Advent 2021

Welcome to Advent 2021!

Sunday, November 28, is the first Sunday of Advent 2021 and the beginning of our Best Christmas Ever worship series. We’ll anticipate the arrival of Christmas as we connect through worship, music, studies, and events for the whole family.

We’ll focus on the joys of the season that often come from unexpected places and unlikely circumstances, just as they did when Jesus was born.

Join us as we rekindle the memories and tell the stories of the Best Christmas Ever.


Gathering to focus on God together

Sunday Worship

Traditional Worship

11:00 am – noon | Sanctuary

Best Christmas Ever: An Advent Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Bruster

Our series celebrates the triumph of hope, love, joy, and peace as we anticipate the true Best Christmas Ever. This Advent worship series will focus on the joy of the season that sometimes comes from unexpected places and unlikely circumstances.

Sunday, November 28

“When You’re Waiting, and Waiting, and Waiting. . .”
Jeremiah 33:14-16

Waiting is hard. We want to jump right to the celebration. The people of Israel received this promise but it was over 500 years before its fulfillment. Our Christmases, particularly when we are young, have so much anticipation and expectation built up that the waiting can be agony. Yet it’s the waiting that makes the fruition so powerful and good.

Advent begins with stirring music by Adoramus Chamber Choir, under the direction of Thomas Williams, Director of Music and Worship Arts.  Taylor White, trumpet, and organist Peggy Graff will open and close worship with festive and uplifting carol arrangements.

Sunday, December 5

“When Things Don’t Go To Plan”
Luke 1:26-38

Most of us have big plans for how “life” will go. We have our expectations and our boundaries for success or failure. Mary’s story is a story of how God’s plans were very different from her plans. God set Mary on a path that took her to significant challenges but also provided an incredible blessing.

Songs of the Season – Enjoy hearing and singing some of the most beloved Christmas carols and songs ever written, featuring Choral Union, our special Adven choir, musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and organist Peggy Graff, under the direction of Thomas Williams.

Sunday, December 12

“When It’s Not All About You”
Matthew 1:18-23

We’ve all been guilty of building up stories and expectations that are all about us. Against our own agenda, Joseph provides a powerful example of putting others—and God—first in his life. Let’s celebrate Christmas stories that are about the wonderful things happening not for us but for others. This worship service includes our annual Christmas pageant, featuring our own Children’s Ministry under the direction of Mister Mark Burrows.

Members of Cornerstone Youth Choir will blend their voices together to present “Star of the East, Bethlehem’s Star” by composer Greg Gilpin, directed by Erin Ypya.

Sunday, December 19

“When You’re Far From Home”
Luke 2:6-20

Many of our “Best Christmas Ever” stories involve travel. Christmas celebrations often take us well out of our comfort zones and typical places. The scripture story is a story of God and grace being present in the least likely of places. Our Christmas stories can be of grace showing up in new ways in new places.

What would the Christmas season be without bells?  Our own Fifth Street Bells, under the direction of Alison Haygood, will present the charming “Coventry Carol” and delightful “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella” on this fourth Sunday of Advent.

Other Sunday Worship Offerings


8:30 am | Worship | Chapel

The Gathering

9:30 am | Sanctuary
Rev. Lance Marshall


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

Christmas Eve Services

Friday, December 24
“When Everything Is Perfect.”
Luke 2:6-20

Noon Candlelight Service

Noon – 1:00 pm | Sanctuary

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.

DFW Brass and organist Peggy Graff will present a 20-minute pre-service concert, consisting of familiar Christmas carols and holiday songs arranged with a flair for the season. During the noon service, Andrew Zapata, tenor soloist, will minister through music with an arrangement of the poignant “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.”

Family Candlelight Services

3:30 & 5:00 pm | Sanctuary

Come join us for a family-friendly evening with Mister Mark Burrows, filled with all our cherished Christmas Eve experiences — candlelight, Christmas carols, Communion, and the wondrous story of Jesus’ birth.

Traditional Candlelight Services

7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 pm | Sanctuary

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 for a 20-minute pre-service concert, consisting of familiar Christmas carols and holiday songs arranged with a flair for the season.

Other special music offerings include:

7:00 pm | Cornerstone Youth Choir, its alumnae, and Choral Union will combine to sing “Almost There,” a song about the emotional journey to Bethlehem, arranged by Heather Sorenson.

9:00 pm | The beloved classic, “O Holy Night,” arranged for choir by René Clausen, will be sung by our own Choral Union, under the direction of Thomas Williams.

11:00 pm | Sergio Cepedo, tenor soloist, will give meaning and warmth to this worshipful service with his rendition of “O Holy Night” by composer Adolphe C. Adam.

