Advent 2019

Welcome to Advent 2019!

Sunday, December 1, is the first Sunday of Advent 2019 and the beginning of our Joy to the World Advent worship series. Because 2019 is also the 300th anniversary of the beloved classic hymn, “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts, we’ve chosen Joy to the World as our Advent theme this year that you’ll find laced through worship, music, studies, events and activities for the whole family.

Here’s a quick overview of the season from Dr. Tim Bruster, Senior Pastor. We hope you’ll join us for any or all of the wonderful programs, worship experiences, and special events of this meaningful season in the life of our faith community.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns:
let men their songs employ;
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

Isaac Watts was a 17th century English Christian minister, hymn writer, theologian, and prolific and popular hymn writer recognized as the “Godfather of English Hymnody.” Watts’ work, well-known around the world for the past three centuries, includes more than 800 hymns, many of them designed to be sung following his sermons to give expression to the meaning of the text upon which he had preached.

“Joy to the World” is one of these — and one of Watt’s most popular hymns. It was written in 1719 employing the “Antioch” melody by George Frideric Handel to bring such life to Watts’ lyrics that this timeless work, as of the late 20th century, was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America.

In pairing Watts’ lyrics with specific passages of scripture, this First Church Advent experience explores a different refraction of Joy each Sunday of Advent:

December 1 we celebrate the Hope we realize through preparation in “Prepare Him Room: Hopeful Joy.”

December 8 we celebrate the Love expressed in song with “Repeat the Sounding Joy: Loving Joy” and Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo.

December 15 we celebrate the Joy that overflows with “Make the Blessings Flow: Unabashed Joy,”

December 22 we celebrate the Peace that brings people, nations, and our world together in “Make the Nations Prove: Peaceful Joy.”

On December 24, Christmas Eve, we culminate this Advent worship series with “The Lord is Come: Incarnate Joy,” receiving Christ at the center to experience the deep Joy of the Good News of Christmas.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let every heart prepare Him room!


Gathering to focus on God together

Sunday Worship

Sanctuary Service

9:30 – 10:30 am & 11:00 am – noon | Sanctuary

Joy to the World: An Advent Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Bruster celebrates the triumph of hope, love, joy, and peace using the 300th anniversary of this beloved Christmas classic as a backdrop.

Joy to the World is Isaac Watts’ very special interpretation of Psalm 98 that invites us to sing a new song of how all creation is renewed and fed by joy. Following the verses of the hymn, this powerful Advent worship series will explore the kind of joy that moves much deeper than happiness and will connect the message of the hymn with the coming of Jesus — a message the world still so desperately needs.

Sunday, December 1

“Prepare Him Room: Hopeful Joy”
Isaiah 40:3-5; Psalm 98 Common English Bible (CEB)

In the momentous conversation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama that resulted in the publication of The Book of Joy, one of the pillars of joy they identified was perspective. Opening ourselves to a different perspective can bring a sense of hope in the midst of despair, allowing joy to creep in, no matter what. The Season of Advent is a time when we prepare room in our lives for new Light, new insight, and new hope. It is a time for opening ourselves to receive anew the Christ Child.

Sunday, December 8

“Repeat the Sounding Joy: Loving Joy”
Isaiah 11: 1-10; Psalm 98
Choral Union Advent Presentation: Jubilate Deo by Dan Forrest (11:00 am)
Research shows that our very state of being can be transformed by music that resonates in our soul so powerfully we can’t help but join in. This is the vision of Joy to the World as the reverberating phrase urges us to “repeat the sounding joy” of the good news of love. This week we will joyfully and confidently proclaim this chorus of wellbeing for the world as we join all creation and congregation in praising and thanking God.

Sunday, December 15

“Make the Blessings Flow: Unabashed Joy”
Isaiah 35: 1-10; Psalm 98

Joy doesn’t wait for the struggle to be over. Instead, Joy sings out powerfully, knowing that when we are more deeply bonded as a whole it multiplies and magnifies the exuberance to all. The blessings flow as we celebrate them with joy and share them with others.

Sunday, December 22

“Make the Nations Prove: Peaceful Joy”
Matthew 1:18-23; Isaiah 2: 1-5; Psalm 98
Adoramus Chamber Choir: An Advent Presentation

The name, Emanuel means God with us. From both the Hebrew and Christian narratives we hear the yearning for this “Emanuel” — for God to become so present that God’s peace, truth, love, and justice reign among all the world and bring balance to what feels out of sorts. Our psalm in this series names the joyful expression of all creation as the response to the news that the Prince of Peace, Emanuel, is coming at long last.

