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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Persevere in Prayer
Come Out and Pray
Confirmation Sunday
Last Call for Confirmand Letters!
Home Bible Study Groups Form
We're Connecting an AV Team
Devote a Few Words to Our Advent Experience
Gorgeous Day at Doe River
We're Ready to Help
Back to the Office Safely
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Join Us on YouTube and Facebook
Study the Bible Online
Pray for the World
Patient Perseverance, or Something Like It
Gifts to the Church
Organist's Footnotes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
August 23
12th Sunday after Pentecost
One Worship (outdoors at 9:00)
Joel 2:23-29
Acts 2:14-21
Visions of God's Future
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
In person: 9:00: 51; 11:00: 30
Livestream: 70
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 20, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Persevere in Prayer
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Romans 12:11-13, NRSV
I don't have inspirational words this week, but I do have an inspirational call. Next week, Bristol City Schools will resume in-person classes following a hybrid model. Other school systems have resumed, or will resume, using either a hybrid model or an online model. King University will resume classes. Our church will be considering changes to our current Christian education schedule, as well.
Given all the uncertainty created by the coronavirus, and the desire to balance caution with the need to resume instruction, educators are all struggling to find the right mix in their return policy, as are we. All of them do what they do because they, too, love young people, and they love to educate and serve. Our current situation is one that is challenging in ways that many of us cannot even begin to imagine.
This is where you come in. If you aren't doing so already, I'm asking you to pray for all educators, educational institutions and their leaders, and our church. I am not asking for stoplight prayers. I am asking you, as Paul instructed the congregations in Rome, to persevere in prayer. I'm asking for prayer that does not "lag in zeal." If you can, join us in the parking lot of one of our local schools this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (See "Come Out and Pray," below.)
We are all going to have to be patient over the next few months, as we move through the complexities imposed by the pandemic, but the people of God are most effective when they lead the charge in prayer and contribute to the needs of others out of a spirit of self-giving, sacrificial love. Find an educator you know, and tell them that you love them. Encourage a young child struggling to understand why school can't be "normal" these days, and promise that better days are coming. Take a cake to someone who is laboring to serve under very trying circumstances.
Let's support each other, and with all that we are, let's find ways to be a blessing. Pray, and then pray some more!
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Come Out and Pray
We all need to pray for our community, and especially for our school system, its leaders, our teachers, and our students. In fact, we invite you to come out and pray! On Sunday, August 23, at 3:00 p.m., we will gather with others throughout our area at all our local schools and pray for their well-being as the school year begins. Please note: we will follow the CDC guidelines for wearing masks and safe distancing, and all meetings will be outside in the school parking lot.
The following lists note the appointed locations and those that have openings for prayer leaders. You can sign up to lead a prayer at one of these schools, or you can join us at one:
Tennessee Schools
Anderson Elementary: open
Avoca Elementary: open
Fairmount Elementary: Allyson Rutherford
Haynesfield Elementary: open
Holston View Elementary: Officer Thomas McDaniel
Tennessee High: Pastor Sam
Vance Middle: Pastor Ward
Virginia Schools
Highland View Elementary: open
Stonewall Jackson Elementary: open
Joseph Van Pelt Elementary: open
Virginia High: Sharon Andrews & Rev. James McDaniel
Virginia Middle: Rev. Nophlin
Washington-Lee Elementary: open
Please email the coordinator, Sharon Andrews, Rev. McDaniel's wife, and let her know you want to lead, or that you are coming. You can contact her at
Confirmation Sunday
This Sunday we celebrate the Confirmation Class of 2020 as they profess their faith and we affirm their desire to be members of First Presbyterian Church. These students participated in two years of weekly classes that taught, informed, and challenged their idea of faith. With the support and commitment of their parents, each confirmand was paired with a high school mentor and an adult mentor to walk with them on the confirmation journey. It has been a joy to watch these students grow and take ownership of their faith. We invite our church family to join us as we celebrate that faith Sunday at 9:00 during One Worship outdoors.
Alex Akard
David & Rae Akard
Katie McInnis & Alie Bassett
Isabel Gross
Dawn Eubanks & Dan Gross
Gracie Buckles & Amy McCracken
Campbell Kent
Martin & Vonda Kent
Hope Godsey & Mary Ellis Rice
Noah Ong
Han & Laura Ong
Cole McBrayer & Byron Schiesz
James Phipps
Chris & Leigh Beth Phipps
Reece Profitt & Paul Rice
Joan Weddington
Sam Weddington & Grace Kim
Gracie Brooks & Ann Abel
Last Call for Confirmand Letters!
