December 2, 2021
Word from the Pastor:
Inconfusedly and Inseparably

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.Colossians 1:15–20

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.Chalcedonian Definition, 451 AD

One good thing about long quotes is that most of the article is already written! In all seriousness, I share these with you as a point of reflection this Advent season. Specifically, we await and watch the coming of God’s only Son into the world. So the questions we ought to be asking are: What does that mean? What does it mean for God to become one of us in Jesus? Why does Jesus being Immanuel (God with us; see Matthew 1:23) change how we see the world and understand ourselves?

Here I give you two things to consider. The first is Paul’s exposition of the matter in Colossians 1:15–20, probably one of my favorite passages from his writings. Here, Paul is trying to say a lot of things, but the core of the message is that Jesus perfectly reflects, embodies, and conveys the very presence of God to all creation. In fact, Jesus the Christ stands at the center of the cosmic order as the reason that all things exist, namely God’s redeeming and reconciling will. In fact, Jesus is more than “the reason for the season,” he is the reason (the divine Logos, Greek for word, plan, or blueprint) for existence in the first place. He stands at the center of all things, and in Him all things are destined to be reconciled through the redemption bought at the price of his shed blood.

So when we say that Jesus came into the world as a precious babe in swaddling clothes, born of Mary, and lived as a peasant in Galilee, we are saying something that ought to shake the foundations of how we live our lives. If we think about it, the very power and plan that brought the world into being came into the lowest and overlooked portions of human life and united Himself with us. He didn’t do this for kicks or because He was a really nice guy and a humanitarian. He did it for us, to be with us, to know our pain, and to heal the wounds inflicted by the powers of sin and death at work in us (see Romans 7:14–20).

It was at the precipice of this great mystery that the church struggled to understand Jesus for centuries. If He and the Father were one (John 10:38), how complete was that union? This and many other questions dogged the church from the time of Jesus into the first great Councils of the church. It is here that the Chalcedonian Definition attempts to bring some clarity.

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the church fathers developed what has become known as the doctrine of the “Hypostatic Union” or, put plainly, the two natures of Christ. Though the definition seems a maze of contradictions, it teaches this: that Jesus the man was a fully human person, without sin. Jesus the Word of God, second person of the Godhead, was fully God. Jesus the man and Jesus the Word of God were fully united, without any divisions between the two for us to idly speculate about. However, their union did not confuse what was true of the one with the other. In other words, Jesus was not a superhero, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound because he shared in union with the divine essence. The simple equation is two natures (God and Perfect Humanity), one person in complete union.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to explore this idea at the heart of the Incarnation, but here is a takeaway for each of us. Advent and Christmas are about nothing less than God’s wholesale invasion of existence to save us and the world. That means we’re important. It means we are loved. The hymns we sing and the manger scenes we erect only point to the mystery of mysteries, that we frail creatures of dust have been destined to share in the eternal glory of God because He first loved us. And not just us. He loved the created order as well, even the animals that shared that stable. In Him we have that “thrill of hope,” and “the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

Thanks be to God!

In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Remember to Pick Up
Your Advent Devotional

Our 2021 Advent devotional, composed by FPC members, is available for pickup in the narthex and the fellowship hallway. Please take only one per family. You can download copies from our website homepage or our Facebook page. Call the church office if you would like to have a devotional mailed to you.
Catch the Wild Goose Sunday
The Wild Goose Christian Community in Floyd County plays and preserves the old mountain music that led to modern bluegrass, and our own Rev. Grace Kim is their pastor. They will be with us in three services this Sunday, December 5. Grace will preach at both morning services, and the Goose will lead music at 9:00 and play a few pieces during the 11:00 service. At 5:00 in the fellowship hall there will be a third, very musical service to which you are invited to bring your own instrument and join in the playing. We will take up a love offering. Everyone is welcome!
December 5
2nd Sunday of Advent
Matthew 28:11–20

