September 23, 2021
Word from the Pastor:
Getting and Giving

As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,
cast out demons. You received without payment;
give without payment.
Matthew 10:7–8

There’s a lot coming up in the life of the church very soon. On Sunday, October 3, we will begin our nominations process for church officers. We need to nominate and elect five elders, five deacons, and one trustee this year. Those roles allow us to continue the work of the church by lifting up, training, and empowering leaders among us to make critical decisions and to serve the congregation. (You can read more about the process below.) On October 10, we will begin our Stewardship campaign for next year.

We’re going to be talking a lot about giving and getting, a very uncomfortable topic. Most of us tend to be protective of our treasure and our time and find the idea of sustained serving daunting. I think this is most pronounced in our COVID-19 era. We’re all feeling stretched, and the idea of giving a bit more seems overwhelming.

Of this, however, Jesus still speaks to us today. In verse 7 above, Jesus sets the frame for all our goals and expectations. The kingdom of heaven, of God, has come near! If we are measuring our ability to give next to all the demands of our day-to-day lives, of course things seem overwhelming. There’s never enough time in the day to do what needs to be done. However, we are also called to view time, our time, in light of what God has and will do. In other words, our time is not our own, and all our goals are relative next to the wonderful pronouncement that God is at work in the world and in us as we await God’s perfection.

Jesus then speaks the words in verse 8. As important as our everyday tasks are, we have been given real power by Christ to bring about change and to work for the kingdom. Raising the dead, healing the sick, and casting out demons are no mean feats! However, He has given us this power, and we are to take it seriously. That means we bring His liberating Spirit into every task we undertake, and in the power of the Spirit even ordinary things and tasks can shatter enslaving bonds and liberate the captive.

And now we come to it: You received without payment; give without payment. At first glance, these are tough words that ask us to dig deeply in a pot of scarce resources, whether time, talents, or treasure. However, ask yourself: what have we received? We haven’t just received a bit more of what we already had. We have been given everything, free of charge! And that means that the same Spirit that brings the kingdom near and empowers us to break the bonds is the same Spirit that will allow us to give in similar measure.

So think about serving. Think about those who are called to serve. Pray for this nominations process. May God go before our every endeavor.

In Christ,
Pastor Sam

Nominations for Church Officers
Begin Oct. 3

We will take nominations for five elders, five deacons, and one trustee from Sunday, October 3, to Sunday, October 31. Please nominate whoever you feel best meets the requirements listed for these roles on the nomination form. Forms are available at the church, on our website, and here. You can also email your recommendations directly to the Nominating Committee.
September 26
18th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 106:43–47
Genesis 45:25–28
Luke 15:11–24
Parable of the Prodigal Son
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday’s Attendance
In person: 109;
Livestream: 37; Playback: 80

In person: 57;
Livestream: 16; Playback: 57
Sunday, September 26
9:00 a.m.
Contemporary Worship
Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.
Sunday School
11:00 a.m.
Traditional Worship
4:00 p.m.
Meet at Church
Monday, September 27
7:00 p.m.
Session of Elders
Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, September 28
10:00 a.m.
Staff Meeting
Room 123
Boy Scout Troop 3
Scout Hall
Wednesday, September 29
6:15 p.m.
Adult Enrichment
High School Small Groups
Student Room
Wednesday Night Kids
Education Wing
Handbell Practice
7:00 p.m.
Praise Band Practice
Fellowship Hall
7:15 p.m.
Choir Practice
Thursday, September 30
7:00 a.m.
Men’s Bible Study
Last Call for Advent Reflections

We need a few more reflections from our congregation for our forthcoming Advent Devotional. If you are willing to write a devotion of no more than 300 words to help us all to prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, please email Han Ong or Candy Phelps this week.
We Want to Hear from You

Our Stewardship campaign for 2022 is about to take off, and we are asking you to help fuel it by sharing your stories of the part the church has played in your life in 2021. We are eager to hear how you and your family have experienced community and grace in our life together. Please send us an email telling your story or an experience you have had of God’s grace in our communal life. If you can, please include pictures and videos. Your story could be used by the Stewardship Committee in the upcoming campaign. You may, of course, ask to remain anonymous. Email your stories, pictures, and videos directly to the Stewardship Committee or link to the mailer.
We last served with Sharing Christ in June.

Volunteers Needed at Sharing Christ Oct. 9

Our next opportunity to serve those in need in downtown Bristol is coming up October 9. Will you join us in this outreach through the Sharing Christ mission? We need a few volunteers to serve dinner at the mission and clean up afterwards—but we need only one more spaghetti casserole! To volunteer or to get a copy of the easy recipe, please contact Beth Flannagan or Becca Tate.
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.
In Their Stars

By the time you read this, it will be yesterday’s news, but we must report for the record that Ron Fox (September 22–25) prepares the landing site as the autumnal equinox falls this week, yes, this week. David Moore (September 29–October 2) will even the field for a smooth kickoff to our officer nominating process on World Communion Sunday.
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.
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:

  • Ron Grubbs: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from Chuck & Suzee Bolick 
  • Betty McGlothlin: to the Memorial Fund from Kathleen McGlothlin
  • Alice Moore: to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund from John & Alice Graham, from Diane Harrison, from George & Junella McClellan
Organist's Footnotes

This Sunday’s worship will focus on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. I will be playing two of my own organ pieces.

“Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” (our prelude) is based on the sturdy Early American shape-note hymn, RESTORATION. The refrain of this hymn (which we will sing) says, “I will arise and go to Jesus; he will embrace me in his arms. In the arms of my dear Savior, O there are ten thousand charms.”

The postlude, “Toccata on ‘O Come Unto the Lord’” is an arrangement based on a song I wrote years ago in memory of Laurie McCord (daughter-in-law of Jim and Daphne McCord). We have been singing this song as a response each week in September. Its text, written by a Korean Presbyterian minister, is directed to those who have wandered from the ways of God and feel their sins disqualify them from returning to seek forgiveness. They (and we) are assured that there is no limit to God’s love made known through Jesus Christ.
Pray for One Another
We want to pray for and celebrate with you! Send your prayer requests and glad tidings to

Our love and sympathy are with Doug and Amy Williams on the death of their grandchild Elijah Hekeem Ramey on September 16.

In Our Prayers
Please also pray for the members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Jean Addison
Anna Arbo & family
Bill & Betty Bingham
Bud & Marg Branscomb
Bristol Tennessee City Schools
Becky Busler
Ariel Damasceno
Randi Edwards
K.D. Forsha
Garrett Foster & family
Ron Fox
DeeDee Galliher
John Graham Sr.
Emma & Gina Grubbs
Lou Hebb
Eddie Hill
Porter Hillery
Davan & Kristi Johnson
Kaduna State, Nigeria
Jim & Joan Keith
Marty & Kara Keys
Morgan & Josh King & family
Nancy Lilly
Diana Mattison
Dot Mattison
Roger McCracken
Kathy McGlothlin
Montana Indian Ministries
Family of Alice Moore
Abigail Myers
National & international leadership
Breanna Necessary
Palestine & Israel
Pastor Bruce Plummer
Cora Lee Raccioppo
Family of Elijah Hekeem Ramey
Family of Frances Roberts
Michelle S.
Malcolm Sprinkle
Family of Stan
Teachers & school administrators
Margaret Wade
Michael Weller
Deadline & Subscriptions
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701 Florida Avenue | Bristol, TN 37620 | 423-764-7176 |