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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Go
Stay Safe from Scams, Too
No Church Gatherings before April 30
Connect to Us on YouTube and Facebook
Weekly Communion while Apart
Take Advantage of Our Online Bible Studies
Students Invited to Online Evening Activities
Please Pray for All, Near and Far
Remote Giving Promotes Togetherness
If You Have or See a Need
Need Help? We Will Respond
We Are Making Masks (and Have a Few for You)
You Can Still Share with Your Reading Buddy
Merrily Mowing Down April
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
April 26
3rd Sunday of Easter
Livestream Only (10:00)
Psalm 116:5-11
Luke 24:13-35
Can I Get an Interpreter?
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
Livestream: 125 households
Total online views: 294
Click here to livestream our contemporary service. You can also access past sermons and ministry videos on our YouTube account, "FPC Bristol."
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 23, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Go
Church family,                         
Like many of you, I'm counting down the days to "normal." Maybe it's the spring sunshine, maybe it's the fact that we've all had just about enough of staying at home, or maybe it's a bit of both. I know that I really just need interaction with people other than myself and members of my family. I'm sure the same is true for them!
While waiting for "normal" to return, you've probably hunkered down into a pattern of waiting and watching. For those still in essential jobs, you've gone into the office or workplace and likely watched your coworkers enter that same frame of mind. We're waiting to see whether things recover, and we are watching to see how much longer we can keep things together.
We're all still a bit stunned by the turn of events, and we don't know what to do. No one ever gave us a guidebook for navigating our lives, jobs, and businesses through a pandemic. We certainly never stopped to consider that our ability to continue to gather as the church might be impeded as it is now. So we wait and we watch. We gather online. We send encouraging emails and messages. We take dinner to someone. We do what we can as we wait and we watch.
We are a lot like those disciples in the wake of Jesus's resurrection. Matthew records the reaction of the disciples to seeing the resurrected Jesus in chapter 20, verse 17: "When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted."
When they saw him, they knew he had been true to his word. When they saw him, they knew the Father had vindicated him and done a new thing. When they saw him, they knew a world-shaking event had taken place. When they saw him, they worshiped ... and they doubted.
Here the English translation betrays us. The word for "doubted" in the Greek here is edistasan, and it doesn't mean "doubt" in the sense of not believing that Jesus or his resurrection was real. Instead, it means to hesitate, to wonder what comes next, to be unsure about the next step or what to say or do in light of this new knowledge.
In short, they were stunned. They worshiped; they knew they had to do that. We all know and confess that Jesus is Lord. Yet events can turn in such a way that we don't know how to respond to the ways in which God is present to us at the moment, in exactly the same way the disciples were unsure about what Israel's God shining forth in the resurrected flesh of their risen master signified. And so they worship, but they do it waiting and watching for what comes next because they don't have a playbook for how to act when Jesus shows up in his resurrection power and glory.
And here we arrive at the word we need for days like ours. Jesus doesn't leave his followers in the dark. He confirms what they are thinking, that his is the name above all names. But beyond this, he directs them. He gives them a purpose. He tells them to go, to disciple, to baptize, and to instruct. In other words, on our own we might not have the road map for how to follow Christ in situations like these, but we have a compass. In all situations, our "north" is in these commands Jesus gives. There are a million and one ways to follow them, but in the end they all arrive at this final destination.
While waiting and watching, don't neglect Jesus's words in Matthew 28. Find a way to "go," even if it is a virtual roadway. Write a card. Make a call. Reach out to a neighbor. Extend yourself in a way that makes Christ known, builds up the body, and disciples, guides, instructs, and inspires as Christ becomes increasingly present in us. To that end, we'll keep plugging along on this same path in the days and weeks ahead. As we go, we have Jesus's sure promise at the end of Matthew that he will be with us, even until the end of the age.
