First Presbyterian Church  |  701 Florida Avenue  |  Bristol, TN 37620  |  423-764-7176  |

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Need Embraced by Love
Holy Week Services
Easter Sunrise Service with First Baptist Church
Thank You from Bishop Kibobi
New Members Class Begins April 28
Request for Graduation Information
Fun for All Next Wednesday Night
Parents' Night Out April 26
Pilgrims' Progress
Bristol Sings for Bristol Faith in Action
Billy Kim Brings Korean Children's Choir to FPC
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
April 21
Easter Sunday
Isaiah 53:10-12
John 20:1-18
Sam Weddington
Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
The Strife Is Over
Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 147; 11:00: 128
Deadline & Subscriptions
Deadline for contributions is the Monday of the week of publication. To subscribe to our free e-newsletter, send an email with your name and preferred email address to


on First Presbyterian Church

April 18, 2019
Word from the Pastor: Need Embraced by Love
In Ethiopia earlier this month (from left): Amanuel Tesfaye, Michael Weller, Grace Kim, Peggy Hill. 
(Photo: Sam Weddington)
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. -1 John 3:16-20
I've been back in the United States for less than a week, so I have to admit that I am still processing my experiences in Ethiopia alongside my wife, Grace; my sister Peggy Hill; and brother Michael Weller. I have traveled the world and seen and experienced human life lived by all sorts of rhythms and norms, but my experience in Ethiopia was unique. For brevity's sake, I saw three things that, when taken together, teach us something about being the body of Christ: need, joy, and embrace.
To say that the need of the people in Ethiopia is great, especially for our Christian brothers and sisters in the larger Bethel Synod working in Dembi Dollo, is to fall short of words. Yet the need that I saw there went far beyond our typical assumptions about poverty and the need for adequate food, shelter, clothing, and opportunity. In fact, the greatest need that I saw was the direct result of the outpouring of God's blessing of the church in Ethiopia. The nine-million-strong membership of the Mekane Yesus denomination alone, dwarfing the size of most denominations in the United States, is bursting at the seams as God calls people to faith across Ethiopia.
This sort of abundance brings unique challenges that our brothers and sisters are struggling to meet, such as adequately prepared ministers, preachers, and evangelists who will proclaim the Gospel and lead God's people. What I heard from leaders there was the desperate need for partners to help them, not with a handout but with presence and support that will equip them to do the work God is calling them to accomplish. In short, their greatest need is for the larger body of Christ to help them carry out the commission Christ gave the entire church that happens to be paying enormous dividends in their country.
Because of the incredible outpouring of the Spirit that I witnessed as a visitor, I was struck by the fact that, despite their difficulties, their sense of gratitude and joy over what God had done, is doing, and will continue to do for them was palpable. On Sunday, April 7, I was invited to preach to a congregation of 1,500 to 1,700 people, and just about the time I was done with the singing and ready to get down to the brass tacks of the Gospel, their joy resurged with even more song and dance: they weren't done praising God! Though my grasp of Oromo is pretty much nonexistent, I do know one word that kept popping up: galatoma, or "thank you." Jesus, we thank you; God, we thank you; we are thankful. In situations and conditions that would reduce most of us to the tearful ash heap of complaint, Christ was present in their midst, producing a sense of overflowing joy at all God had done for them and would continue to do. In a very short time, God had given me a crash course in humility. Thank God that God is, as John tells us, "greater than our hearts" (v. 20).
Because their joy is complete in all that God is accomplishing in their midst despite their needs, I often found myself reduced to tears that they were able to offer so much room in their hearts to embrace our team and embrace the partnership of our church as we accomplish, together, Christ's work. Rather than our visit being one of a patron checking in with clients, their radical hospitality towards us gave evidence that God had prepared the way for us to receive blessings from their hands and hearts. While it is true that God has gifted our church through the Missionary Emergency Fund and other sources to help our brothers and sisters accomplish their work, and that we have an obligation to help as John instructs us in verses 17 and 18, God's economy isn't one of scarcity but, rather, abundance. While we have a role to play in what God is doing there, our need here in Bristol of their prayers and intercession, our need of partnership in the work of the kingdom as we all serve Christ together, our needs were met through their willing and generous love.
To put all these reflections together succinctly, we were blessed to share fellowship with brothers and sisters in a place where the deep need of the world was being met, in force, by the great love of the people of God to the glory of God in Jesus' name. You sent us to Ethiopia; God sent us to church.
We will have much more to share in the coming weeks and months, but I just want to say thank you to all of you for the space and the resources to travel there. I was blessed and refreshed in the Spirit. I also invite you to pray for our brothers and sisters there, especially the Berhane Yesus elementary school, BESS high school, Gidada Theological College, Bethel Tulama church and elementary school, and the Western Wollega Bethel Synod of Dembi Dollo.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Holy Week Services
Holy Week is under way with two evening services before Easter morning. The schedule below lists the five worship opportunities. More information follows this notice.