Rev. Grace Kim
Last Sunday’s Attendance
9:00: In person: 105;
Livestream: 27; Playback: 67
11:00: In person: 78;
Livestream: 18; Playback: 74
Sunday, December 5
9:00 a.m.
Contemporary Worship
Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.
Sunday School
11:00 a.m.
Traditional Worship
3:00 p.m.
Christmas Play Rehearsal
5:00 p.m.
Bluegrass Service
Fellowship Hall
Monday, December 6
10:00 a.m.
Staff Meeting
Room 123
7:00 p.m.
Board of Deacons
Room 123
Tuesday, December 7
6:00 p.m.
Women’s Advent Gathering
Fellowship Hall
7:00 p.m.
Boy Scout Troop 3
Scout Hall
Wednesday, December 8
6:15 p.m.
Handbell Practice
7:00 p.m.
Praise Band Practice
Fellowship Hall
7:15 p.m.
Choir Practice
Room 202
Thursday, December 9
7:00 a.m.
Men’s Bible Study
8:30 p.m.
Meals on Wheels
Fellowship Hall
Saturday, December 11
10:30 a.m.
Cookie Baking
Big Kitchen

11:00 a.m.
Christmas Play Dress Rehearsal

Volunteer with Bristol Faith In Action
Bristol Faith in Action, an organization that meets needs in Bristol through partnership with churches and others in our community, needs volunteers. There are a number of helper positions open in reception, appointment setting, and the like. For more information, call the Director of BFIA, DeVonne Phipps, at (276) 466-8292, or email her at
Order Poinsettias Now
We have a few more days before we hit the deadline for ordering poinsettias to brighten our worship spaces. Order forms will be in bulletins again this Sunday. The plants are $15 each, and the last day to place an order is Monday, December 6. The poinsettias will grace the sanctuary and fellowship hall from the third Sunday in Advent through Christmas Eve.
Receive the Gift
of Reflection
Get away from the hustle and bustle for a blessed hour of reflection in the peace of meditative organ music. Come to the sanctuary Sunday, December 19, at 3:00 p.m. to listen and reflect on the meaning of the Coming of Christ, as Bob Greene plays a program of meditations on Advent.
Our Christmas Plans
With joy we announce that we will worship together in person this Christmas! We will hold two services on Christmas Eve. Our 5:00 service will be child friendly, and our 7:00 service will be traditional. On December 26, the first Sunday of Christmas, we will have a combined worship service at 11:00.
Women's Advent Gathering
The women of the church are invited to an Advent gathering on Tuesday, December 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m., in the fellowship hall. The Reverend Liz Lambert will speak, and we will share a meal prepared by Sarah Gannaway. We will be invited to do a watercolor painting in response to Rev. Lambert’s message from Isaiah 40:1, “Comfort, comfort my people, says the Lord.” For more information, email Elizabeth Patrick at
Christmas Play Rehearsals
Rehearsals for the children’s Christmas play are being held on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. If your child would like to take part, please see Lilly Osborne or Sujean Bradley. We will present the play, The Innkeeper, Sunday, December 12, at 5:00 p.m.

Drop and Shop Dec. 4
Our Christmas Drop and Shop is scheduled for this Saturday, December 4, from 9:00 to noon. Drop your kids off at the church and go your busy, merry way!
Student Christmas Party Dec. 12
Student Ministries will hold a Christmas party with a white elephant gift exchange ($10 limit) Sunday, December 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the fellowship hall. We’ll have dinner, Christmas cookies, and hot cocoa. Wear your best (or worst) Christmas sweater!
New COVID Protocols
We encourage masks for those not fully vaccinated, or at higher risk of COVID-19 complications. In line with CDC guidelines, please consult your healthcare provider about vaccination.

FPC Serves at Sharing Christ Saturday
We enthusiastically thank our faithful FPC adult and youth volunteers for all they have done this year to help our neighbors at the Sharing Christ downtown mission. Our final service date in 2021 is this Saturday, December 4. If you would like to participate in this ministry of spiritual and physical nourishment in 2022, please email Beth Flannagan or Becca Tate to find out how you can help.
Returning Pledges
If you have not yet made your 2022 pledge, you can do so now by picking up a pledge card at the church or downloading a copy here. You can drop off the completed card at the church office or mail it in, or email your pledge directly to our business manager, Betsy Galliher.

How to Join Us Online
You can watch the livestream of our worship services and other activities at FPC Bristol on YouTube. Click on the link and hit “Subscribe” to receive notifications of new videos. To connect to our various Facebook sites, go to Facebook and type in FPC Bristol. Several accounts will show up. “Like” the page or ask to join a group.

