July 1, 2021
Statue of Rev. John Witherspoon on the Princeton campus.

Word from the Pastor:
Hidden Figures

For just as the body is one and has many members,
and all the members of the body, though many, are one body,
so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized
into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—
and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member
but of many.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14

With July 4 falling on Sunday this year, many of us are faced with the conundrum of when, exactly, to roll out the grill and set off the fireworks. While I wish you all a happy Independence Day, I hope to see you in worship before the celebrations.

Here’s a fun fact relevant to this overlap of the Lord’s Day and our national holiday. It turns out that of all the signatories of the Declaration, only one was a clergyperson. Under the fifth column of signatures of the delegates from New York and New Jersey is that of the Rev. John Witherspoon.

Witherspoon was a very interesting man and a pivotal figure in American history. A Scottish Presbyterian minister who was imprisoned because of his opposition to the Jacobites (resulting in ill health and suffering for the remainder of his life), he came to America in 1768 to become the President of the College of New Jersey, at the time a small Presbyterian college that would come to be known as Princeton University. By all accounts, Witherspoon was a force of nature, helping the ailing college through several reforms that would place it in a position of greater prominence in the years to come. He also helped found Nassau Presbyterian Church, which sits right outside the grounds of Princeton. A stained-glass window in the chapel at Princeton bears his likeness.

According to the accounts of his students, Witherspoon was an inspirational teacher, pastor, and theologian. Those who studied under him (and become adherents to his Calvinist convictions about the need to check human power because of its depravity) were other founding fathers like James Madison, drafter of the US Constitution; Aaron Burr, third vice-president of the United States; three Supreme Court justices; 12 members of the Continental Congress; 28 US senators; and 49 members of the US House of Representatives. Witherspoon himself served in the New Jersey Legislature, helped draft the Articles of Confederation, and pushed the ratification of the US Constitution. He was also the moderator of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, of which we are proudly a part.

This does not suggest that Witherspoon was perfect. Like most of his colleagues, he owned slaves. Strangely, he was able to both teach and equip former slaves for the purpose of advancing education and the Gospel, advocate for the gradual abolition of slavery, and condemn the slave trade while owning slaves himself. Despite his passion for the freedom of conscience and the right and free exercise of religion, he was never able to connect his conviction that the “temporal and eternal happiness of us and our posterity” that flowed from “civil and religious liberties” ought to extend to those in chains (see his sermon “The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men”). He was imperfect. We do posterity no service by passing over our failings.

Nevertheless, I believe Witherspoon is one of those interesting hidden figures in our history, and even in the larger story of the church of Jesus. Though imperfect, he had a role to play, as we all do. By God’s grace, he was faithful with the insight and conviction granted him by God. As Paul reminds us, there are many members of the “body,” and they all have a part in God’s design. Each of us shares in that call to serve as the Lord gives us the ability. We cannot be a complete body without each and every one of us.

Keep this in mind this month as we begin our new series on hidden figures in Scripture and the story of the church. Dr. Laura Ong, Ruling Elder, will begin this series with the story of the prophet Hulda, who played a pivotal role in Israel’s story and was called by God to tell a king and his religious entourage things they did not want to hear, especially from a woman. The following Sunday, Pastor Steven Davis will share his personal testimony of how God took him from prison and set him on his present course of Christian recovery ministries.

More stories will follow in July. In each, we can give thanks to God that even in the smallest of things or what we might even consider the smallness of our lives, God can change the course of nations and the world. Our faith is that in and through Christ, even the hidden figures of history bear eternal testimony to the sovereignty and righteousness of God.

