July 15 & 22, 2021
Word from the Pastor:
Fellow Slave and Servant

We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you
in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word
of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow slave. He is a faithful servant
of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us
your love in the Spirit.
—Colossians 1:4–8

As we continue our series on “Hidden Figures” this month, I thought it would be good to lift up a name you may have seen but knew little about. In verse 7 of Colossians 1, Paul lifts up the name of Epaphras as a person of honor among the house churches in Colossae, a “beloved fellow slave,” and a “faithful servant of Christ on your behalf.” Other than this reference in Colossians 1, Epaphras’s name (short for Epaphroditus) makes only two other appearances in the New Testament. Colossians 4:12 records that Epaphras is their servant who wrestles in prayer for the community, and in Paul’s letter to Philemon (v.23), Paul greets Epaphras because, we believe, Philemon’s house was one of the house churches in Colossae, and so Epaphras would have been known to them.

So who was this Epaphras fellow, and why did Paul lift his name up among those in Colossae?

Honestly, we may never know who Epaphras was beyond these references from Paul. However, if Epaphras was from Colossae, or if his ministry to the churches in the region was anchored in Colossae (as many believe), then we know that Epaphras was dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel to the least of these. You see, by every description we have, Colossae was a once great city turned backwater by the time of Paul. Situated in the Lycus River valley in western Turkey, the once thriving city had declined to the point that by 7 BC Strabo described it as a small town. When a great earthquake struck the region in 60/61 AD, the Roman Empire helped the cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis rebuild and recover quickly but did not deem Colossae important enough to merit such aid (see Dr. Phillip Long’s description of Colossae). In other words, Epaphras was a minor preacher in a minor region in a small group of Christ followers that would have been easy to overlook.

Yet Epaphras was called, equipped, and commissioned to proclaim Christ to those the sophisticated and refined in more urban and affluent areas considered beneath their regard. And here Paul’s reference and attention to Epaphras and his community matter. You see, though Epaphras may not have measured up in terms of power and affluence by standards either modern or ancient, he loved his community and gave all he had to serve them for Christ’s sake. According to Paul, Epaphras even wrestled with God in prayer for them.

Beyond this, judging by the reference in Colossians 4, Epaphras was also valued by Paul for his insight and understanding. As part of Paul’s team, it is likely that Epaphras shared his imprisonment under house arrest in Rome, helping shape the contours of Paul’s preaching and teaching in other letters like Ephesians and Philippians. Moreover, it is in conversation with Epaphras and Onesimus during this imprisonment that we get the most important letter in the New Testament potentially challenging the single most ubiquitous institution in the Roman world: slavery. Though Paul doesn’t outright condemn slavery in the letter to Philemon, it is clear that Paul sees an insurmountable tension between the institution and the universal brother and sisterhood that the body of Christ represents (read verse 16 of Philemon).

All these clues taken together begin to give us a vibrant picture of Epaphras and the community he loved so dearly. Because Epaphras was faithful, teaching and preaching and discipling his small community as well as he could, the fruit of the Spirit blossomed in this little set of communities. In fact, contrary to expectations we might hold for a letter to a small-town church, we see that Epaphras’s ministry and teaching were so effective that Paul felt comfortable sharing a description of the majesty of Christ rivaling any found in other epistles addressed to larger and more “sophisticated” communities. Compare Colossians 1:15–20 with Paul’s description of his teaching to the ultra-wealthy and “sophisticated” community in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:2. Little Colossae, tended by faithful servants like Epaphras, received spiritual meat, while the “elite” in Corinth received spiritual milk because they were not ready for all the nuances of God’s revelation in the Lord Jesus.

Here the hidden figure of Epaphras continues to testify to us today. Whoever you are, and wherever you find yourself, God can and will use you in a mighty way. Advanced degrees are not required, nor is enormous wealth. You don’t have to be from a big place, nor do you have to be large in stature. These things can be helpful, but they are not prerequisites. Instead, what God looks for in a servant is faithfulness, love, and service. These qualities are ultimately fruits born of our allegiance to the Lord Jesus who showed the same to us. And the good news is that Christ can and has called you—even little old you.

In Christ,
Pastor Sam
July 18
8th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 133
Romans 16
Sam Weddington
July 25
9th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 71:18

Hidden Mentors
Katie Arnold

July 4: 9:00: In person: 109;
Livestream: 26; Playback: 67
11:00: In person: 59;
Livestream: 15; Playback: 77

July 11: 9:00: In person: 144;
Livestream: 30; Playback: 73
11:00: In person: 67;
Livestream: 16; Playback: 54
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
4:30 p.m. (July 20)
Human Resources Comm.
Room 123
7:00 p.m. (July 20)
Finance Comm.
7:00 p.m.
Praise Band Practice
Fellowship Hall
7:00 a.m.
Men’s Bible Study
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.
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.
Wednesday Night Programming Resumes
Live from the Fellowship Hall, it's Wednesday Night! On August 18 we will resume our Wednesday night programming. We will return to our pre-COVID-19 custom of gathering at 5:30 for a community meal in the Fellowship Hall, followed at 6:15 by a program in the chapel. We strongly encourage those who are not fully or partially vaccinated to wear a mask.