Holy Week 2019
April 18, Maundy Thursday
7:00 p.m.
Worship, Sanctuary
April 19, Good Friday
7:00 p.m.
Worship, Sanctuary
April 21, Easter Sunday
7:00 a.m.
Sunrise Service, East Hill Cemetery
8:00 a.m.
Breakfast, Hallway & Chapel
9:00 a.m.
Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.
Sunday School
11:00 a.m.
Worship, Sanctuary
Easter Sunrise Service with First Baptist Church
We will hold an Easter sunrise service with First Baptist Church at 7:00 a.m. this Sunday, April 21, in historic East Hill Cemetery. We have invited participants from First Baptist to join us for a continental breakfast at 8:00 at our church. This is a rare worship and fellowship opportunity. Please plan to join us!
Thank You from Bishop Kibobi
Jeremiah and Susan Kibobi
Grace, Peace, Love, and Joy of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you.
We, Jeremiah and Susan, are most grateful to you for your very kind donation in support of our work in the VISIONS OF GLORY in Kenya.
On behalf of all the children in our care, and on our own behalf, please accept our very sincere appreciation. Words may not be strong enough to express our thanks, but we trust that our good Lord will bless and keep you ever strong, healthy, and prosperous, for His own glory and honor.
We assure you of our continued prayers, love, and best regards.
In Christ,
Jeremiah and Susan Kibobi
New Members Class Begins April 28
If you've recently joined our congregation and want to know more about the Presbyterian Church in general and us in particular, then our new short-term adult class is for you! On six to eight Sunday mornings, we'll talk about church history, worship traditions, service and fellowship opportunities, what and why we believe, and even where you fit in. The class begins Sunday, April 28, in room 125 (off the Fellowship Hallway). It will be taught by Dave Welch, so we confidently advertise it as engaging, informative, and entertaining. Don't miss it!
Request for Graduation Information
We want to celebrate the accomplishments of our church family by publishing news about upcoming graduations. We ask you for your graduate's name; school or program being completed; degree, certificate, or rank achieved; and future plans, if applicable. Please email this information to or call the church office at 423-764-7176. We look forward to sharing this news in Windows later this spring.
Fun for All Next Wednesday Night
We are planning an intergenerational event for our final Wednesday night fellowship of the semester. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall at 5:30 p.m. April 24 for hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and dessert and stay for fun for all ages. Please be sure to join us!
Parents' Night Out April 26
The Brazil mission team will host Parents' Night Out on April 26 for children from birth through sixth grade. The team will be accepting donations to benefit the Brazil trip. From 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Education Wing, children will enjoy dinner, games, crafts, and a little Brazilian fun! Register at
Pilgrims' Progress
It is Maundy Thursday as you read this, and we are moving mindfully through a solemn week. Unlike the first, sorrowing followers of Jesus, we know that the most joyful day of the Christian year follows it. Among our preparations, we consider the leaves of the field, which unlike the lilies never cease to toil. To make sure that the way is smooth when we are called to worship, Randy Cook (April 17 -20) will cut short their efforts. Roger Sikorski will follow through April 24-27, when the season of rejoicing has begun.
Bristol Sings for Bristol Faith in Action
Bristol Sings!, an evening of music to benefit Bristol Faith in Action, will be presented Saturday, April 27, at 7:00 p.m. at State Street United Methodist Church. Featured performers include musicians well-known to our congregation: Shannan Miller, Tim Landis, Robin Ringer LaPointe, and Janeeva Brown. The UMC Community Choir and the choirs of Lee Street Baptist Church, Central Presbyterian Church, Tennessee High School, and Vance Middle School will add their stirring voices, and Dr. Doug LaPointe, emcee, will further enliven the evening with his comedy.
Admission is free, but a donation of $10 is suggested. State Street UMC is located at 300 W. Valley Drive in Bristol, VA. You can find more information about BFIA at WWW.BRISTOLFIA.ORG and on Facebook.
Billy Kim Brings Korean Children's Choir to FPC
We have an extraordinary treat in store for our church and community on the Sunday after Easter. At 6:30 on April 28 "the Billy Graham of South Korea," Dr. Billy (Jang Hwan) Kim, will present the celebrated Korean Children's Choir in our sanctuary. Fifty colorfully costumed professionals between the ages of seven and thirteen will sing American folk arrangements, patriotic songs, sacred and popular music, contemporary Christian songs, and traditional Korean songs, and all in English. There will be no admission fee, but we will collect a love offering. Plan to be there!
