Dear Friends and First UMC Family: Over these past few months, our schedules have been busy and our plates have been full of activities leading up to a big celebration this coming Sunday. So we’d like to give a reminder, a Thank You and a word of encouragement. First, please remember that this coming Sunday is when we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the ministries of First United Methodist in Dyersburg and Dyer County. We hope you’ll join us for worship at 10:00 a.m. as we welcome Bishop McAlilly, as both our Episcopal leader and preacher for the day. Immediately after worship, we’ll enjoy an old-fashioned Methodist potluck lunch.

When was the last time you were inspired by a worship service? I choose not to say “enjoy/enjoyed” because, really, worship isn’t about us. We aren’t the audience, but rather the participators. So, when was the last time that you were present for morning worship and felt inspired? I have left worship feeling inspired for the past few weeks. It seems that everything went as planned. There were common themes. The music was uplifting. Have you felt the same way?

Glimpses of Grace and Truth... Every time we turn on the television, listen to broadcast news, or read anything from newsprint to social media, we hear about the Las Vegas shooting. From reporter to journalist, from local police to federal agencies, no one standing in front of a microphone is able to give the motive for what the suspect did late Sunday night. All it took was one person. Granted, he had more weapons and ammunition than half the small town police departments in America. But still it was one person, doing what many have called, “mass evil.” For sure, there is much power in one person, power for evil but also power for good.

A potluck meal is being planned for the 175th Celebration immediately following the morning worship service. The church will provide the meat and drinks. Members are asked to bring vegetables, salads, and desserts.

A sign-up sheet will be in Sunday School classes this Sunday for you to sign up. Also help in the kitchen will be needed. If you have any questions or would like to help out, please call Aleece Jackson at 445-9266.

We remember the past and look forward to the future... Our church has a very rich history of ministries throughout its 175 years. We have so much to celebrate; we have accomplished much! However, we have to look forward to where it is that we are going. Sometimes, as we look forward, we realize there are changes that might need to be made. Change is never easy, but often change is good.

James 4:5 says, "Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, ‘God yearns jealously for the spirit that He has made to dwell in us?’’’

Dear Friends,

Do you wonder, as I do, how it is possible that October is just around the corner? This Sunday marks the beginning of October and World Communion Sunday. Those of you who are longtime members of the United Methodist Church will remember this Sunday being celebrated every year since your childhood. However, you may not be sure of the emphasis or focus of this Sunday.

The fear of disappointing God: Have you ever thought that God was disappointed in you? I know I have. There have been times when I have continued to make the same mistakes over and over again. I pray to seek forgiveness but I can't help to think, God I know you must be getting frustrated at me for this, how disappointed you must be in me. We must realize that although we are made in His image, we are not God

Brian and Mary Funderburk joined the church September 10. Brian is the new Youth Director here at the church. Let ’ s welcome Brian, Mary and Brylee!

You know that this is a big year for our congregation. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Methodist faith in Dyersburg, TN. We should be immensely proud of our heritage and all that we have accomplished in these years. We also should be looking forward the future, planning and strategizing where it is that we are going. There are many pieces coming together for the actual day appointed to celebrate our anniversary, which is Sunday, October 15 th. I hope that you will plan to be in worship that day. You will not want to miss it!

Glimpses of Grace & Truth ... We’ve been discussing the need to be more careful while watching and listening. Pastor K. Duncan tells about a time when a major newspaper had shown a man taking the oath of office as the first US Senator from Hawaii. When the paper received a critical and disrespectful letter the following day, editors published the letter and photo side by side. The letter - writer complained that, while senators have always taken the oath with their right hand raised, "The senator from Hawaii doesn't know his right hand from his left." In the photo, you see Senator Inouye taking the oath with his left hand raised. If the complainer had paid attention, he may have noticed why.

I want to share with you the portion of prayer that I read while introducing a hymn this past Sunday. The following prayer was penned by Howard Thurman, a noted 19th century African American author, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. Here is the entire prayer:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus is the theme for this year’s “See You At The Pole”, held on Wednesday September 27th. This annual event allows the students in our community to gather together to pray for one another, their schools, and their community, a very important event that I have the privilege of attending each year. I ask you to support our students and schools this year and if you have a student encourage them to attend.

The 175 th Anniversary celebration is fast approaching. As we have talked and planned for this historic celebration we have discussed the importance of holding the past, present and future in together with one another. We celebrate the past as we look to those who have gone before us that we might glean wisdom and understanding from our mothers and fathers of faith. We live fully in the present as we seek to grow in our faith and in our desire to follow Christ. We look forward to the future because we know that it is God that holds our future.

As we approach the celebration of the 175 th anniversary of our congregation, we have the opportunity to honor God and those church members who came before us and worked, gave financially and “prayed hard” so that we can enjoy the results of their renovations and building projects that make up our church campus.

UMCOR is currently working with disaster coordinators and early response teams in Louisiana and Texas to provide relief to the many people whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/ tropical storm Harvey. If you would like to make a donation for the people in Houston Texas, please make checks out to the church with memo of UMCOR Advance #901670.