Snakes Alive!
On Wednesday, July 21, at 5:30 p.m., Nick Meredith will give a snake presentation at shelter G at Steele Creek Park. You are invited to bring your own picnic and stay for dinner and fellowship after the snake presentation. For more information, contact Lilly Osborne.
You're Invited!
Lakeside Celebration Aug. 15

Come to Doe River Gorge Sunday, August 15, for fellowship and fun on a summer afternoon at the lake. This event is free. We will gather at 1:00 and can stay until 6:00 p.m. You can enjoy a sandy beach, blob, zip lines, obstacle course, and sports. The evening will conclude with baptisms in the lake and dinner. If you would like to be baptized, please contact Pastor Sam.

Bring your friends and family for a day of celebrating all God has done for us as a church family. When you register, let us know how many people are coming with you and how many plan to eat dinner. Doe River Gorge is located at 220 Doe River Gorge Road, Hampton, TN.
Building Faith with VBS
We held Vacation Bible School this week for children ages 4 through rising sixth grade, and it was wonderful! Our theme was Concrete and Cranes: Building on the Love of Jesus (Philippians 1:6). We had a fabulous week learning about how we can build our lives on Jesus and His foundation of love.
Two Student Parties Coming Up

FPC Student Fellowship will hold a mystery luau night this Sunday, July 18, from 6:00 to 9:00. Everyone who wants to participate must register to receive information about their character and find clues. It’s all happening at the Williams’s house, 110 Bird Road.

On July 25 Student Fellowship will have a Dive-In Movie at the Williams’s pool from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. Students can watch a movie from the pool and patio, swim, and enjoy fellowship. For more information, contact Katie Arnold.
FPC Students Served Orlando

A group of 23 teens and adults from FPC Student Ministries has returned from Orlando, Florida, after a week of missions with Serve Orlando. Every day the group served with a variety of organizations in the city.

For three mornings at the Orlando Day Nursery, a daycare for the children of low-income, single mothers, students assisted teachers in the classrooms and held babies in the nursery. On the third day, they helped host a water day for all the children. The FPC group also spent two afternoons at the Coalition for the Homeless. Some cleaned, some did yardwork, and others prepared dinner for hundreds of homeless people staying in the dormitories.

One evening the FPC group served dinner at Straight Street, which provides meals and counseling for the homeless. Part of the group spent an afternoon serving at One Purse, a nonprofit that works to give women who have been rescued from the sex industry access to resources to build a healthy life and a sustainable future. One Purse sells donated designer purses and uses the profit for scholarships, internships, and business training. At the end of the week, the group celebrated all their hard work with a day at the Universal Studios amusement park.
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.
Those Special Days in July

This Sunday is simultaneously Nelson Mandela International Day, National Ice Cream Day, and World Listening Day. Inscrutably, none of these special days is on the PCUSA planning calendar. While the other great Abrahamic religions observe holy days in July, we must make the most of days proclaimed special by ... who knows, really? So we can look forward this month to celebrating not only National Gorgeous Grandma Day but many other relatives on Cousins Day, Parents Day, Uncle and Aunt Day, and National Father-in-Law Day. And we will not neglect the days set aside to concentrate on cheesecake, avocados, lasagna, creme brûlée, and milk chocolate.

According to the ever reliable interwebs, today is National Give Something Away Day. FPC volunteers do that every day. That’s how the church lawn gets groomed. Pat Flannagan (July 14–17), Bruce Gannaway (July 21–24), and David Moore (July 28–31) will take their turns on the church mower as the month heats up. Thank you, gentlemen!
Organist's Footnotes

July 18: Our theme of hidden figures in the Bible is paralleled this Sunday by a focus on a lesser known organist and composer of the early 20th century. Charles Quef (1873–1931) studied music at the conservatory in Lille and later attended the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, and Alexandre Guilmant. From 1895 to 1898, he was organist of the Église Sainte-Marie-des-Batignolles and in 1898 became organist of the Église Saint-Laurent, Paris. In the same year, he was awarded the First Prize for organ at the Paris Conservatory, then appointed assistant organist. In November 1901, he became titular organist of the Église de la Ste.-Trinité, Paris, upon the resignation of Guilmant.

Quef succeeded Guilmant in scandalous circumstances. Guilmant had been forced to resign from his post for refusing to sign the acceptance report for the work carried out by Merklin on the Cavaillé-Coll organ in his absence. The instrument had undergone numerous, and disastrous, modifications that altered the musical qualities that Guilmant had so much appreciated and defended. To obtain the succession of Guilmant, Quef agreed to sign the report. This act of defiance cost him the contempt of the public throughout his life and paralyzed his career. He remained in his post until his death at 57 years of age.

