Word from the Pastor:
All These Things
Instead, seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
—Matthew 6:33 (my translation)
One of the worries I had as your pastor in 2020 was that, in the midst of COVID-19 and all its complications and losses, we might have to face significant financial troubles for reasons we all know and I can’t bring myself to review this morning. I was also worried about not meeting our pledge goals for 2021 for these same reasons.
Today I am glad to say that God has shown my worry to be foolish. Because of your faithful generosity, not only did we meet our funding goals for 2020, we exceeded those goals to the point that our tithe of the surplus was one of the largest in our church’s history. We were also able to send unprecedented support to help our local and international partners to buy food and give relief to those who are suffering. Moreover, by God’s grace and God’s faithfulness on display in your giving and commitment to FPC, I am so happy to report that we have met 99.2% of our 2021 pledge campaign goals, with a few pledges still to come in.
I cannot underscore to you strongly enough what a financial miracle has taken place in our midst. God is so very good! Thank you, FPC Bristol! Through you, God continues to do amazing things.
In closing, I would highlight the words Jesus preached to us from that famous mountainside. When we seek God’s kingdom and rule in our lives, the other problems and challenges will be met in amazing ways. It won’t always happen the way we want it to, but God is faithful and gives us exactly what we need.
As we have watched God’s provision among us, my prayer is that you will see and recognize that same miracle take place in your and your family’s lives. When we follow God’s lead, all these other things (Greek, tauta panta, all things in an absolutely encompassing sense) will be given as we have need. Walk in faith, and know that a faithful God goes before you.
Community Prayer Meeting Friday
Please join our community online for a virtual prayer meeting this Friday! Bring your heart, your burdens, and your faith as we draw near to God in prayer.
Topic: FPC Community Prayer
Time: January 29, 7:00 p.m.
Meeting ID: 826 4875 1043
+13017158592,,82648751043# US (Washington D.C)
+13126266799,,82648751043# US (Chicago)
4th Sunday after Epiphany
Last Sunday’s Attendance
Livestream: 88; Playbacks: 188
Sunday, January 31
Middle School Zoom
High School Zoom
Monday, February 1
Board of Deacons,
Tuesday, February 2
Thursday, February 4
Men’s Bible Study,
How to Join Us Online
Subscribe to our YouTube
channel to watch the livestream of our early worship service and other activities. Just click here
and hit “Subscribe.” You will receive notifications of new videos. We also suggest that you connect to us on Facebook
. On Facebook, type in “FPC Bristol,” and several accounts will show up. Some are open to the public, while others are restricted. In either case, “Like” the page, or ask to join a group if it is closed.
Sunday Bible Study Online
We are continuing to offer an adult Bible study on Sundays on our YouTube channel. This study, Praying With the Psalms, looks at the Book of Psalms through the lens of prayer. All you need is a Bible and an open heart.
We Are Praying Together
We are asking all members of our congregation to join our 7-12-7 Prayer Campaign. Please choose the time convenient for you (7:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., or 7:00 p.m.) and join us daily in prayer. Together we will ask for God’s guidance, deliverance, and mercy for our church, community, nation, and world. If you cannot pray at those hours, please pray when you can! We are facing great challenges, but God is greater still.
We Return to In-Person Worship This Sunday
Many of you have had questions about the church’s plans for returning to in-person worship at the church. On January 11 the session thoroughly discussed when to return to limited, in-person worship and unanimously decided to remain virtual-only through January 24. We intend to return to limited, in-person worship, with masks, distancing, limited seating, and other safety measures, and resume our normal schedule of 9:00 contemporary and 11:00 traditional worship on January 31.
The logic behind this decision is that COVID-19 infection rates continue to decline in our region, from a high of 245 new cases on December 20 to the most recent low of 55 on January 24. This decline seems to indicate that we are moving swiftly past the post-Thanksgiving and post-Christmas surges. Continue to pray for further declines, lift all medical personnel and first responders up to God, and remember those who have and continue to suffer from this disease.
We will have hybrid Sunday School classes for youth, with an in-person and online offerings. Adult classes will resume as normal. We will also offer a limited nursery, the size of which will depend on the availability of volunteers and staff to work it. We will also have Kids’ Kirk and other activities as they are scheduled.
We are very happy to announce that this Sunday for the first time we will be able to livestream the 11:00 service in addition to our normal livestream of the 9:00 service. You can stream our services on YouTube here
or on our Facebook page
, or replay them through the video player on our website
. To that end, when you come to the sanctuary, you will see some of the changes that technology has wrought. The padding of the pews is scheduled for February.
