enjoyable night together, sharing food and fellowship. One of the goals of the New Year is to connect better with all women in the congregation and any friends we might bring in to the fold. We are updating our contact list with current phone numbers and emails. If you’ve never joined us before, we’d love to connect with you! Contact the church or email Suzanne Rollins for more information.

Our next gathering is January 10 at 5:30 PM at the church.

A Note From Our Lay Leader

I follow a blog, Tales from the Farm, about a hobby farm in Pennsylvania.  Yesterday we were led to think about the special moments in our lives.  You know, those times when we see a breathtaking sunset or watch the sun come out after days of rain and fog. We each have those moments whatever the special moment might be.  This time of year seems to bring an abundance of them if we just look. 

Do you watch for your Christmas miracle?  I’ve done that for a few years now.  It usually comes when I’m tired and harried.  Also it takes me a little while to realize it’s happened.  Sometimes it’s in a book I’m reading.  Sometimes it is in downtown Bristol where you can offer a word of care or help to solve a problem.  Sometimes it’s just watching people be good to each other.  We need to keep our eye out for a miracle and cherish it no matter how small it may be. 


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 Counting Teams- Teams of 2 people count the offering together each Sunday and log the results. Weekly or month rotations are available and record sheets are provided.
  • 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 15-21 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 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 (no Sunday school)

January 15

4:00 p.m. Trustees Meeting

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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