Stay strong, keep praying, and be a blessing,
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Stay Safe from Scams, Too
While we are all doing our best to protect ourselves and others from the spread of the novel coronavirus, we have another threat to watch out for. Internet and smartphone scammers posing as busy FPC staff are contacting members of our congregation by text or through Facebook or a similar method. They present a plausible reason then tell you to buy a gift card (for Walmart, Target, Food City, etc.) for a person or family in need, or perhaps a worthy-sounding ministry. They then instruct you to send the gift card codes to the phone number provided in their message. This is a scam. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND or take any action. The staff of FPC will NEVER ask you to do anything like this!  Learn more about scammers and gift cards here .
No Church Gatherings before April 30
In keeping with state guidelines, the FPC session has suspended in-person meetings, gatherings, and worship at the church until Thursday, April 30. All scheduled meetings will take place by remote conferencing, and a single worship service will be livestreamed at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays. The service will be followed by prerecorded online programs for Marthina Chapel, the Friendship Class, adults, children, and students. You can join us for the livestream on our YouTube site, by the link provided on our Facebook page, or by the link in our e-newsletter.
Connect to Us on YouTube and Facebook
Although we must livestream worship and other activities for the time being, we need to stay connected. Remember to subscribe to our channel. Go to YouTube and type in "FPC Bristol." Click on the link and hit "subscribe." You will receive notifications when there is a new video. We also suggest that you connect to our various Facebook sites. Go to Facebook and 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. Beyond this, keep an eye on your email for updates and our newsletter from Constant Contact.
Weekly Communion while Apart
We are apart in person, but we are still the one body of Christ. Nothing we do in worship communicates this more effectively than our sharing of the Lord's table. Therefore, for as long as we continue to livestream our worship, we will also observe communion. So, every Sunday until we can meet in person again, we ask that you prepare the bread and the cup at your home, and participate with us as we share Christ at the table. All you need is a piece of bread, a cracker, or the like and juice, water, or whatever you have at hand. We will give you instructions during worship.
Take Advantage of Our Online Bible Studies
With our new Bible study after worship on Sundays, we now have three adult studies available on our YouTube channel. The Sunday Bible study, Praying With the Psalms, looks at the Book of Psalms through the lens of prayer. No preparation is needed, other than to have a Bible and an open heart. We also post a short study every Tuesday and Thursday. If you subscribe, you will be notified when new studies become available.
Students Invited to Online Evening Activities
Students! We need each other in this journey, so please join us on Zoom as we do life together from afar! Student Fellowship is a time for games, worship, a message, and breakout discussions. Middle School Gathering and High School Devos study and discuss the Bible in small groups. These are the Zoom IDs you'll need for access:
  • Student Fellowship, Sundays at 7:00 p.m.: 435-749-455
  • Middle School Gathering, Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.: 196-217-088
  • High School Devos, Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m.: 638-854-949
Please Pray for All, Near and Far
As we weather the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking you to spend more time in prayer for our church, our community, the nation, and the world. Pray for our leaders, first responders, frontline workers, and the vulnerable. We also ask that you pray for a swift end to this disease.
Remote Giving Promotes Togetherness
During the present crisis, we encourage you to give by way of our website or by text or mail. We must hold together, and your continued, faithful giving ensures that we will have the resources to continue our ministries. 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 (all one word) fpcbristol to 73256. You can also mail your checks directly to the church. Our address is 701 Florida Avenue, Bristol, TN 37620. Thank you, as always, for your generosity.
If You Have or See a Need
If you have a need, please call the church and let us know! We want to be a blessing to you and make sure that you have what you need. Our responders are prepared to bring essential supplies and make general wellness calls. And if you see a need, please let us know. We have medical personnel on call, for the time being, on whom you can call if you feel the need. You are not alone!
Need Help? We Will Respond
We are pleased and grateful to announce that we have eight response teams and three medical response teams ready to aid us safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate their heart to serve, while praying that we won't have to call upon them too often in the coming days. Please pray that God would use them in an effective and mighty way. If you are interested in joining us in the work, just email Dave Welch or Pastor Sam.