Give Safely
We encourage you to use text, mail, or our website to safely continue your faithful support of our ministries during the pandemic. You can give online by going to our website and clicking on “Give” in the upper right corner. You can send your pledge, offering, or special gift by texting fpcbristol to 73256, or mail your checks directly to the church.
Required Minimum Distribution and Your Year-End Gift

If you are planning to make a year-end gift to First Presbyterian Church and are required take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from a taxable retirement plan, please consider talking to your financial advisor about a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).

A QCD is a direct transfer of funds from your IRA, payable directly to a qualified charity as defined in the QCD provision in the Internal Revenue Code. Amounts distributed as a QCD can be counted toward satisfying your RMD for the year, up to $100,000. In addition, the QCD is excluded from your taxable income and lowers your adjusted gross income and income tax!

Gifts may be designated to church general operations to help fulfill our annual operating budget or to one of our current mission partnerships. A new option is to designate gifts to one of the recently established Legacy Funds: the General Legacy Fund (which provides the broadest impact for years to come) or one of several Designated Legacy Funds specific to various program areas in the church, such as Worship/Music, Christian Education, Missions, or Facilities.

For more information, please call Betsy Galliher in the church office or email her at
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:
  • Margaret Ann Anderson: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Linda Darnell
  • Carl Galliher: to Bristol Faith in Action from Tom & Leigh King; to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Fred & Heidi Harkleroad
  • Alice Moore: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Fred & Heidi Harkleroad
  • Jim Wiseman: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Fred & Heidi Harkleroad
Organist's Footnotes

The gospel music song, “Angel Band” (Sunday's opening hymn), contains lyrics from an 18th-century poem written in common meter pattern. The original poem was titled “My Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast,” which is also the first line of the first stanza. Jefferson Hascall (sometimes found in hymnals as Haskell) wrote the words. The tune behind the lyrics came from J.W. Dadmun’s concept recorded in his tune book The Melodeon, published in 1860. The words could be easily sung to the many hymnal tunes written in common meter, but the tune with which the lyrics became universally associated was “The Land of Beulah,” composed by William Batchelder Bradbury (pictured). This tune was published in 1862 in Bradbury’s Golden Shower of S.S Melodies.

“Angel Band” became widely accepted in folk traditions and published forms in the 19th century. Many artists have recorded it. Among the notable covers are those by the Stanley Brothers, Emmylou Harris, and the Monkees. The Stanley Brothers’ version was included on the soundtrack album of the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Our offertory, “Veni Emmanuel” by Philip Moore (b. 1943), has a mystical quality. Long, sustained chords form a backdrop for fragments of the tune played in unexpected keys.

Aaron David Miller’s (b. 1972) rendition of “Go, tell it on the mountain” is a sprightly gigue, skipping and dancing in 12/8 time (quasi scherzo). A more meditative middle section accompanies the verse, but it quickly ramps back up for the finish.
Pray for One Another
We want to pray for and celebrate with you! Send your prayer requests and glad tidings to

In Our Prayers
Please also pray for the members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Anna Arbo & family
Mendy Bechtold
Bill & Betty Bingham
Bud & Marg Branscomb
Bristol Tennessee City Schools
Becky Busler
Ariel Damasceno
K.D. Forsha
Garrett Foster & family
DeeDee Galliher
John Graham Sr.
Emma Grubbs & Gina Roberson
Lou Hebb
Eddie Hill
Porter Hillery
Davan & Kristi Johnson
Jim & Joan Keith
Marty & Kara Keys
Morgan & Josh King & family
Nancy Lilly
Mary Jane Luffman
Diana Mattison
Dot Mattison
Roger McCracken
Kathy McGlothlin
Montana Indian Ministries
Abigail Myers
National & international leadership
Breanna Necessary
Palestine & Israel
Pastor Bruce Plummer
Don Pridemore
Cora Lee Raccioppo
Bob Rhea
Michelle S.
Susan Solomon
Malcolm Sprinkle
Teachers & school administrators
Margaret Wade
Bill & Patsy Ward
Michael Weller
Deadline & Subscriptions
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701 Florida Avenue | Bristol, TN 37620 | 423-764-7176 |