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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Ambassadors of Reconciliation
Five-Cents-a-Meal Offering Sunday
Larry Sharrett Speaks Here Sunday
Companion Class for Upcoming Sermon Series
Serve in the Acolyte Ministry
Bike Day This Saturday
Bringing Out the Celebration in Sunday
Come to the Wednesday Program
Marthina Chapel First Aid Request
August Mission Focus on Fairmount Teachers
Family Camp Weekend Coming Up!
Fall Student Retreat Begins Aug. 31
New Confirmation Class Begins Sept. 8
Missions and Mow
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
August 18
10th Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 55:6-9
Ephesians 3:14-21
Loving One Greater Than Ourselves
Sam Weddington
Eternal God
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 142; 11:00: 108
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

August 15 , 2019
Word from the Pastor: Ambassadors of Reconciliation

Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
Romans 11:30-32 NRSV
The sermon this past Sunday was challenging on several levels. For the hearer, the challenge to love enemies and show mercy to those who have wounded us is always difficult. For my part, the challenge was to fit everything I wanted to say into a short period. The topic of reconciliation is one that I've studied and written on for most of my career from seminary onward, and I've seen my own understanding transform over the years. On a personal level, learning to forgive has been an area of constant challenge in my personal walk with Christ.
So, because the time allotted in a sermon is limited, and there is so much I want to say, I thought it best to expand on what I said here in Windows. I want to share with you my favorite quote from my favorite theologian from his most famous work:
But let this city ["the pilgrim city of King Christ"] bear in mind, that among her enemies lie hidden those who are destined to be fellow citizens, that she may not think it a fruitless labor to bear what they inflict as enemies until they become confessors of the faith. So, too, as long as she is a stranger in the world, the city of God has in her communion, and bound to her by the sacraments, some who shall not eternally dwell in the lot of the saints. Of these, some are not now recognized; others declare themselves, and do not hesitate to make common cause with our enemies in murmuring against God, whose sacramental badge they wear. These men you may today see thronging the churches with us, tomorrow crowding the theatres with the godless. But we have the less reason to despair of the reclamation even of such persons, if among our most declared enemies there are now some, unknown to themselves, who are destined to become our friends. --St. Augustine, The City of God, Book I, Ch. 35
What is Augustine saying in this quote? I think he is making the same point Paul makes in Romans 11 when he considers the question of what Jesus means for his Jewish brothers and sisters who, for the moment, reject him as the messiah. Paul is writing at a very painful juncture in Christian history. A rift is beginning to form in the Jewish/Jewish-Christian community over the question of Jesus and the place of Gentiles in the Christian community. Paul argues that what seems to be the Jewish disobedience towards God's self-disclosure in Jesus achieves God's purposes of reconciling the Gentiles and offering them a place in God's promises. Quite literally, God is making room for those who were once enemies (Gentiles) to be included in the family, a point Paul makes elsewhere in Ephesian 2.
Simply put, God's reconciling work is so great and beyond the measure of our imagination, God has purposed in Jesus to make enemies into friends.
St. Augustine runs with this point, reminding his readers that we ought not to be so quick to draw hard divisions between the friends and the enemies of God, much less those we would personally call friends or enemies. God's love is so vast and overwhelming that it has the ability to reconcile even the worst among us. For that reason, we ought "not think it a fruitless labor" to return good to those who do evil towards us. Instead, we ought to see both the good and the bad we experience at the hands of others as an opportunity to show mercy and forgiveness. We love our enemies in the hope that Christ will be visible in our love and that our estranged neighbor might become our friend, even family, within the body of Christ, the church.
This is a big idea, and it is not easily digestible. It runs counter to our instincts and inherited tribalism. It cuts us to the quick and calls us to question where we have been placing our ultimate allegiance. In the "pilgrim city of King Christ," there is only one allegiance, and that is to this purpose God has revealed in the Son. My prayer is that we, personally and as a community, will embrace this allegiance with all that we have, so that we might be a place where our enemies might come to know that they were "destined to become our friends."
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Five-Cents-a-Meal Offering Sunday

