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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: The Good Fight
Exploring the Apostles' Creed
Acolyte Orientation This Sunday
Please Ring In
Join Us for Wednesday Night Fellowship
What Would the Little Red Hen Do?
Thank You, Christian Hands
August Mission Emphasis, and How!
Make a Positive Difference as a Reading Buddy
Yes! We Will Trunk or Treat!
First Aid for Marthina Chapel
Last of the Red-Hot Mowers
Fall Student Retreat Next Saturday
Confirmation Class Coming Soon
Our Midyear Financial Report
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
August 25
11th Sunday after Pentecost
Deuteronomy 10:12-16
Colossians 3:12-14
Loving What God Loves
Sam Weddington
I Believe
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 126; 11:00: 105
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 22 , 2019
Word from the Pastor: The Good Fight

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 NRSV
In early July, I made my annual pilgrimage to my mom's church, Green Spring Presbyterian in Abingdon. I began pastoral ministry as a student intern at this church. My son used to crawl on the carpet. My father, a long-time Pentecostal minister, left that tradition behind and, along with my mother, joined the church soon after my internship. He ended up becoming a Presbyterian lay pastor. Of course, this was after a couple years of theological wrestling with him.
I've preached there on numerous occasions and have counted its last two pastors my friends. I presided over my dad's funeral service at that church. I still remember the warmth and kindness of the congregation that day as they prepared an enormous meal for us. Too bad my unwieldy family decided to act like a herd of cats and do their own thing. A plaque bearing my dad's name is attached to the piano in the choir room. When I go, I enjoy reconnecting and listening to my mom in the choir.
All in all, I genuinely enjoy my annual visit to Green Spring. Every time I go, "precious memories ... flood my soul." After this last visit, we all decided to visit my father and my grandfather at their burial site in Forest Hills Memorial Garden in Abingdon. The kids really don't remember my dad; they were too young. They may not have the memory, but I know that they were adored and loved. I told them so.
I hate to wax a bit too personal in this article. I usually try to make a point, reinforce a lesson, or cheer you up. Today, however, I want to talk about expectations. What is it that you expect from life? What is it that we expect from the sum of our days? What is it that we expect life to give us?
Is it success? If we die with enough wealth and accolades to "earn" a trust in our name, bestowing lavish gifts annually, will it have all been worth it? How about a building in our name, complete with a large portrait in the lobby? If lots of people show up to my service, will the attendance record serve as an indicator of my success?
Is it comfort? If we never had to face too hard a time, or if we always had access to what we wanted, will our expectations have been met? If we make it in life without having suffered too much pain and loss, will our lives be well lived?
As I stood outside my grandfather's and father's vaults, it's funny, none of those things came to mind. All I remembered is that I missed them, and I would give a hefty sum to talk for just 15 minutes. Even if no one else were to ever remember they existed, I would remember. They lived, I would tell myself. They loved and were loved. They were there when I needed them. I wouldn't have made it without them.
So what is it that you expect, and what is it that we ought to expect from life? I can't answer that question for you. You must examine your own heart.
All I can give you is what Scripture tells us. I think Paul gives us three great markers to measure our expectations: he struggled in the noble fight, he finished the race, and he, to the ability granted him by God, kept the faith. He fought, he finished, and he clung to God. How is that for an epitaph?
For all of us, life and the evils we must endure will deal each of us a losing hand. Give it enough time, and your body will betray you. Those you adored will experience the same, and the time will come when they leave you behind. I wish I had a more comforting answer for you than "That's life." Honestly, it doesn't help to say that this is life under the conditions of sin. We know we are sinners, but it still hurts.
No, what we ought to expect of life, of ourselves, and of others is that we will be granted the grace to have done as well as Paul. With everything that we were, we entered the fray. We struggled. We had our hearts broken. We got up and dusted ourselves off. We bore the wounds. Time healed slowly. Actually, we never fully healed in this life. Yet we ran anyway in the hope that we would finish the race, and finish it well. We loved. We were loved. We shared in others' burdens. Sometimes, we took their wounds onto ourselves so as to spare them the pain.
If we are given the grace to do this, then we will have lived well, and we will not have done it in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). You see, in Christ, we will have done it all sustained by God's grace. If we have done it well, it will have been by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). Our expectations may have been muted by this kind of realism, to be sure, but in a way our eternal hope will have promised us more than we could ever begin to imagine. We will have kept faith with the One who promises to "further clothe [us], so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Corinthians 5:4). All our struggling, our eventual finishing, and all our clinging will be made more alive, more real than it is now. It will be transformed by God's grace, and with "eager longing" all creation will finally sing the praises of God as we take our rightful place at God's side as God's children and adopted heirs (Romans 8:19).
Fight. Finish. Faith.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Exploring the Apostles' Creed