A couple Sundays ago, I hope you heard Pastor Ed talk about Jesus' conversation with His disciples. In that conversation, Jesus asked two very important and thought-provoking questions, the first being “Who do they say that I am?” And the second, "Who do you say that I am? "

Please join us for Salt & Light beginning Wednesday, September 13th.

Each week a local vendor will cater our meals and Neil’s BBQ will be kicking us off with Chicken Monterey. In lieu of paying for your meal as you enter the kitchen serving area, a box will be present for donations to help cover the cost of meals and speakers.

Glimpses of Grace and Truth... Last Sunday, we discussed that Tom Rainer researched the many churches he’d consulted which, that despite his help, had continued declining until their doors were closed. Rainer researched much like a medical examiner researches a deceased person, in order to learn why it is that, regardless of effort, some churches still died. By titling his book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Rainer wants all churches to learn which habits will not only hinder their health and growth, but without correction, will lead to their demise.

5:00 - 5:45 - Open Gym - Games & Gym Time (FLC)
5:45 - 6:15 - Dinner (Fellowship Hall)
6:15 - 6:20 - Prayer & Announcements
6:20 - 6:30 - Dismissal for classes for kids & adults
6:30 - 7:00 - K-2nd Grade Bible/3rd - 6th Grade Music
7:00 - 7:30 - K-2nd Grade Music/3rd - 6th Grade Bible
6:30 - 7:30 - Adult Class/Worship/Dayspring

Matthew 5:13 - 16 ‘Salt of the earth...light of the world’

Everyone loves a good story. Storytelling is deeply ingrained in us as humans. We have been captivated by stories since the beginning of time. Oral tradition passed on from generation to generation has been an integral part of sharing history. Sometimes however, the story doesn’t “add up” to our standards... or perhaps I should say that we are disappointed by the story. We look for a riveting plot line with great characters, action, and plot twist. It’s what makes a good story... but not always.

"Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them" - John 18:4 - 5

Communion Offering

As you know every communion Sunday, the offering that is left at the chancel rail is donated to a missional agency that has been chosen by the Mission Team for that Sunday. Usually the money goes to an agency of the United Methodist Church. As a connectional church, we join with other United Methodist Churches and are able to do much more than just one church or one individual. However, this month we have selected two local helping agencies instead of an agency of the whole United Methodist Church.

Thanks to everyone who help contribute to the purchase of school supply for the children in need in our community!

Continued from a few weeks ago .... Why do we do what we do in worship? I am sure you have noticed that we no longer have an “Anthem” that the choir sings during worship. We have begun calling this “An Act of Praise.” Why have we done this? What difference does it make? Why do we have to change anything that we are doing? There’s nothing wrong with the way that we have done things in the past.

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14-15

The gospel writer Matthew powerfully tells the story of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus. You remember that Jesus had sent the disciples ahead of him so He could be alone to pray. It reads:

Everyone loves a good story. Storytelling is deeply ingrained in us as humans. We have been captivated by stories since the beginning of time. Oral tradition passed on from generation to generation has been an integral part of sharing history. Sometimes however, the story doesn’t “add up” to our standards... or perhaps I should say that we are disappointed by the story. We look for a riveting plot line with great characters, action, and plot twist. It’s what makes a good story... but not always.

Parents I just want to say THANK YOU for the amazing turn out for our parent meeting this past week! Your prayers and support for this ministry are truly a blessing.

We are looking for a teacher for the 2 & 3 year old class.

Every day, every week, HGTV and other DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Channels host programs starring Property Brothers (Drew & Jonathon), or Love it or List it (Hillary & David). Then there are the heart-warming shows that take you into people’s lives like Complete Home Makeover with Ty Pennington, who would invite you to say, “Move that bus” or Chip and Joanna Gaines reveal where a lucky couple sees a giant-sized picture of what their old house looked like before they’re asked, “Would you like to see your Fixer Upper?”

Continuing on our topic from last week, why do we do the things that we do during our worship services? This week, I’d like to talk about the Apostle’s Creed and the Gloria Patri. We mentioned last week that the beginning of our worship moves rather quickly from inward to upward with the Call to Worship and the Hymn of Praise. We continue the upward direction as we recite the Apostle’s Creed.

The Mission Team would like to thank all those who helped purchase School kits for Dyersburg and Dyer County students!

Jennifer Davis is the HOSTS facilitator at Dyersburg Primary School. HOSTS stands for “Helping One Student To Succeed.”

Glimpses of Grace and Truth... The old saying, “a picture paints a thousand words,” is still true today but a thousand years ago, that “thousand - word picture” was, in some ways, even more true. Because public schools didn’t exist and most people either could not afford education or didn’t want to join a monastery for an education, reading and literacy were rare. In that day and time, most stories of faith and life were told either verbally or with more visible forms like paintings. Since acrylic paint wasn’t discovered until the 1930s, paintings needed lots of care and limited exposure to have a decent shelf life.