As with all things that we do, we will strive to do them well, responsibly, and faithfully. Please pray for our church and its leadership in the weeks ahead.
We're Almost There!
The Stewardship Committee is excited to announce that God has richly blessed our 2021 Stewardship pledge campaign. Thanks to your faithfulness and generosity, we are only $6,000 away from meeting our 2021 pledge goal of $653,000. These gifts will allow our church to continue all its vital ministries to our local community and our mission partners overseas. Join us in our prayers of thanksgiving to our heavenly Father!
If you have not yet pledged and would like to do so, please contact the church office for assistance. As we look toward the easing of this pandemic, we can all seek to offer our gifts of time and talent (as well as our financial resources), serving God together as one body.
With grateful hearts,
Your FPC Stewardship Committee (Blake Bassett, Rhonda Comer, Chase Mitchell, Laura Ong, Matt Peltier, Karen Pennington, Annette Tudor, and John Vann)
Year-End Financial Mailing
The 2020 year-end financial report summary and 2021 budget summary are going out in the mail this week. A mission giving report for 2020 is included in the mailing. From the mission giving report, we can envision the breadth of lives touched through the many ministries.
In September, the Stewardship Committee wrote to the church:
“When each member of the body contributes in faith, we become “More Than the Sum” of our individual efforts. Christ knits us together as a faith community and multiplies our gifts to Him and to our community in ways that we cannot imagine!”
For 162 years, God has knitted us together to make the way for FPC to continue His work. Work didn’t halt in 2020, but much of it didn’t look quite the way any of us had envisioned. Instead, God provided new opportunities for mission work. As the year unfolds, we will see just how God will knit us together in 2021.
Claire's Birthday Mission
Our own Claire Hankins is sharing the following appeal with the world,
and we want to make sure our readers see it. She also has uploaded a short video message
Many teenagers want their 16th birthday to be particularly special. For my 16th birthday, I have decided to make my celebration not about me. That is why I am not having a party, or taking a trip, or asking for gifts at all. While we have lives where three meals a day and a full education are normal, there are people in the world for whom those are luxuries. So I am asking for donations to help me support the Bethel Evangelical Secondary School in Dembi Dollo, Ethiopia.
My church, First Presbyterian Church, has regularly supported this school for many years. My goal is to raise $800, the cost of one year’s tuition for a teenage girl at BESS. The pastor of my church tells me that this school is the best and one of the few avenues for Christian girls to receive an adequate education in that region. Many of the girls at BESS come from dire poverty and they would never receive an education without BESS. After their time at the school, many of the girls go on to Gidada Theological School and become missionaries and evangelists in their own community.
It would mean the world to me if you could help me raise enough money to provide education for a girl my age at BESS. If you would like to donate, please write a check to FPC Bristol and write BESS–Claire in the memo line. Then, either give the check to me or mail it to the church at 701 Florida Avenue, Bristol, TN. Or give online
. All gifts are tax deductible.
During the pandemic, we encourage you to use text, mail, or our website for your continued, faithful support of our ministries. You can give online by going to fpcbristol.org and clicking on “Give” in the upper right corner. You can send your pledge, offering, or special gift by texting fpcbristol to 73256. You can also mail your checks directly to First Presbyterian Church, 701 Florida Avenue, Bristol, TN 37620.
Connect and Communicate
Can you make a quick call once a month to approximately eight members of the church, to see how they’re doing and share what’s new at FPC? If so, please let the church office know. We want you on the team!
Paul Otto Manz (1919–2009) was born to Otto and Hulda (Jeske) Manz in Cleveland, Ohio. Trained as an educator at Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois (now Concordia University Chicago), he earned a master's degree in music at Northwestern University.
A Fulbright grant enabled him to study with Flor Peeters in Belgium and Helmut Walcha in Germany. The Belgian government invited him to be the official US representative in ceremonies honoring Peeters on his 80th birthday and 60th year as titular organist of the Cathedral of Saint Rombout in Mechelen. At that time, Peeters referred to his former student as “my spiritual son.”
As a performer, Manz was most famous for his celebrated hymn festivals. Instead of playing traditional organ recitals, Manz would generally lead a festival of hymns from the organ, in which he introduced each hymn with one of his famously creative organ improvisations based on the hymn tune in question. The congregation would then sing the hymn with his accompaniment. Sometimes he would play an improvisation between each sung stanza, as with his well-known variations on the tune “St. Anne,” sung with the Isaac Watts text “Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past” with which he would traditionally end each festival. Many volumes of these improvisations have been published and are played by church organists throughout the world.