Other Sunday Worship Offerings


7:15 am | Community Breakfast
Wesley Hall
8:30 am | Worship | Chapel

The Gathering

9:30 & 11:00 am | Wesley Hall
Rev. Lance Marshall


11:11 am | 512 W. 4th St.
Rev. Tom McDermott

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Chapel Communion

10:35 am | Chapel
Dr. Len Delony

Choral Union Advent Presentation: Jubilate Deo by Dan Forrest

Sunday, December 8, 2019
11:00 am Sanctuary Service

Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo brings to life the global aspect of the traditional Psalm 100 text, “O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands,” by setting it in seven different languages and drawing from a wide spectrum of musical influences. Each movement combines some characteristics of its language-group’s musical culture with the composer’s own musical language. Movements include liturgical Latin, intertwined Hebrew and Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Zulu, Spanish, Song of the Earth (untexted), and a closing movement that combines several of these languages with English. The result is a stunning global celebration of JOY, as all the earth sings as one, “omnis terra, jubilate!”

Service of Remembrance and Hope

Sunday, December 8, 2019
6:00 – 7:00 pm | Chapel | Rev. Phyllis Barren

The holiday season can a particularly difficult time for those who are overwhelmed with feelings of grief, sadness, disappointment, or any other feeling that can get lost — and sometimes even made more painful — in the bright lights, merriment, and festivities being enjoyed seemingly everywhere you look this time of year.

At First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth, we know all too well the difficulties the holiday season can bring during times of loss, fear, and sadness — and we want you to know you are not forgotten among the tinsel and celebration.

Each year we schedule this special service intentionally during this time to create a space for feelings that are not so merry — and a refuge from celebration when you just don’t feel like it. Led by Rev. Phyllis Barren, who will offer a brief word and lead a time of prayer, this quiet service, surrounded by the beauty of Leonard Memorial Chapel, offers balm to the weary soul — and solace to the discouraged and brokenhearted at a time when the rest of the world may seem oblivious to your pain.

Dementia Friendly Christmas Worship & Reception

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | 10:00 – 11:30 am
Leonard Memorial Chapel | Registration requested

Bring family and friends to experience this special Christmas worship opportunity for people with dementia or other challenges and their families. This simple-yet-festive service features a reading of The Christmas Story from  Luke, favorite Christmas carols, candlelight, and communion for those who wish to receive it. A reception in Wesley Hall with Christmas cookies and other goodies will follow. Please register in advance so we’ll know how many to prepare for!
Contact: Gail Snider | | 817-332-6266

Adoramus Chamber Choir: An Advent Presentation

Sunday, December 22, 2019
9:30 and 11:00 am Sanctuary Service

Adoramus Chamber Choir will present works by William Mathias and Michael Haydn as an offering to our congregation and guests at our FUMCFW morning worship services in the Sanctuary.

Christmas Eve Services

Tuesday, December 24, 2019
First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth
800 W. 5th Street | Fort Worth, TX 76102
Holy Communion served at all services

Noon Candlelight Service

Noon – 1:00 pm | Sanctuary | Rev. Lance Marshall

Offering the same special First Church Christmas Eve worship experience as our 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 pm evening services, including communion, candlelight, and special music, this midday service provides an earlier alternative to our evening services.

Family Candlelight Services

3:30 & 5:00 pm | Sanctuary | Dr. Tim Bruster & Mister Mark Burrows

Come join us for a family-friendly evening filled with all our cherished Christmas Eve experiences — candlelight, Christmas carols, Communion, and the wondrous story of Jesus’ birth — PLUS our special kid-favorite Christmas Eve puppet show!

Traditional Candlelight Services

7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 pm | Sanctuary | Dr. Tim Bruster
“The Lord is Come: Incarnate Joy” | Luke 2: 1-20; Psalm 96

The cherished experiences of Christmas and the beauty of this night will be enhanced by uplifting music and proclamation of the Word, celebrating Holy Communion, singing carols, and lighting candles. Sanctuary doors will open 20 minutes prior to each service, and special music will be performed by First Church Brass and our own Peggy Graff, Organist and Associate Director of Music and Worship Arts, prior to the service.

Accessible Valet Parking

3:00 – 10:30 pm | 5th Street

Complimentary and Accessible Valet Parking will be available from 3:00 – 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve for anyone with mobility challenges. To reach the valet station, please enter the church parking lot’s 7th Street entrance, and then come straight through to 5th Street where you will find the Parking Stand. After dropping off your car there, use the Garden courtyard ramp entrance right into the Sanctuary for our 3:30, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00 pm services. Sanctuary doors will open 20 minutes prior to each service.


Being God’s people in the world

December Mission Sundays: Red Bag Food Drive

Pick up red bags in Welcome Center | Return to First Street Methodist Mission
Monday – Thursday | 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
OR the donation bins at the East, West & Garden entrances | Sunday mornings

Food insecurity is a frightening reality for many families in our community. Grab a red food bag and fill it up with canned goods to help a family in our community this Advent season.