On Confirmation Sunday, August 23, our confirmands will proclaim their faith to our church family and become members of First Presbyterian Church. If you know some of our confirmands, please consider writing them a message of spiritual support by card, letter, or email. Your message might include a story or memory, something about your own faith, how knowing this student has affected your life, or words of love and truth that will spur them on in their faith. We need your messages by tomorrow, Friday, August 21. You may email them to, or mail or deliver cards or letters to:
First Presbyterian Church
Attn.: Katie Arnold
701 Florida Avenue
Bristol, TN 37620

2020 FPC Confirmation Class
Alex Akard
Micah Bechtold
Isabel Gross
Campbell Kent
Noah Ong
James Phipps
Joan Weddington
Home Bible Study Groups Form
The pandemic may limit gathering in large groups on campus, but our shared priority is still fellowship, growing together in the Word, and service! With that in mind, we are excited to announce that next month we will launch Home Groups, which we invite everyone to join.
Home Groups will meet once a week to study a Bible lesson, written for all ages. Every week a new lesson will be released for everyone to dive into together. Home Groups will not be limited to FPC members, and many will be intergenerational. A Home Group may consist of an individual, a family, or a group of families, neighbors, or friends. It is whatever you need it to be to be nourished in this season.
We invite anyone interested in hosting a Home Group or being part of one to join the FPC Bristol Home Group on Facebook at
Next month is nearly here! Begin praying for our movement into a new way of fellowship for our church.
We're Connecting an AV Team
The pandemic has pushed us to up our tech game, and that means more opportunities to serve during worship. If you are interested in serving with our audiovisual team, we would love to hear from you! No experience is necessary. We will train you to control the cameras, control the sound, or run the videos and graphics. Just contact the church office to join the team.
Devote a Few Words to Our Advent Experience
We are asking FPC members to contribute a short devotional (300 words) to our 2020 Advent Devotional. We would love to have your reflections to help us all prepare in that season for the coming of our Lord. Please email Han Ong at or Candy Phelps at as soon as possible to tell us you will help, or to ask for more information.
Gorgeous Day at Doe River
The Celebration Party at Doe River Gorge was a splashing good time! Our church family swam, lounged, zip-lined, shot each other into the air on the blob, raced through an obstacle course, and hiked the beautiful property. The most beautiful part of the day was the baptism service by the lake. We all celebrated and cheered the baptism of Noah Ong, Isabel Gross, and Charlotte Osborne. Elliott Williams and Noelle McInnis professed their faith to our church family and, through a remembrance of baptism, claimed the vows their parents took for them as babies. The day ended with a picnic dinner. We are truly blessed to do life with an incredible body of believers! /Katie Arnold

We're Ready to Help
You are not alone! 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 response teams are prepared to deliver essential supplies and make general wellness calls. We also have medical personnel on call. If you see a need, please let us know. If you want to help us in the work, just email Dave Welch or Pastor Sam.
Back to the Office Safely
FPC Picture
As part of our plan to get church functions back to normal, staff are returning to work in the church building on a limited basis. When you need to contact a member of staff, please do so by phone, email, or mail, if you can. We want to limit contact with others for everyone's safety. A later phase of our plan allows for more regular contact within the building, so please stay tuned for future announcements.
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
During the COVID-19 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.
Join Us on YouTube and Facebook
Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch the livestream of our early worship service and other activities. Go to and type in "FPC Bristol." Click on the link and hit "subscribe." You will receive notifications of new videos. 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.
Study the Bible Online
We are continuing to offer two adult studies on our YouTube channel. The Sunday Bible study, Praying With the Psalms, looks at the Book of Psalms through the lens of prayer. All you need is a Bible and an open heart. We also post a short study every Wednesday. If you subscribe, you will be notified when new studies become available.
Pray for the World
As we weather the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking you to spend more time in prayer for our church, our community, our 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.
Patient Perseverance, or Something Like It
As many of us have learned over the past few months, patience is a virtue best left untried. Alas, we will be put to the test this Sunday, when we gather outdoors for One Worship. We will feel an irresistible urge to find JB Madison (August 19-22) and slap him on the back for mowing the lawn so that we might keep our feet neat on that happy day. Better to say a silent prayer of thanks, not forgetting Fred Harkleroad (August 26-29), who will perform the same office for the final Sunday in August.