Gifts to the Church
Memorials and honoraria are published in the newsletter only after the family has been personally notified by our business office. Today we gratefully acknowledge the following gifts:
In memory of:
Cara Anderson: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Dr. Gary Baggs (brother-in-law of Al & Loretta Thomas): to the Christian Hands Ministry from Jim White; to the Memorial Fund from an anonymous donor
Dr. Gary Baggs & Delores Mittlesteadt (aunt of Loretta Thomas): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Graham Barr: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Chad Cline (son of Karen White): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Tom Daniel: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Helen Davidson (aunt of Rhonda Comer): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Dorothy Dollar: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Jim White
Kevin Flannagan (nephew of Pat Flannagan): to the Music Ministries Fund from Jim White
Patsy Frizzell: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Martha Ginn (mother of Dave Ginn): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor; to the Music Ministries Fund from Jim White
Diane Glymph (mother of Mary Ellis Rice): to the Music Ministries Fund from Jim White
Jimmy Goebel (brother of Jane Nickels): to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Jim White
Vivian Hill: to the Christian Hands Ministry from John & Ellen Manney, from an anonymous donor; to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor; to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Jim White
Lisa Holmes: to Youth Ministries from Jim White
Richard Lee (cousin of Jim White): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor; to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from an anonymous donor
Frank & Jackie Leonard (parents of Robin North): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Virginia Long (mother of Lilly Osborne): to the Children’s Ministries Fund from Jim White; to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Jim Mayden: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Mac McElroy: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Delores Mittlesteadt (aunt of Loretta Thomas): to the Christian Hands Ministry from Jim White
Matthew Newton: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Tony Raccioppo: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Andy Rutherford (son of Louise Rutherford): to the Memorial Fund from an anonymous donor
Louise Rutherford: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Virginia Rutherford: to the Christian Hands Ministry from Jim White; to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor; to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from John & Ellen Manney, from Barb Thompson, from an anonymous donor
Joan Sams (mother of Scott Sams): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor; to the Friendship Class from Jim White
Sam Samuel: to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Larry Story & Kathy Story (parents of Brandon Story): to the Christmas Eve Offering from an anonymous donor
Peggy Truman (mother of Linda Welch): to the Brazil Mission Fund from Jim White
Laura Ann Warner: to the Memorial Fund from an anonymous donor; to the Music Ministries Fund from Jim White
In honor of:
FPC Staff: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Frances Emerson & George Huber
Barb Thompson: to the Chuck Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund at King University from John & Karen Vann
Sam Weddington: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Frances Emerson & George Huber
Dave Welch: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Frances Emerson & George Huber
It is with great joy and celebration that we introduce to you Margaret Jane Rice, born January 26 to Meg and Drew Rice. Thanks be to God! Be in prayer for Drew, Meg, Hugh, and Margaret Jane that the transition home will be seamless, and when the time is right, we can all greet the newcomer in person!
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Jan. 31 Andrea Hyde
Feb. 2 Geneva King, Isabelle Ladd, Kate Zeiler
Feb. 3 Josh Pruner
Feb. 4 John Graham
Our love and sympathy are with Kelley Mayden in the death of her father, Robert Cleveland Duncan, January 20; and with Teresa and David Mills and family in the death of Teresa’s mother, Patricia Waddell Bolling, January 23.
To the Church Triumphant
Ronald L. Grubbs Sr.
January 22, 2021
Harry Lee Hillery
January 21, 2021
In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers the members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Becky & Tony Adams & family
Family of David Akard Jr.
Bristol Tennessee City Schools
Dee Eldreth & family
Sara & Sam Ferguson
John Graham Sr.
Emma & Gina Grubbs
Sandra Grubbs & family
Nate & Angela & infant Addelynn Higgins
Porter Hillery & the Friendship Class
Davan & Kristi Johnson
Marty Keys & family
Morgan & Josh King & family
Laura & George Linke
Family of Dr. Bill Martin
Kathy McGlothlin & mother
Teresa Mills & family
Jodi & Kreg Ramey
Meg & Drew Rice & newborn Margaret Jane
Mark & Julianne Stapleton
Katie & Parker Sword
Tom Vann & family
Bill & Margaret Wade
Amy Webb & family
Dave & Linda Welch
Deadline & Subscriptions
Deadline for contributions to Windows is the Monday of the week of publication. To subscribe to our free e-newsletter, send your name and preferred email address to email@example.com.
701 Florida Avenue | Bristol, TN 37620 | 423-764-7176 | fpcbristol.org