I consider Quef hidden in the sense that he was overshadowed by the luminaries around him. Widor, Vierne, and Guilmant were all larger-than-life men. Quef paled by comparison, yet he was an accomplished organist and composer in his own right. My heart goes out to those who, by a twist of fate, have an unfortunate outcome. Men like Quef deserve to be recognized and appreciated for their gifts to humanity.

I am playing all three of Quef’s Trois Pièces pour Orgue Op. 44 (1914). His compositional style is quintessentially late French Romantic. How could it be otherwise? Enjoy!
July 25: On the final Sunday in our sermon series on hidden figures in the Biblelesser known men and women who are worth learning aboutI will play music by three anonymous composers.

The first piece, Offertorio pastorale (prelude), comes from an 18th-century manuscript discovered in the archives of the cathedral in Petroia, Italy. This lively composition is in four short sections, played without interruption, except perhaps just long enough to change registrations. Italian organs of this period had limited pedal divisions and were used primarily to play long pedal tones, as in this piece.

The second piece, “Es ist das Heil uns kommen her” (offertory), is a chorale prelude based on a German chorale. An English translation of the German text reads: “Salvation has come to us from grace and sheer kindness. Works never help, they cannot protect us. Faith looks towards Jesus Christ who has done enough for all of us. He has become our mediator.”

German organ builders developed their pedal divisions much more fully than the Italians did, and their resulting pedal lines are more complex. The melody (chorale tune) is heard in the soprano part weaving in and out over the accompaniment. The accompaniment uses sixteenth notes and thirty-second notes, making for an interesting and satisfying composition.

The third piece, “Rondo for Organ” (postlude), is of English origin, but that is all we know for certain. Tradition has attributed this composition to John Bull (1563–1628), the famous Renaissance English organist and contrapuntal composer. But in the 1980s the British Museum, which houses many of Bull’s manuscripts, discredited that attribution on the basis that it was not supported by a scintilla of evidence. So we shall consider the composer of this rollicking piece to be anonymous.

What is known of John Bull makes for interesting reading. In addition to his virtuosity as a keyboard performer and composer, Bull was also skilled at getting into trouble. A quote from the Archbishop of Canterbury perhaps sums it up best: “The man hath more music than honesty and is as famous for marring of virginity as he is for fingering of organs and virginals.” Enough said about a man who very likely did not compose this piece!
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:
  • David Akard Jr.: to the Local Missions Fund from Bill & Billie Whisnant

  • Tom Daniel: to Capital Funds from Bill & Billie Whisnant

  • David Gomola: to the Student Ministries Fund from Ernie & Karen Pennington

  • Bill McRee: to the Memorial Fund from Bill & Billie Whisnant

  • Bob & Betty Millard: to the Memorial Fund from Bill & Billie Whisnant

  • Bill Wade: to the Church Library Fund from Ann Abel, from Phil & Mary Bailey, from Julie King, from Carl & Reveley McGrady, from Ernie & Karen Pennington, from John Peters, from Dotty Royston, from Bill & Billie Whisnant
In honor of:
  • Sam Weddington’s doctoral work: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from an anonymous donor
Pray for One Another
Our love and sympathy are with Kathy McGlothlin and her family in the death of her mother, Betty Jo Wilson McGlothlin, July 9; and with Rosângela, João Batista, and their family in the death of Rosângela’s mother last weekend after much time in the hospital.
Deadline & Subscriptions
Monday is the deadline for contributions to Windows. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter, by sending your name and preferred email address to the editor.
In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers the members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.

Family of Adam
Bristol Tennessee City Schools
Becky Busler
Lynn Carter
Nicole Crockett
Randi Edwards
K.D. Forsha
Garrett Foster & family
DeeDee Galliher
Deborah Garritson
Families of victims of condo collapse in Florida
Family of Ama Lorine Saddler Graham
John Graham Sr.
Emma & Gina Grubbs
Sandra Grubbs
Gelane Hambawu
Lou Hebb
Eddie Hill
Kathy Hyde
Davan & Kristi Johnson
Kaduna State, Nigeria
Marty & Kara Keys
Morgan & Josh King & family
Cole Lambert
Brenda Lawson
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Roger McCracken
Kathy McGlothlin
Alice Moore
John & Phyllis Morris
Doug Myatt
Abigail Myers
Ginny Osborne
Audrey Page
Palestine & Israel
Nelson Pyle
Cora Lee Raccioppo
Brittany Salter
Julie Schureck
Jerry Swam Sidi
Malcolm Sprinkle
Margaret Wade
Michael Weller
Wendy White
701 Florida Avenue | Bristol, TN 37620 | 423-764-7176 |