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:
James Butterworth (brother of Jack): to the Memorial Fund from Ann & Bill Woods
Alice Cavenaugh (sister of Linda Poteat): to the Memorial Fund from Ann & Bill Woods
Bill Goforth: to the Memorial Fund from Ann & Bill Woods
Vivian Hill: to the Christian Hands Ministry from Ann & Bill Woods
Betty Ottenfeld (mother of Karen Vann): to the Memorial Fund from Ann & Bill Woods
Neil Ottenfeld (father of Karen Vann): to the Memorial Fund from Ann & Bill Woods
Virginia Rutherford: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Betty Lynn & Landy Brindle, from John & Alice Graham, from Tom & Leigh King, from Carl & Reveley McGrady, from Cora Lee Raccioppo, from Bill & Patsy Ward, from Ann & Bill Woods
Chuck Thompson: to the Brazil Mission Fund from Ann & Bill Woods
Laura Ann Warner: to the Memorial Fund from Ann & Bill Woods
Organist's Footnotes
Please join us this Sunday for One Worship (traditional) at 9:00 a.m. under the oaks. There will be plenty of room to socially distance from your fellow congregants in the great outdoors! Bring your own lawn chair and come early to claim your spot. We hope to see you there. Meanwhile, you can see last Sunday's 11:00 service here.
This Sunday my feet will be firmly planted on the ground as I play our new Yamaha keyboard outdoors. My choice of music for this instrument has led me to several pieces with a retro feel. Two of these pieces have borrowed from something old to create something new.
Clara H. Scott (1841-1897) was an American composer, hymn writer, and publisher. She wrote the well-known hymn, "Open My Eyes, That I May See." I was intrigued to learn that she died after being thrown from her carriage by a spooked horse! I thought it was high time this "horse-and-buggy" hymn was updated with a fresh 21st century setting (Sunday's prelude). I altered some of the more archaic language to make it resonate better in our contemporary ears.
John-Michael Tebelak (1949 -1985) wrote the musical Godspell for his master's thesis at Carnegie Mellon University in 1970. Stephen Schwartz (b. 1948) composed the music for it in 1971, including the song "All Good Gifts." A traveling troupe brought this brand-new musical to the small college town where I grew up, and it made an impression on me. I created this choral arrangement (Sunday's anthem) for a communion Sunday in 1994 because I couldn't find any decent arrangements. (You can hear the anthem for August 9, "The Lord's My Shepherd," here.)
James Keith Manley was born in 1940 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and received his education in California at Whittier College, Pacific School of Religion, and Claremont School of Theology. He was ordained to the ministry of the United Church of Christ in 1966. Manley composed the tune "Spirit" (our offertory) for his text of 1975, and it appeared in his collection After Eden (1990) with an arrangement by Jim Strathdee. It is also published in The Presbyterian Hymnal (1990).
David Lanz, (b. 1950) a Seattle native and one of the originators of New Age/New Instrumental music, was on the scene and on the charts before Yanni and John Tesh. Even before his gold record Cristofori's Dream became the world's first #1 Billboard New Age/Adult Alternative album (#1 for 27 consecutive weeks), Lanz was heard around the world on the classic bubblegum hit "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks. His piece "Circle of Friends" (Sunday's postlude) could be a metaphor for the fellowship of believers circling the globe, the church universal, of which our young confirmands are now members.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Sue Barr
Joe Bell
Sujean Bradley
Bud Branscomb
Bristol Tennessee School System
Jane Brooks
Family of Fay Buckles
Becky Busler
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Thomas Covington
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
DeeDee Galliher
Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Bill Graham's family
Martha & John Graham
Gene Grindstaff
Ron Grubbs
Conor Haaser & squadron
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela & newborn Higgins
John Holler
Family of Lisa Holmes
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Richard Lee
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
Martha North
Cheyenne Poteat
Maria Poteat
Laura Rodriguez
Harold Rutherford
Brittany Salter
Susan Solomon
Bill Wade
Maria Wagner
Patsy Ward
Karen White
Dave Whitesides
To the Church Triumphant
Lisa Aaron Snodgrass Holmes
August 14, 2020
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Aug. 23     Remington Rutherford
Aug. 24     Jack Smith
Aug. 25     Sam Shim, Roger Sikorski
Aug. 26     Rose Rosser, Molly Shaw
Aug. 27     Zach Beckner
Aug. 28     Vance McCracken
Aug. 29     Aaron Addison
Church Calendar
Sunday, August 23
9:00 a.m.        One Worship, Outdoors
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
4:00 p.m.       Evangelism & Outreach Comm., Fellowship Hall
Monday, August 24
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, TBD
Tuesday, August 25
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Fellowship Hall
Wednesday, August 26
6:00 p.m.       Fun Family Fellowship, TBD
Thursday, August 27
7:00 a.m.        Men's Bible Study, Fellowship Hall
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
6:30 p.m.       MEF Advisory Comm., Room 123
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