In Christ,
Pastor Sam
July 4
6th Sunday after Pentecost
2 Kings 22:14–20
Hidden Figures
Laura Ong, Ruling Elder
June 13: 9:00: In person: 104; Livestream: 26; Playback: 68
11:00: In person: 66;
Livestream: 12; Playback: 42
June 20: 9:00: In person: 109; Livestream: n/a; Playback: n/a
11:00: In person: 71;
Livestream: n/a; Playback: n/a
June 27: 9:00: In person: 122; Livestream: 27; Playback: 70
11:00: In person: 69;
Livestream: 12; Playback: 42
All worship services are also livestreamed.

9:00 a.m.
Contemporary Worship
Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.
Sunday School
11:00 a.m.
Traditional Worship
10:00 a.m.
Staff Meeting
Room 123
7:00 p.m.
Praise Band Practice
Fellowship Hall
7:00 a.m.
Men’s Bible Study
8:30 a.m.
Meals on Wheels
Fellowship Hall
Our 2021 College Graduates
Congratulations to our college graduates of 2021!

  • Caitlin Bolick CarronWayne State University, with Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
  • RD GodseyGeorgia Institute of Technology.
  • Patrick HavlikUniversity of North Carolina with Ph.D. in microbiology, with a specialty in therapeutic genetics.
  • Austin HensonWest Point, Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
  • Allison LooneyAppalachian State University. She will head to Savannah College of Art and Design for her master’s.
  • Dewey PendleyUnited States Naval Academy, Operations Research. He will commission as an Ensign in US Navy in Special Warfare and train in Coronado, CA, in September. 
Pray Orlando!
Our Student Ministries group set off Saturday for their mission trip to Orlando. As they get ready to make their way back, we ask that you pray for their safe return. We can’t wait to hear the awesome stories of how God was present with these kids.
We Welcome Our Newest Members

We received new members into our congregation last Sunday. Katerina “Kat” Borsch grew up in Bristol and was involved in the church during her school years. The daughter of Jennifer Kennedy (ruling elder) and mother of Primrose (6) and Lilly (4), Kat is a physical therapist who now resides in Bristol permanently. She is also an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys horses, hiking, and camping.

We also welcome new members Tim and Alison Meredith and their sons, Peter, Nick, Tom, Rob, Sam, and T.Rex. The two youngest boys plan to join the church when they have completed the confirmation course.
Kat Borsch and daughters
The Meredith parents and sons
July Mission Focus on Fairmount
For the month of July our mission focus is on providing the office supplies the teachers of our neighborhood school need, so that they do not have to buy them themselves. We are collecting the following items: tape dispensers, scissors, mechanical pencils, gel pens, highlighters, Post-it notes, sticky tabs, Sharpies, staplers and staples, paper clips, binder clips, tissues, Magic Markers, colored file folders, and erasers.

On each Sunday in July as you enter worship, please bring your donated school supplies to the front of the Fellowship Hall or to the chancel. We will celebrate God’s goodness together each week before delivering the supplies to Fairmount.
Donate Your Old Cell Phone to BFIA

If you have an old cell phone that you aren’t using, would you consider donating it to Bristol Faith in Action? BFIA needs cell phones that are no older than four years (or so). They want to use the camera and quick document functions to help process information as clients come in. If you have an old cell phone sitting around, please bring it to the church. We will reset it, wipe it of all your personal information, and convert it for use by BFIA. You can drop it off at the front office. Thank you! /Pastor Sam
Sunshine but No Hay

Randy Olson (June 30–July 3) mows the church lawn for Independence Day. Fred Harkleroad (July 7–10) follows up next week. Volunteer for the church mowing team! Bring the kids! They can move debris to the curb while you mow. To get a place on the schedule, contact Randy Cook at or 423-956-1541.
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.
Give Safely
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 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 the church.
Do you Fly Allegiant Air?

Our Scout Troop needs to get rid of a $363 Allegiant Air voucher!