We will collect our Five-Cents-a-Meal offering this Sunday, August 18, at both services. The suggested offering is $13.65 per person, or about a nickel for each meal you eat in a three-month period. Your contribution will provide hunger relief through both local and global ministries. Last year our Five-Cents-a-Meal offerings enabled FPC to help feed the hungry in Bristol through Haven of Rest and Bristol Emergency Food Pantry, and in Ethiopia and Brazil through our missions in those countries. Please be generous!
Larry Sharrett Speaks Here Sunday

This Sunday we welcome Larry Sharrett back to FPC to share an update on his family's new path in ministry. Join us in the Fellowship Hall after the 11:00 service to hear about his and Courtney's two years of service in Sofia, Bulgaria, and where they are going next.
Courtney is enrolling at the American College of Greece in Athens, from which she will earn her BA in counseling and psychology as Larry earns an MS in counseling and psychotherapy from ACG. Scholarships and grants will fund 90% of Larry's and 50% of Courtney's expenses.
Larry is now affiliated with Cyclical, an ecumenical church-planting organization based in California that has been coaching him during the past year. He is now the Director of Cyclical Southeastern Europe, which includes Bulgaria. This will allow him to network among experienced church planters, including a Presbyterian plant in Athens. The Sharretts will return to Sofia in two years to continue the ministry toward starting a new worshiping community.
Those in our church family who would like to support Larry and Courtney should send checks to:
Cyclical Inc.
65 N. Raymond Ave. Ste. 240
Pasadena, CA 91103
(Designate "Lawrence Sharrett, Cyclical Southeastern Europe" on the memo line.)
An online option is also available now at Cyclical Online Giving for Sharretts. Steps for giving online:
  1. Click on Donate.
  2. Choose PayPal or Credit Card Giving Option.
  3. Use the memo section below the amount to write "Lawrence Sharrett: Cyclical Southeastern Europe."
We have other opportunities to connect with Larry while he is in Bristol:
  • Saturday, August 17: Coffee and conversation from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery. Come and go as you want.
  • Sunday, August 18: A mission conversation and presentation with Q&A at 12:30 p.m. at FPC.
  • Sunday, August 18: An informal gathering at 6:30 p.m. For more information, email Larry at
Companion Class for Upcoming Sermon Series

The Apostles' Creed is a Universal Creed of the Universal Church. It has served as a living declaration of faith from the very beginning of its use, around 390 AD. The creed was used by the early church as a concise summary of belief and a teaching tool for new believers. Credo, which means "I believe," is the first statement read and learned. From this simple, yet profound, statement, the creed then goes on to make wonderfully daring declarations about God, Jesus, and even the Holy Spirit, with the majority of these statements focused upon Jesus Christ. In a time when Bibles were nonexistent, the Apostles' Creed used bold, concise, and easily memorized statements, each supported with multiple scriptural references, to outline the boundaries of Christian faith. The Apostles' Creed has served as the foundation for many different denominations and creeds since its acceptance.
What does this ancient document continue to say to us now almost two thousand centuries later? Each phrase offers up profound theological vistas that invite believers to continue reflecting upon the Good News of Jesus Christ. You are invited to do so in a short-term, video- and discussion-based adult class paralleling Sam Weddington's upcoming preaching series on the Apostles' Creed and designed to engage reflection. The new class will meet in the chapel on Sunday mornings from 10:20 to 10:40, starting September 8. For more information, please see Sam or Dave.
Serve in the Acolyte Ministry
Our acolytes will resume their role in our 11:00 traditional worship service Sunday, September 8. We would like to add members to our team before then! If you and your child are interested in serving in this capacity, please let Pastor Sam know by email at The program is open to any child in grades 5 -12. Our first orientation will be held Sunday, August 25, at 12:30, directly after the traditional worship service. Please see the following schedule:
Acolyte Orientation & Practice
Sunday, August 25, 12:30 p.m.
Acolyte Team Orientation
Wednesday, August 28, 7:15 p.m.
Acolyte Rehearsal with Choir
Sunday, September 1, 12:30 p.m.
Acolyte Final Rehearsal
Sunday, September 8, 11:00 a.m.
Acolytes Resume Worship

