Newsletter: May 4-10, 2023

First United Methodist Church of Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule

Welcome to First UMC! We are so blessed by your part in our faith community.

In-person worship is at 11:00a.m. Sundays in the Sanctuary AND can be viewed on the church YouTube page or through the link on the church Facebook page.

Church Office Hours:

Sundays 2-6 PM

Tuesdays 5-8 PM

Wednesdays 5-8 PM

Connect to Rev. Irwin email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The CDC has designated our area as

GREEN (LOW) for COVID-19 transmission this week, so:
> Masks are optional for gathering in person – please respect the safety concerns of others. Masks will be available if you forget to bring your own.
> Sanitize the spaces you use
> If you are unwell, we hope you will stay home and join our fellowship virtually.

Email Prayer Chain

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

Worship This Week

May 7, 2023

Scriptures:  1 Peter 4:7-11   1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Sermon: Live to Serve: From Our Giftedness by Rev. Casey Irwin

Serving This Month


5/7 Sue Dietz

5/14 Dawn Shores

5/21 KB Irwin

5/28 Alan Gorrell

Serving In June


6/4 Phil Haga

6/11 Dawn Shores



*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

United Women in Faith

Our next meeting is May 9 at 5:30 pm. Bring your own dinner and join us for some fellowship, mission, and treats!

Read Chapter 2 of our book study this month!

Chancel Choir News

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord! Everyone is invited to be a part of the choir. We share simple, high quality songs so that the trained and untrained singers all have a way to share their gifts. 

Next presentation – Sunday, May 14

Rehearsals are immediately following 11 a.m. worship – April 23, 30 and May 7
Contact Phil with any questions.

Breakthrough Prayer

Holston Annual Conference has invited all churches that are remaining United Methodist to join together in praying for God’s best in our midst. Pray with all the UMC across our region as we see what God can do when we all seek together:

From the Pastor’s Pen

May 3, 2023

This past week, the Bristol Herald Courier reported on poverty levels in our area. On the Tennessee side, Bristol city and Sullivan County both show approximately 50% of families that are economically secure. Let that sink in for a moment. In our local area, 50% of the families are struggling financially. 

Struggling doesn’t mean they’ve lost a little bit of an investment or are irritated at inflation. Struggling means choosing which bill to pay on time and which one to delay. Struggling means that rather than griping about rising restaurant prices, these families are unable to afford restaurants or even groceries. Struggling means that rising gas prices leave the families stranded. Struggling means stress and fear and instability. 

Why am I harping on this? Our calling as Christians is to aid people having life abundantly. However, a lot of our work stays focused only on the emotional or intellectual. It’s easier to use words than actually do something. Yet God instructs us again and again to love our neighbors as much as ourselves. If you love yourself, you feed yourself. So why not feed your neighbors? 

We want to grow our reach in missions by caring for our neighbors. Some good first steps include:

  • donate non-perishable food items and funds for emergency utility assistance to Bristol Faith in Action or Family Promise
  • donate gently used clothing and school supplies to our local school buildings for their emergency needs
  • donate gas and grocery gift cards to our emergency fund at First, for assisting any requests to our congregation

All of these can be done through First, and our missions team will make sure the items are delivered. Join me in being the hands and feet of Christ as we love our neighbors actively.

Pastor Casey

A message from our Bishop

Dear Friends,

It was great to see so many of you at the April 22 Called Annual Conference. Though a hard day as 264 of our churches disaffiliated, our worship, business and vision-casting were meaningful and Christ-honoring. We said goodbye to people and churches near and dear to us, grieving their departure while simultaneously wishing them the best.

Now, it is time to write the next chapter of Holston Conference history, built on who you are, who we are together and our vision for the future.

Who You Are: For starters, please know what a blessing each of you is to the Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church. My heart is full of thanksgiving for you and your commitment to continue this journey together. Especially inspiring is your dedication to:

Jesus Christ;

those who are not yet Christians;

each other;

The United Methodist Church;

and our shared ministry together.

Who We Are: The Holston Conference continues to be strong and robust. We are a group of 578 churches and 889 active and retired clergy moving into the future with courage and determination. Our focus is on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

A diverse group of Christians with a variety of perspectives on many matters, our commonalities far outweigh our differences. Our core convictions, summarized well in The Apostles Creed,* propel us forward together in mission and ministry.

What we envision for the future: Our best days as the Holston Conference are ahead of us. We are Christ-following United Methodists who are committed to:

growing day by day in our love for God and others;

reaching more people for Jesus and

being a part of making the world a better place.

Indeed, our Conference leadership is dedicated to holding ourselves accountable for spending as much time on discipleship in 2023 and beyond as we have on disaffiliation this past year. Our primary focus is discipleship. 

The Holston Conference’s next chapter is a bright one thanks to who you are, who we are together, and what we envision for the future. It is truly my joy to serve as your bishop as we write this next chapter together.


Debra Wallace-Padgett

Resident Bishop

Holston and North Alabama Conferences

* The Apostles’ Creed (Ecumenical Version)

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic** church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

** universal

Addilynn Memorial UMC – 3225 Avoca Rd – Bristol, TN

Whether you lead in your church, your business, or your community, everyone is invited to grow as the church together! Join us on May 20th for training provided by the Clinch Mountain District.

For the better part of a generation, the church has faced a rapidly changing world, one that has pushed the church out of the center of the culture to the margins. Then COVID-19 happened, and the disruption to church as we knew it accelerated. Join us for a workshop on learning to lead all over again in a totally disrupted environment. Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains and Tempered Resilience, will serve as our guide into the uncharted territory.

$25 per person. Lunch is provided. 

Click here to register!

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. 

Photo by Penny Hudson

Contact Sue Bryngelson or the church office with any questions.

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

May 4-10, 2023


9:30 a.m. Sunday School

11:00 a.m. Morning Worship

7:00 p.m. AA Meetings


7:00 p.m. AA Meetings


7:00 p.m. AA Meetings

Tuesday, May 9

5:30 p.m.        United Women in Faith Meeting

Sunday, May 21 

12:15 p.m.      Worship and Faith in Arts Meeting

4:00 p.m.        Trustees 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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