Sunday, December 26

First Sunday after Christmas
“When Life Is Still Hard”
John 1:1-5

This final sermon of our series acknowledges that even after the Best Christmas Ever, there are still challenges and struggles in everyday life waiting for us. Christmas isn’t about the end of difficult times, it is the promise that Christ is with us in their midst.

Choral Union Presents Songs of the Season

Sunday, December 5, 2021
11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Sanctuary

Come be a part of this carol-filled service celebrating the birth of our Savior, featuring familiar and newly composed songs that will warm your heart with Christmas joy.

Contact: Thomas Williams | | 817-339-5074

Service of Remembrance and Hope

Sunday, December 5
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 Chapel Service Online

Wednesdays | 10:00 – 10:45 am
Facebook | YouTube

Join us each Wednesday for a worship service which includes singing of old hymns, scripture reading, and prayer. This weekly service is open to all persons with special needs, care partners, and families. This service will be the highlight of the week for your loved one with dementia and for you! Anyone who enjoys singing old hymns is welcome and will want to make it a regular part of their week.

Contact: Gail Snider | | 817-332-6266


Being God’s people in the world

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

Christmas Eve Volunteers

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

Christmas Eve is right around the corner – and with that comes the PERFECT opportunity to be a part of one of the most beautiful and meaningful days at FUMCFW. There are six services: Traditional service at noon, Family Service at 3:30 and 5:00 pm, as well as Traditional services at 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 pm. If you would be interested in being a smiling face and ushering at one or more of the services that day or volunteering in the Welcome Center, we would love to have you! It’s truly a fun and festive way to serve our church on Christmas Eve and show countless people First Church hospitality!



Enjoying the good life God gives

Wesleyan Adventurers Holiday at the Arboretum

Thursday, December 2
8:30 am – 3:30 pm | Dallas Arboretum
$20.00 | Registration required by November 30

Holiday at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant, is Dallas favorite holiday tradition! Stroll the garden to see the 25 ft tall elaborately decorated Victorian-style gazebos that represent each of the 12 days of Christmas. Enjoy our Christmas Village, visits with Santa Claus, entertainment, shopping, food beverage options, and more.

Contact: Rev. Phyllis Barren | | 817-339-5082

Youth Christmas Party

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

All students in 7th – 12th Grade are invited to join us for our annual Christmas Party at the Justin Youth Building! We’ll have games, food, ugly Christmas sweaters, a white elephant gift exchange and more!

If you’re interested in helping with set-up/decorating for Christmas Party, please reach out to Linda Kennedy ( or Brenda (

The Beignet Bus

Sunday, December 12
9:00 am – 12:00 pm | 5th Street

The Beignet Bus will be back on 5th Street on Sunday, December 12 from 9:00 – 11:30! They will be “rolling to get you going” serving up fresh beignets, chickory café au lait and hot chocolate. (They accept cash/cards) You don’t want to miss this fun morning on 5th Street — Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Southwest Christian School Christmas Concert: Sleigh Ride

Sunday, December 12
7:00 – 8:30 pm | Sanctuary

Come enjoy the students from Southwest Christian School as they celebrate the Christmas season. This concert will feature both sacred and secular music performed by their choir, praise band, show choir, and band.

Polar Express Party

Wednesday, December 15, 2021
5:30 – 7:30 pm | Justin Youth Building
Prayer Bear Drive

Join us for our ninth 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!

The party will include a Prayer Bear Drive for Cook Children’s Hospital. We are encouraging any who can to bring a new, unwrapped Teddy Bear. When “a certain someone” arrives, he will gather all the bears and deliver them to the best children’s hospital around!

Be sure to wear your most festive pajamas! Optional nursery care for children under 3 years old available with reservations by December 8.

Contact: Janice Cooper |
Childcare: Paula Wagstaff |

Singing Girls of Texas Winter Concert

Thursday, December 16
7:00 – 8:30 pm | Sanctuary
$12 General Admission | $6 Students

Join the Singing Girls of Texas for a journey of finding joy in the holidays with our winter concert, “There’s Still My Joy.”

Inspired by the Indigo Girls song, “There’s Still My Joy,” the singers of SGT will guide you through a beautiful concert of holiday favorites and new traditions, featuring a holiday sing-a-long and a special guest appearance from a jolly St. Nicholas! You will not want to miss this new tradition of celebrating the holidays with Singing Girls of Texas.