We Are Making Masks (and Have a Few for You)
Because the need for protective masks is growing, we are reaching out to those of you who can sew. Ballad Health has invited us to help our community during the COVID-19 crisis by making masks for respiratory patients, so that medical-grade masks can be conserved for medical professionals. You will find the sewing pattern and instructions here. An FPC response team member will come to your home to pick up your finished masks for delivery. The contact person for this project is Peggy Hill, 423-956-0209 or
Members of our community who need a mask to help them when they go out in public should call the church office to let us know. We have a limited number created by members of our church who are responding to Ballad Health's request.
Please note: If you wear such a mask, you must still maintain six feet of distance from those outside your household when you go out to perform an essential task, such as buying food or medicine. This mask does not provide a shield from infection by others, but it may limit their exposure to your respiratory droplets. You can be infected without showing symptoms, so please take care.
You Can Still Share with Your Reading Buddy
Many of you are Reading Buddies at Fairmount Elementary School and have expressed a desire to stay connected with your buddy while maintaining a safe distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fairmount has informed us that you can continue your involvement by recording yourself reading your favorite children's book and then sending the video to Kelli Campbell. She will post recordings on the school website and invite the children to check them out. Her email address is
Merrily Mowing Down April
David Moore's (April 22 -25) mowing slot opened on Earth Day this go-round, roundly fitting, and prepares us for the third Sunday of Easter. Larry Connolly's (April 29 -May 2) encompasses Friendship Day and prepares us for Older Adult Week, which begins with an appalling lack of tact on Wills Emphasis Sunday. Still, even young folk are thinking ahead these days and writing advance directives and wills, so we who are young only in spirit (where it counts!) will decline to take offense just this once. We must plan now to laugh when we can. And "there is no offense in it, no offense in the world."
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Joe Bell
Elizabeth Blankenship
Sujean Bradley
Brandi & family
Bristol Tennessee School System
Craig Buchanan
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Creasy family
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Cookeville & Chattanooga
Raymond Dickenson
Dorothy Dollar
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Trinka Felty
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
The Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Grubbs family
Ron Grubbs
Sarah Haas
Lou Hebb
Pete Holler
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Danae Kreiss
Nancy Lilly
Amy Marion & family
Dot Mattison
Ashley McGill
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
New Jersey & New York
Kayla Patterson
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Brittany Salter
John Scott
Solange & family
Betsy Turnbull
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Vicky Wood
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
April 26         Jake Regan
April 27         Lee Galliher, Annie Osborne, Tyler Rutherford
April 28         Zora Gross, Cora Lee Raccioppo, Bob Rhea
April 29         Han Ong, Chuck Preston
April 30         Aiden Kite
May 1            Debbie Garritson, Jane Keeter, Maxwell Mumpower
May 2            Martin Dotterweich, Susan Zeiler
Church Calendar
Sunday, April 26
10:00 a.m.     Worship, Livestreamed
Followed by Online Sunday School & Adult Bible Study
Monday, April 27
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, UberConference
Tuesday, April 28
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, UberConference
Our Church Officers
Church Officers
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Class of 2022
Nancy Allerton
Ann Abel
Anna L. Booher
Rebecca Beck
Randy Cook
Bruce Gannaway
David Hyde
John Graham
Will Hankins
Jordan Pennington
Katie McInnis
Dottie Havlik
Jerry Poteat
John Vann
Laura Ong
Blake Bassett
Fred Harkleroad
Mike Cleland
Rhonda Comer
Matt Kingsley
Geneva King
Ron Fox
Lisa McClain
George Linke
Brenda Lawson
Drew Rice
Charlie Taylor
Barbara Thompson
Joyce Samuel
Peggy Hill
Jack Butterworth
Nancy Cook