Contact: Linda Murphy | | 817-339-2404

Blessing Our First Responders

Pick up treat boxes November 17 – December 8, 2019
Adult Sunday School Classes, Children’s Wing & Welcome Center
Deliver to First Responders December 1 – 31

The Advent Season provides a wonderful opportunity to bless our many local First Responders who so willingly serve the various communities represented within our congregation.

We invite you to pick up a treat box, which also includes an invitation to worship with us on Christmas Eve, from the Welcome Center of Adult Sunday School Classes, November 17 – December 8.

Then, just bake the yummy treat(s) of your choice, fill the box, and then deliver it to your nearest or favorite local police or fire department. (We ask that you please wait until December to begin delivering treats so we can let the city know to expect you!)

This sweet program now in its 4th year of delivering treats, recognizing these community heroes, and inviting them to worship with us on Christmas Eve! If you have questions or need more information, please contact Sammye Dunn |

Christmas Eve Volunteers

Tuesday, December 24, 2019
11:30 am – 11:30 pm | Registration required

Christmas Eve is right around the corner, and with that comes a perfect opportunity to be a part of one of the most beautiful and meaningful days at FUMCFW.

We offer six services on Christmas Eve:

  • Sanctuary Service at noon
  • Family Services at 3:30 and 5:00 pm
  • Sanctuary Services at 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 pm.

If you would like to spend an unforgettable evening offering Christmas cheer to our members, guests and their families as an usher at one or more of the services, a greeter in the Welcome Center or at one of the entrances, or helping with hospitality in Wesley Hall, we would love to hear from you!

We invite you  — and your whole family to serve together in this fun and festive way — and enjoy reserved seating in the service of your choice!

Please click the link below to let us know when you would like to serve, and we will contact you with further instructions!
Contact: Lisa Helm |


Enjoying the good life God gives

Outdoor Ministry Christmas: Beers and Gears

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
6:30 pm | West Parking Lot

Bring your bike and join members of the FUMCFW Outdoor Ministry and other cycling enthusiasts as we get together for a Christmas-themed pub crawl. We will assemble in the West parking lot of the church and then cycle to a few of the fantastic watering holes around the Main Street and Magnolia area to enjoy some good eats and drinks together.

Our final stop will be at the Yucatan Taco Stand on Magnolia for tacos, beverages, and just to hang out and talk about bikes, the outdoors, and possible future adventures!

Since we are kicking off what we hope will become a monthly outing with this December event, we encourage participants to decorate their bikes in the spirit of Christmas.

We plan to ride unless it’s icy or raining buckets. So bundle up, string some lights and tinsel on your bike, and join us on December 3rd for Outdoor Ministry’s first Beers and Gears!

Contact: Austin Patton |

“The Nativity Story” Movie Showing

Thursday, December 5, 2019
10:00 am – noon | Room 350

Come join us for a showing of “The Nativity Story” in the newly renovated Room 350. “The Nativity Story” portrays a chronicle of the perilous journey of a young couple, Mary and Joseph, who must travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph’s ancestral home, to register for a census ordered by King Herod. It is a journey of over 100 miles, through treacherous terrain, made much more difficult by the fact that Mary is nine months pregnant.
Come join us for a showing of “The Nativity Story” in the newly renovated Room 350. “The Nativity Story” portrays a chronicle of the perilous journey of a young couple, Mary and Joseph, who must travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph’s ancestral home, to register for a census ordered by King Herod. It is a journey of over 100 miles, through treacherous terrain, made much more difficult by the fact that Mary is nine months pregnant.

Christmas Cheer

Sunday, December 8, 2019
2:30 – 5:30 pm | Wesley Hall

All are invited to this special day of service and fun for the whole church!

We’ll meet in Wesley Hall at 2:30 to kick off Christmas Cheer, which begins with caroling groups traveling by bus to local assisted living facilities to share God’s love through song and fellowship.

Then it’s back to Wesley Hall to celebrate the joy of Christmas with carriage rides, flipbooks, a Christmas card station, cookie decorating, hot chocolate and more!

Contact: Mary Katri | | 817-339-5096

Youth Christmas Party

Sunday, December 8, 2019
5:30 – 8:00 pm | Justin Youth Building

Come and enjoy games, food, goofy pictures in tacky Christmas sweaters, a white elephant gift exchange, and more at the annual youth Christmas party! Our savior was born and we’re throwing a party to celebrate him!

eleven:eleven Winter Solstice Morning Concert with Peter Mayer

Sunday, December 15, 2019
eleven:eleven worship
11:11 am | Historic 512 Ballroom
512 W. 4th St. | Downtown Fort Worth

Bringing to FUMCFW our Winter Solstice Concert, a long-time favorite experience every year during Advent, Minnesota Singer/Songwriter Peter Mayer will join us once again at eleven:eleven for a morning of songs and stories celebrating life and this season of joy. Hailed by Sing Out magazine as “one of the finest songwriters on the planet,” Mayer’s intricate guitar work, breathtaking imagery, and mystical lyricism offer balm for the weary soul.