Do you ever wonder why we do what we do during morning worship? Why do we have to say the Apostle’s Creed? Or why do we say the Lord’s Prayer together? Why do we call the opening hymn the “‘Hymn of Praise”? For the next few weeks, these and many more questions will be discussed. Why do we do what we do? Let’s look at the first few movements of our worship together.

Glimpses of Grace and Truth... Mary Pierce-Norton, from our UMC’s Board of Discipleship calls Holy Communion a sort of “Show-and-Tell Time," because Jesus took very ordinary elements - some unleavened bread and a cup of wine - and he filled them with great meaning. His use of a common loaf and a common cup made clear that Holy Communion is very much a communal act, that we not only gather in the same room but are joined together by the God who called us together.

All summer long, you have been encouraged to give generously to provide school supplies to children in our community. Our goal is to supply kits for 100 students. We need to raise $2,500 for students in our city and county school districts.

For the month of July, I have been teaching the Seekers and Sojourners Sunday school class. I was a little hesitant to say yes when first asked, but I am glad that I accepted; it has been a great experience. Our topic for the month has been hymns and their stories. I have really enjoyed reading about the origin of hymns and the influences of writers of hymns. Throughout this month, I have found that many hymns point to the Wesley’s. However minor or major the contribution may have been, John and Charles Wesley changed the church with their hymn texts.

Note from Mr. Brian, Wow did summer really go by this fast?! Our Sunday night bible studies, destination unknowns, and trips have been great and we are looking forward to our fall/winter plans. Parents encourage your students to get involved.

Free, ongoing, self - paced online course from UM Communications. Certificate of Completion and .5 ALLLM CEU awarded. Facilitated by Bill Lawson

As July comes to a close and students return to school, we are reminded that the cost of school supplies can be a hardship to many in our community. So far we have raised $975.00, but we are still short of our goal of 100 kits. Please consider making a donation this Sunday!


What do you think the following have in common?

  • Massachusetts became the first state to pass laws stating that a child under age twelve could be forced to work only a maximum of 10 hours per day.
  • The first adhesive postage stamp was printed with a hand - drawn picture of George Washington.
  • The first illustrated weekly magazine in the U.S. was published.
  • Ether was used as an anesthetic in America for the first time.
  • The United States consisted of only 26 states.
  • The first established group of Methodists began gathering near the banks of the Forked Deer River at the south end of Church Street.

A short devotion: God paints a beautiful masterpiece with the ashes of our lives. It's only when we finally realize that only He can pick up the pieces that true happiness and fulfillment can enter in. Satan tries to keep us down and steal our joy but God says let me turn this trial into triumph and this test into a testimony.

Sometimes I feel a personal connection to this past Sunday’s Gospel lesson. Remember the story? The sower and the seeds. I wonder if sometimes our (and my) message is falling on rocky ground, that is, it’s falling on ground not prepared to receive the message, whatever that message may be. Praise to God that there have been some new members to come and join us in the Parish Choir. We are so grateful that they have joined us, but again, I ask for more members. We have many singers in this congregation that are sitting in the pews. We need you to join us. The thing is, yes, it does require something of you. But what I don’t think you realize is the blessing that you will receive.

Glimpses of Grace and Truth... As we read on Sunday, Jesus used very vivid stories so that all who listened could easily envision: a sower who sows seeds, a farmer who finds weeds, images of roots and fruit, planting and harvesting. While his stories most often included images very clear to his listeners, the stories’ meanings were often more elusive, more hidden. Yet when his followers put forth the effort to listen closely, to think carefully and, when confused, to ask questions, the meaning became as clear as the images. Unfortunately it’s not only Jesus and his parables that baffle us; it’s the more ancient stories of the Old Testament and the more modern stories of everyday life.

It will be "Back to School" time before we know it, but not all children in our community can afford the necessary supplies to begin a new school year. During the months of June and July, the Missions Team invites you to give generously to provide school supplies to children in our community.

Santo! Santo! Santo! How awesome was it that we sang Spanish this past Sunday. And what a great reminder of the Body of Christ. We worship with our sisters and brothers from across the globe. I hope that you enjoyed singing in Spanish this past Sunday, I know that I did. For many of you, I know that this was very different from anything that has been done here before, but remember that some change can be good. It’s a holy moment when you realize that we are truly worshipping with the global Body of Christ in their native language.

A youth room devotion: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1 - 2

Ed White, Senior Pastor
Lea Griffith, Associate Pastor
The Congregation, Ministers

Glimpses of Grace and Truth in daily life... When last night’s All Star Game went into extra innings, and I remembered that our Wednesday morning Men’s Prayer Breakfast means a very early morning, I headed off to bed. I couldn’t help but think about how much I have enjoyed playing, coaching and, to a lesser extent, watching sports. While baseball and soccer were a lot of fun to play and coach, neither one is exciting enough for me to sit and watch often on television unless it’s baseball’s All - Star Game or soccer’s World Cup.