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 gifts in memory of:
Paul Felton (brother-in-law of Sam Jennings): to the Capital Campaign from Eddie and Peggy Hill
Pat Hunigan: to the Capital Campaign from Eddie and Peggy Hill
Virginia M. Jessop ( mother of Glennda Cleland ) : to the Capital Campaign from Eddie and Peggy Hill
Tony Raccioppo: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Barbara Thomas; to the Sound System Fund from Rebecca Grabowski
Sheila Reed (sister of George Huber):  to the Capital Campaign from Eddie and Peggy Hill
Roscoe Spears ( father of Andrea Hyde ) : to the Capital Campaign from Eddie and Peggy Hill
Pokey Warren ( brother of Virginia Rutherford ) : to the Capital Campaign from Eddie and Peggy Hill
Music Notes
Sunday's Early Worship
You can hear the songs we'll sing in the 9:00 service here.
Sunday's Late Worship
Participants: Pat Flannagan, Bob Greene, Sanctuary Choir, Sanctuary Handbell Choir, brass quintet (Dave Champouillon, Reilly Fox, Kevin Marcus, Jimmie Self, Hunter Mullins), timpanist (Kollin Cash). They will begin to play festive brass and organ music at 10:45.
Music: Easter, also known as Paschal Sunday or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary ca. 30 AD. The holiday concludes the Passion of Christ, a series of events and holidays that begins with Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice. The resurrection of Jesus as described in the New Testament is the foundation upon which the Christian religion is built. Hence, Easter is the most significant date on the Christian calendar.
John Behnke
Our Easter anthem, "Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds," was composed by John Behnke (b. 1952), who is best known as a handbell clinician and composer in the Milwaukee area. Behnke is faculty emeritus of Concordia University and now serves as organist and director of music at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.
Organist's footnotes: Edwin Logan, Director of Music of First Presbyterian Church, Greeneville, offers the interpretation of my arrangement of EASTER HYMN (prelude): "This piece starts very softly with the hymn tune played in a minor key. The women have come to Jesus' tomb very early on Sunday morning, before daylight. It is dark and quiet. The women are quite upset from the events of the previous days and have come to anoint Jesus' body. As the sun begins to come up over the horizon you will hear a trumpet in the far distance. The music builds as the sun rises; as the women realize Jesus has indeed risen; as they talk with Him; and as they run to tell the disciples the good news that JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY!"
The postlude, the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah (transcribed for the Canadian Brass by W. F. Mills), employs the organ to play the orchestral accompaniment, while the brass play the choral parts.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Nicole Crockett
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
FPC Search Committees
Ben & Patsy Frizzell
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Dianne Glymph (Mary Ellis Rice's mother)
Elizabeth Graham
Martha Graham
Erika Greene
Ron Grubbs
Greg Hand
Marty Keys & family
Nancy King
Mable & Bob Kitchen
Dot Mattison
Bob Millard
Pastor Sam's mother
Pendley family
Sharon Potter
Don Preston
Reeves family
Larry Roberts (Greg Roberts's brother)
Gary Robertz
Earl Rose Sr.
Louise Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Rita Sheffey & mother
Sikorski family
Stigers family
Chuck Thompson
Bill Wade
Sam Witcher
To the Church Triumphant
George Richard Kelly
April 3, 2019
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
April 22       Peter Dotterweich
April 23       John Dabbs, Logan Streetman
April 25       Aaron Brooks, Betty Johnston, Donna Sikorski
April 26       Jake Regan
April 27       Lee Galliher, Annie Osborne, Tyler Rutherford
Church Calendar
Sunday, April 21
7:00 a.m.       Sunrise Service, East Hill Cemetery
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Monday, April 22
Church office closed for Easter holiday
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, Room 123
Tuesday, April 23
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
6:00 p.m.       Venture Crew 3, Room 165
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, April 24
9:30 a.m.       Women's Bible Study, Room 117
5:15 p.m.       Baby & Toddler Care, Rooms 34 - 37
5:30 p.m.       Fellowship Dinner, Fellowship Hall
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Practice, Room 212
6:20 p.m.       Intergenerational Event
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
7:15 p.m.       Worship Team, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, April 25
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
Friday, April 26
6:00 p.m.       Parents' Night Out, Education Wing
Our Church Officers
Church Officers
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Anna Booher
Nancy Allerton
Ann Abel
Lee Galliher
Rebecca Beck
Randy Cook
Pete Holler
David Hyde
John Graham
Han Ong
Jordan Pennington
Katie McInnis
Pete Stigers
Jerry Poteat
John Vann
Sujean Bradley
Blake Bassett
Fred Harkleroad
George Linke
Rhonda Comer
Matt Kingsley
Greg Roberts
Ron Fox
Lisa McClain
Nate Sproles
Brenda Lawson
Drew Rice
Bill Whisnant
Barbara Thompson
Joyce Samuel
Nancy Cook
Peggy Hill
Jack Butterworth