Troop 3 recently had a wonderful trip to Sea Base, a high adventure scout camp in the Florida Keys. A change in travel plans for a couple of these sailors left the troop with a $363 voucher for Allegiant Airlines, and they would love for a member of FPC to use it! The voucher can be used by any person toward the cost of Allegiant Air tickets to any location before January 15, 2022.
The voucher can be yours for a donation of $363 to Troop 3. If you want to pay less, make an offer and Troop 3 just might take it! Please direct all questions to Jason Edwards.
Feeding the Hungry through Sharing Christ

On Saturday, a team of FPC volunteers went to the Sharing Christ mission downtown to serve the hungry. We want to thank all the volunteers who prepared food, brought other provisions, and labored together to feed those in need. June 26 was just the second week of the program’s return to the pre-pandemic norm of serving folks inside. We had fewer diners last weekend, but the food not served at Sharing Christ provided several casseroles and lunches for Haven of Rest, where they were happy to have them.

Barbara Knowles, whose family has been the foundation of Sharing Christ for nearly 30 years, reports that the number of organizations (primarily churches) that serve at Sharing Christ has not yet returned to the pre-pandemic number. We may be notified if she has an open date that has not been filled. Our next scheduled date to serve is October 9.

If you are interested in this ministry and want to be connected in the future, please email Beth Flannagan or Rebecca Tate. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).
Write a Reflection for Our Advent Devotional

The Worship Committee invites the congregation to participate in our 2021 Advent Devotional by submitting devotions of no more than 300 words. Your reflections will enhance our time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For more information, email Han Ong or Candy Phelps by August 1. To submit a devotion, email it to Han by October 1.
Register Children or Volunteer for VBS Online

The theme of this summer’s Vacation Bible School is Concrete and Cranes: Building on the Love of Jesus (Philippians 1:6). VBS is scheduled for July 11–14 from 5:30 to 8:30 each evening at the church. Register by July 1 to be guaranteed a shirt! You can register children ages 4 through completed fifth grade, and also sign up to volunteer, here.
John S. Dixon Concert at Central PC

Organist and composer John S. Dixon will be in concert at Central Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, July 14, at 7:00 p.m. The concert will be informal, with Dixon commenting on his compositions throughout. There will be a Q&A and a brief reception after the concert. Copies of free music will be available, and Dixon’s published music will be sold at a discount. Plan to attend prepared for social distancing, and please wear a mask.

Dixon was recently elected to the National Council of the American Guild of Organists to serve as Treasurer/Councillor for Finance and Development. He is the organist and composer-in-residence at Providence Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach.
Organist's Footnotes

As our July sermon series, Hidden Figures, will focus on people who are not well known, people who are incidental in the grand narratives of the Old and New Testaments, I decided it would be fun to explore some musical “hidden figures,” unknown or little-known composers who nevertheless have made significant contributions to our present-day hymnody.

All the organ music and hymns for Independence Day are African American spirituals. Our prelude will be “Prelude on Deep River,” which has been called “perhaps the best-known and best-loved spiritual.” It was popularized by Henry Burleigh in his 1916 collection Jubilee Songs of the USA. The song was performed at the funeral of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by opera singer Denyce Graves on September 25, 2020.

Deep river, my home is over Jordan.
Deep river, Lord, I want to cross over into campground.
Oh, don't you want to go to that Gospel-feast?
That Promised Land, where all is peace?

Our communion music will be the haunting “Cortège on Calvary.” The words pertain to Christ’s crucifixion. Our postlude will be “Jazz Prelude on Swing Low.” The composers of the first two arrangements are unknown, but Wallis Willis composed this song sometime after 1865. Willis was a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory in what is now Choctaw County, near the county seat of Hugo, Oklahoma.
All the arrangements for organ are by Dennis Janzer (b. 1954) and come from his Second Organ Book of Spirituals, Op. 20, published in 2006. Janzer is a performer, teacher, and award-winning composer. He is Director of Music at St. Mary’s Cathedral and organ instructor at Rhodes College, Memphis, TN. ASCAP has honored and acknowledged the activity generated by his published compositions by awarding him an ASCAPlus award annually since 1996.