Christmas Eve Tent with Hot Chocolate, Family Photos

Friday, December 24
Noon – 11:00 pm | 5th Street

Arrive early before our evening Christmas Eve services to get a good parking place, visit with your friends, and beat the rush. Although our usual gathering spot — Wesley Hall —  is under construction, we will have a heated tent on 5th street where we invite you to join us for refreshments and a time to visit with old friends and make new ones! There will also be a selfie photo station with fun props so you can capture the fun and meaningful moments of the day and share it with family and friends while waiting for the Sanctuary doors to open, 20 minutes prior to each service.


Discovering and understanding who God is

Grow Bible Study

Wednesdays | 6:00 – 7:00 pm | Room 350 & Zoom
Led by Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez, Dr. Mike Marshall, Rev. Phyllis Barren and Evve Kuykendall
Registration required for in-person
Wednesdays | 9:30 – 11:00 am | Room 350
Led by Rev. Phyllis Barren

GROW is a comfortable place for everyone — whether it’s your first time to participate in a Bible Study or you’ve been to many. It’s the perfect opportunity to engage in practical conversation about how scripture is meaningful and relevant today — which leads to greater meaning and direction in everyday life.

So whether you prefer to attend in-person on campus or on Zoom, whether you can come every week, every other week, or occasionally, as your schedule allows. We hope to see you at GROW!

Pastor’s Bible Study

Thursdays | Noon | Facebook | YouTube | Soundcloud
Led by Rev. Lance Marshall

We get it. Making time for Bible Studies can be tough during a busy work week. Here at First Church, we want to make learning about and growing in your faith as accessible as possible.

Join Co-Senior Pastor Lance Marshall each Thursday at noon, or catch up with our playlists on Facebook, YouTube, and Soundcloud.

Contact: Rev. Lance Marshall | | 817-339-5078 | 682-336-7277

Brown Bag Bible Study

Thursdays | Beginning November 4
Noon to 1 pm | Room 350 | Free | No registration required
Led by Rev. Lance Marshall

Co-Senior Pastor Lance Marshall will lead this Brown Bag Bible Study, a weekly lunch hour class to help you gain familiarity with scripture and grow spiritually. No experience, pre-work, materials, or registration required — and we have plenty of extra Bibles if you would like to borrow one! Food and drink are welcome, and please feel free to come and go as your schedule requires.

Contact: Rev. Lance Marshall |

A Wesleyan Way of Christmas

Mondays, November 29 – December 20
1:00 – 2:30 pm | Room 341
Book available for $15.00 | Registration is required

The season of Advent offers time and space for Christians to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas through reflecting on the story of salvation.  In All the Good: A Wesleyan Way of Christmas, a group of diverse scholars will take us on an Advent journey guided by John Wesley’s means of grace.  In our four sessions, we will look at preparing the way for God, the impact and significance of prayer, the substance of good works and caring for others, and sharing God’s mission to the world.  In this season of Advent, as we await the birth of the Christ child, we will remember and know God’s goodness and love for us.

Contact: Dr. Mike Marshall | | 817-339-2409

The Journey

December 1 – 15
Wednesdays | 9:30 – 11:00 am |  Room 350
Books available for $15
Led by Rev. Phyllis Barren

In The Journey, Adam Hamilton travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem in a fascinating look at the birth of Jesus Christ. Hamilton once again approaches a world-changing event with thoughtfulness. Using historical information, archaeological data, and a personal look at some of the stories surrounding the birth, the most amazing moment in history will become more real and heart-felt as you walk along this road.

Contact: Rev. Phyllis Barren | | 817-339-5082



Talking and listening to God’s direction

Advent Devotional

Welcome to Our 2021 Advent Devotional

Please join us each day as we focus on the joys of the season that often come from unexpected places and unlikely circumstances, just as they did when Jesus was born.

By adding The Best Christmas Ever to our thoughts and prayers throughout the Advent Season, we prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of the Christ child entering the world.

download devotional

Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional

7:00 – 7:30 am

Brought to you daily with a friendly greeting from Senior Pastor Dr. Tim Bruster, a lectionary-based devotional provided by Upper Room, and a personally selected piece of music from our Sound Cloud playlist, this daily devotional opportunity will help you begin each day wrapped in God’s Grace and Love with blessings and warm wishes from our Senior Pastor.

Lance’s Daily Devotional & Prayer Meeting

Monday – Friday
9:00 – 9:15 am | Zoom | Facebook
Every weekday from 9:00 – 9:15 am, FUMCFW Co-Pastor, Rev. Lance Marshall will host a brief time of scripture, devotional reading, and prayer. It’s nothing fancy, just a chance for us to gather together in scripture, in prayer, and in the proclamation that God is great, even when times are trying.


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, FSMM Rental Assistance, United Community Centers, 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 & Rev. Lance Marshall


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