Bike Day This Saturday

Kids, start your engines, aka bikes! Come to the church this Saturday, August 17, at 10:30 a.m. We will meet around back at the magnolia tree. Bring bikes or any riding toy and a picnic lunch! For more information, contact Lilly Osborne.
Bringing Out the Celebration in Sunday
We had fun in the sun and the shade at our churchwide celebration on the grounds last Sunday. The kids enjoyed the inflatables, and everyone enjoyed the fellowship. See Lilly Osborne's photos, below, and follow this link to our video, courtesy of George Linke, at

Come to the Wednesday Program
Our new program year is under way! Join us Wednesday evenings for a fellowship supper at 5:30 and stay for programs for youth, children, and adults. We have begun the semester with our Enriching Program for worship, study, and prayer, an intentional multiweek opportunity for spiritual nurture. Our time together includes hymns and praise songs, prayer, and Bible study in the chapel. Among the semester's other programs will be information about mission trips and supported programs.
Marthina Chapel First Aid Request
Our brothers and sisters of our Marthina Mission Chapel need a relatively new wheelchair, first aid supplies, and a first aid cart with drawers. If anyone has these items in storage and would like to donate them, please contact Bud Branscomb at 423-416-3212 (mobile) to coordinate drop-off and pickup. Thank you!
August Mission Focus on Fairmount Teachers
The teachers of our neighborhood school need office supplies, so for the month of August we are focusing our mission efforts on providing them. We invite you to bring to worship this Sunday, August 18, and to place around the communion table, the items shown below. For more information, contact Dave Welch at

Family Camp Weekend Coming Up!

Just a reminder to everyone who registered for our church family summer camp: it's nearly here! Next weekend, August 23 -25, we will enjoy adventure, relaxation, and family fun at the Young Life camp in Windy Gap in Weaverville, NC. Can't wait!
Fall Student Retreat Begins Aug. 31
Invite your friends and come to FPC's Fall Student Retreat at Doe River Gorge in Hampton, TN! This special weekend for students in grades seven through twelve is scheduled for August 31 through September 2. It will include wild fun, adventure in the great outdoors, worship, and bonding with your church family. We will leave Saturday and return Monday afternoon. Join us for a weekend of fun and fellowship with your friends!
The $175 cost for the weekend covers everything and includes a T-shirt. You can register and pay the $50 deposit at the link below. Turn in money to the church or pay online at
Ready to go? ==> REGISTER HERE <==
New Confirmation Class Begins Sept. 8

First Presbyterian Church invites all students in seventh to eleventh grade to join our fall confirmation class, which begins Sunday, September 8. In this course, we will learn, discuss, and ask hard questions about faith, God, and more. The confirmation class prepares students for baptism or to confirm the vows of their baptism by professing their faith in Jesus Christ.
The confirmation journey is a two-year experience. At the conclusion of the two years, students will be invited to confirm their faith and join the church. Confirmation class will take place on Sunday mornings from 10:00 till 10:45 in the big room in the Student Ministries wing. Each class builds on the information from the previous week, so class attendance is very important. We ask you to make a commitment to attend every Sunday. If you miss a class, we can help you make it up, but we ask all confirmands to take this commitment seriously.
As you learn through discussion and activities, you will find the confirmation journey to be a time of both individual growth and relational growth with your church family. You will play games, watch videos, and meet friends in new ways. And in addition to your teachers, you will have two mentors, an adult and a high school student, to help you as you go through the process. If you are interested in participating in confirmation, contact Katie Arnold at
Missions and Mow

