Newsletter: Dec 22-28, 2022

First United Methodist Church of Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto on

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 24, 2022

Scripture: Luke 2:1-20

Sermon: He is Here by Rev. Casey Irwin

December 25, 2022

Scriptures: Luke 2:1-7      Isaiah 52:7-10          Luke 2:8-20          John 1:1-14

Join us for a Sunday of Christmas Lessons and Carols

Photo by Bich Tran on

Serving This Month


12/4 Jennifer Daniel

12/11 The McGrady Family

12/18 David Swecker and Donna Murray

12/24 Alan Gorrell

Serving in January


1/1 Sue Dietz

1/8 Dawn Shores

1/15 McGradys



*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 18, 2022

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Prelude: Sing We Now of Christmas by Martin Shaw; Phil Haga, organist

Hymn of Praise: 240 – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

First Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-16

Second Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

Sermon: Give Me A Sign by Rev. Casey Irwin

Hymn of Benediction: 218 – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Postlude: Christ Child is Coming by Carlton Young; 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.

Thank you!

To everyone who assisted through donating food, time, and sharing your talents for our Advent Luncheon, thank you. We hosted such a large group of Methodists and their friends from all over Bristol.

To everyone who shared gifts for the family in crisis, thank you for your time in shopping and wrapping. You have eased their burden and shown them support and grace during a season of brokenness.

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

From the Pastor’s Pen

December 22, 2022

“I thank my God for every remembrance of you, always in every one of my prayers for all of you, praying with joy for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:3-6

These first 6 months with you at First UMC have been such a gift. I have enjoyed hearing the history of our church, learned so much about your families and your lives of faith. I have watched you reach out to my children and support my family as well. Thank you for giving of yourselves as we have all learned to do ministry together. I am truly humbled and blessed to serve as your pastor. From our family to yours, thank you and Merry Christmas!

A couple of upcoming notes:

  • Christmas Eve Service is at 5 PM on Saturday. 
  • Christmas Day Service is at 11 AM on Sunday. 

We will stream both services if you would like to participate from a distance.

  • I will be taking time off from December 26 – January 1. This includes the first Sunday of the New Year. I am looking forward to a brief time away from preaching and teaching for some much needed Sabbath. 

May your Christmas be filled with the peace of Christ and your New Year be filled with the hope of new beginnings.

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.

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 22-28 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 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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