Join us for a moving celebration of the season on Sunday, December 15 at 11:11 am at the Historic 512 Ballroom, Downtown (512 W. 4th St.).

Polar Express Party

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
5:30 – 7:30 pm | Wesley Hall

Join us for our seventh annual family celebration around the holiday classic, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. We’ll enjoy dinner and this classic holiday film, hot chocolate, and Christmas fun!

Be sure to wear your most festive pajamas! Optional nursery care for children under 3 years old available with reservations by December 11.

Contact: Mary Katri | | 817-339-5096
Childcare: Paula Wagstaff |


Discovering and understanding who God is

Monday Musers Advent Study: “Almost Christmas”

Mondays, December 2 – 23, 2019
1:00 – 2:15 pm | Foundation Building, Room 271
Registration required | Book available for $15
Led by Dr. Mike Marshall

All are invited to join the Monday Musers during Advent to study “Almost Christmas (A Wesleyan Advent Adventure)” by Magrey R. DeVega, Ingrid McIntyre, April Casperson, and Matt Rawle.

As these authors break down the barriers that can prevent us from experiencing an “altogether” love, hope, joy, and peace in Christ in our lives and the world around us, they demonstrate the promises God offers to us that make those longings a reality. Inviting us to claim those promises for ourselves this Advent season, Almost Christmas guides and encourages its readers in celebrating an “altogether Christmas.”

Books are available in the Main Office, or you are welcome to obtain your own electronic copy. This class if free, but please use the link below to register so we’ll know to expect you!
Contact: Gayle Ammerman |

Advent Book Discussion: “The Book of Joy”

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
11:30 am – 1:00 pm | Room 350 | Registration required

Bring a lunch and join us for a discussion of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing Worldan inspiring and delightful book! Participants are asked to have read the book and bring notes, questions, inspirations, and questions.

In The Book of Joy, two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, two close friends, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, came together to discuss joy.

Both winners of the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet, even though they each have lived through tremendous difficulty and suffering.

Author Douglas Abrams includes stories from each of these spiritual leaders, their teachings about joy and the obstacles to joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal.

Now that they are both in their eighties, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others. In this book, these two great leaders demonstrate by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life.
Contact: Gayle Ammerman | | 817-339-5091


Talking and listening to God’s direction

Advent Devotional

Because 2019 is the 300th anniversary of “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts, we’ve chosen this beloved classic Christmas hymn as the basis for our FUMCFW Advent theme this year.

The first verse of the hymn has an important line that sets the tone for this year’s experience of Advent: “Let every heart prepare Him room.” Advent is a time for preparing our hearts once again to receive Christ into the center of our lives.

As we move through the Season of Advent, we invite you to deepen your Joy to the World Advent experience by following our daily Advent Devotional — online or via downloadable and printable PDF (we even have a limited number of these printed PDF copies available in the Main office on Weekdays and the Welcome Center on Sunday mornings.)

By adding this special focus on Joy to our thoughts and prayers throughout the Advent Season, we prepare our hearts and minds for joyful celebration of Christ entering the word.
download devotional

Advent Mini-Retreat Around the Prayer Labyrinth

Sunday, December 15, 2019
1:00 – 6:00 pm | Wesley Hall

Come join us for this mid-December mini-retreat for a time of quiet, prayerful reflection — and enjoy a Sunday afternoon “oasis” in the busy-ness of the season as we move through Advent into Christmas.

This special come-and-go opportunity throughout the afternoon led by Dr. Len Delony, FUMCFW’s Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation, will provide you with a meaningful space for contemplative prayer and soul-care in Wesley Hall.

We will begin this mini-retreat with an opening time of introduction, prayer, and special music beginning at 1:00 pm. All are welcome to come anytime and stay as long as you want, between 1:00 & 6:00 pm.

If you have any questions or would like to send in special prayer concerns, contact Dr. Len Delony at or call 817-339-3880.


Putting God first in all things

Christmas Offering

Help us support our church ministries and local community with our Christmas offering. This year’s offering supports Kids Hope USA Mentoring, Methodist Justice Ministry, Food 4 Kids, Kenya Mission, Costa Rica Mission, Providence Place (Formerly Methodist Mission Home), Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, TX, and Wesleyan Homes. Give online (choose Christmas Offering from the drop-down menu) or with a check or donation envelope marked “Christmas Offering” in the Sunday offertory, by mail, or in the Main Office.

Give  Read a letter from Dr. Tim Bruster


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