When we hear news of the Sharretts' mission work this Sunday, August 18, David Moore (August 14 -17) will already have fulfilled his mission to mow the church grass for the week. Randy Olson (August 21 -24) will welcome us home from family camp with a well-mown lawn next Sunday.
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:
Patsy Frizzell: to the Technology Fund from an anonymous donor
Roy Wells (grandfather of Drew Rice): to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Ernie & Karen Pennington
Music Notes
Richard Shephard
Sunday's music: Our anthem this week, "Eternal God," was composed by acclaimed British choral composer and educator Richard Shephard MBE (b. 1949). Shephard is best known for his extensive collection of sacred choral music, which is frequently performed throughout Great Britain and America. He is also a celebrated composer of operas, musicals, and orchestral works. Shephard began his musical studies as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral under the direction of composer Herbert Sumsion. He later studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he earned a degree from David Willcocks. He now holds the Lambeth Doctorate of Music from Oxford University as well as two honorary doctorates from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and the University of York, England. Shephard is now Chamberlain of York Minster, where he heads the development department, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Music Department of the University of York.
"Eternal God" uses words from St. Augustine of Hippo's (354 -430) "Prayer to Know God." It is a prayer that asks for the light, joy, and strength needed to truly know God through Jesus Christ. St. Augustine was a Roman African theologian and philosopher from Numidia (a province in what is now northeast Algeria) whose writings influenced the development of the Western church. Augustine was born to a household of mixed religion (his mother was Christian and his father pagan), and throughout his youth he explored different philosophical and religious practices, including hedonism, Neoplatanism, and Manichaeism. At the age of 31 he came upon Romans 13:13-14: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." Upon reading this, he began a study of the Holy Bible and converted to Christianity. His subsequent works are highly celebrated in the Catholic and Anglican churches as well as throughout Protestant denominations. He was canonized by Pope Boniface in 1298.
Jehan Alain
Organist's footnotes: The French organist and composer Jehan Ariste Alain (1911-1940) had a short career as a composer that began when he was 18 and lasted until the outbreak of the Second World War ten years later. He was influenced not only by the musical language of the earlier Claude Debussy and his contemporary Olivier Messiaen (seen in our offertory, "Le jardin suspendu," 1934) but also by an interest in the music, dance, and philosophies of the Far East; a renaissance of Baroque music (seen in our prelude, Variations sur un thème de Clément Janequin, 1937); and jazz. Alain described "Le jardin suspendu" ("The Hanging Garden") as a portrayal of "the ideal, perpetual pursuit and escape of the artist, an inaccessible and inviolable refuge."
He wrote choral music, including a Requiem mass, chamber music, songs, and three volumes of piano music. But it is his organ music for which he is best known. His most famous work is "Litanies," our postlude, composed in 1937. That work is prefaced with the text: "When, in its distress, the Christian soul can find no more words to invoke God's mercy, it repeats endlessly the same litany ... for reason has reached its limit; only faith can take one further."
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Wayne Ausmus
Gene Blankenship
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Diane Glymph
Ron Grubbs
Jan Hornick
Kristi Johnson
Marty Keys & family
Nancy King
Kwon family
Dot Mattison
Stellie May (Southeast Asia mission)
Roger McCracken
Alice Moore
John Odom's family
Pendley family
Don Preston
Bob Rhea
Larry Roberts (Greg's brother)
Virginia Rutherford
Stigers family
Teachers & students returning to school
Ashley Thomasson
Chuck Thompson
Our love and sympathy are with Brandon Story and his family in the death of his father, Larry Story. The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, August 17, at New Grace Baptist Church, 3055 W. State St. Visitation will begin at 9:30.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Aug. 18     Riley McCracken, Jack Southerland
Aug. 19     Sherry Worley
Aug. 20     Jim White
Aug. 21     Katie Arnold
Aug. 22     Michael Cleland, Briggs Evans
Aug. 23     Remington Rutherford
Aug. 24     Jack Smith
Church Calendar
Sunday, August 18
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
12:30 p.m.     Larry Sharrett Mission Presentation, Fellowship Hall
4:00 p.m.       Evangelism & Outreach Comm., Room 117
Tuesday, August 20
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, August 21
5:00 p.m.       Baby & Toddler Care, Rooms 34 - 37
5:30 p.m.       Fellowship Dinner, Fellowship Hall
6:00 p.m.       Wednesday Night Kids
6:00 p.m.       Middle School Gathering
6:00 p.m.       High School Small Groups
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Practice, Room 212
6:20 p.m.       Adult Enrichment, TBA
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
7:15 p.m.       Worship Team, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, August 22
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
Friday, August 23
Family Camp Weekend at Windy Gap, NC
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