Janzer’s education has been diverse. He has a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Miami, a Master of Fine Arts in Theory/Composition from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a Master of Science in Bio-medical Engineering from Marquette University.
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:
  • Dick Bolick: to the Brazil Mission Fund from Fred & Heidi Harkleroad; to the Memorial Fund from Dale & Molly Keller

  • Tom Daniel: to the Memorial Fund from Sam & Selma Jennings

  • David Gomola: to the Memorial Fund from Ann & Bill Woods

  • Ron Grubbs: to the Memorial Fund from Sam & Selma Jennings

  • Bonnie Haskins: to the Memorial Fund from Dot Mattison, from Ann & Bill Woods; to the Music Projects Fund from Kathy Justice & Donna Wallace, from Carl & Reveley McGrady

  • Bob & Betty Millard: to the Memorial Fund from Sam & Selma Jennings

  • Chuck Thompson: to the Memorial Fund from Sam & Selma Jennings

  • Bill Wade: to the Church Library Fund from Fred & Heidi Harkleroad, from Ann & Bill Woods; to the Memorial Fund from Sam & Selma Jennings
In honor of:
  • First Presbyterian Church Choir: to the Music Projects Fund from the families of Bonnie & Gene Haskins
Pray for One Another
To the Church Triumphant
Ann Peavler Barton
Former Member
June 12, 2021

Ann McIver Goodpasture
Former Member
June 1, 2021

Our love and sympathy are with Manda Fox and her family in the death of her mother, Ama Lorine Saddler Graham, June 23.

Last Sunday at the 9:00 service, Livy McMillin, daughter of Bart and Amber McMillin, was baptized in the dress that Debbie wore at her christening not so long ago.

May God strengthen and bless this family, and may we support them faithfully as the body of Christ.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship for July
To help protect your security, we will no longer list birthdates in Windows. Instead, we will publish an alphabetical list of those having birthdays in a given month in that month’s first issue.

Brad Arnold
Lisa Bailey
Lisa Beaver
Micah Bechtold
Rebecca Beck
Kevin Benton
Danielle Booher
Ralph Booher
Bryan Boyd
Gracie Brooks
Blake Collins
Laurel Collins
Mark Comer
Barbara Daniel
Nancy DeFriece
Allyson Dowdell
Barbara Duncan
Jan Eads
Liz Esposito
Mary Tate Gannaway
Wyatt Gross
Lilly Hankins
Porter Hillery
Nancy Hoffer
George Huber
Jennifer Kennedy
Campbell Kent
Leigh King
Jeff Looney
Cyndi Madison
Lelia Matney
Baine McInnis
Livy McMillin
Andy Mumpower
Olin Mumpower
Shawn Nelson
Moses Ong
Ginny Osborne
Ray Osborne
Linda Pridemore
Harold Rutherford
Denny Samuel
Carol Tudor
Kay Wiseman
In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers the members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.

Bristol Tennessee City Schools
Becky Busler
Lynn Carter
Nicole Crockett
Family of Darrell Davis
Randi Edwards
K.D. Forsha
Garrett Foster & family
DeeDee Galliher
Deborah Garritson
John Graham Sr.
Emma & Gina Grubbs
Sandra Grubbs
Lou Hebb
Eddie Hill
Davan & Kristi Johnson
Kaduna State, Nigeria
Marty & Kara Keys
Morgan & Josh King & family
Cole Lambert
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Roger McCracken
Kathy McGlothlin & mother
Alice Moore
John & Phyllis Morris
Doug Myatt
Abigail Myers
Ginny Osborne
Palestine & Israel
Cora Lee Raccioppo
Brittany Salter
Julie Schureck
Jerry Swam Sidi
Malcolm Sprinkle
Violence from election in Mexico
Michael Weller
Wendy White
Deadline & Subscriptions
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701 Florida Avenue | Bristol, TN 37620 | 423-764-7176 |