Each phrase of the Apostles' Creed offers up profound theological vistas that invite us to reflect on the Good News of Jesus Christ. What does a statement of belief that has been in use by the church in its many forms since at least the fourth century say to us today? Participate in a short-term, video- and discussion-based class paralleling Sam Weddington's upcoming sermon series, and we'll work it out together. This adult class will meet in the chapel on Sunday mornings from 10:20 to 10:40, starting September 8. For more information, please see Pastor Sam or Dave Welch.
Acolyte Orientation This Sunday
In anticipation of their return to their role in our 11:00 traditional worship service on September 8, our acolytes will participate in an orientation session this Sunday, August 25, at 12:30, directly after the traditional worship service. The acolyte ministry is open to any child in grades 5 -12. If you and your child are interested in serving in this capacity, please let Pastor Sam know by email ( before Sunday.
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
Please Ring In
If you can count, you count with the Sanctuary Handbell Choir! Can we count on your help? We need a few more regulars and a couple of substitutes. We practice from 6:15 to 7:15 on Wednesday evenings in the handbell room (212) upstairs. The ability to read music is helpful, but that's something we can teach you pretty quickly. Some coordination also helps, but we're not looking for acrobats. It's the ability to count that counts! These bells add an element to worship that can't be duplicated in any other way, and we play for the late worship service about once a month. Please email or call Bob Greene (, 276-696-9091) to talk about joining this fun-loving group.
Join Us for Wednesday Night Fellowship
Join us Wednesday evenings for our fellowship supper at 5:30 and stay for programs for youth, children, and adults. With the exception of special presentations, we will worship on Wednesday evening by praying, singing, and studying God's Word together in the chapel. Wednesday night Bible study will begin at 6:15 p.m.
What Would the Little Red Hen Do?

Do you enjoy our Wednesday night fellowship dinners? Then why not come over to the big kitchen early and help prepare them? If you can lend a hand, or even two, please call our new fellowship dinner coordinator, Sara Gannaway, at 423-573-2680, and find out how you can help.
Thank You, Christian Hands
When is a thank-you more than words? When it captures the smiles, excitement, and sheer joy of someone blessed beyond words. This past month, Nathaniel Sproles, Greg Roberts, Matt Kingsley, and Heidi and Fred Harkleroad spent many hours in the home of one of our Fairmount neighbors, and they weren't there for tea. These volunteers in our Christian Hands Ministry tore out damaged walls, hung beadboard, fitted molding, caulked, prepped walls and cabinets, and then painted it all, giving one family a beautiful and functional kitchen.
My thanks to these incredible servants doesn't begin to capture the joy and the thanksgiving of the homeowner whom they never saw while working, but it will have to do. So thank you, Nate, Greg, Heidi, Fred, and Matt for bringing joy to one of our neighbors!
If you would be interested in serving in a similar fashion, please contact me at No skills necessary! / Dave Welch
August Mission Emphasis, and How!
The Fairmount Elementary School supplies collection may be completed, but it's not over! The faculty is overwhelmed by our congregation's generosity. We collected more than 25 full, full, full boxes of pens, staples, staplers, files, Sharpies, pencils, and other items that took three loads in Dave's hatchback to deliver. Not just this semester but throughout this whole year, teachers will remember with thanksgiving the outpouring of love that accompanies them every time they go to their supply cabinets. As one teacher shared with me, "Your folks really love us!" So thank you, FPC, for loving so well and showing Jesus Christ in everything you do, especially with our Fairmount neighborhood: students, families, and teachers.
Make a Positive Difference as a Reading Buddy

An orientation for Fairmount Elementary School's Reading Buddies program will be held at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, August 29, in the Fellowship Hall. The goal of the Reading Buddies program is to build a positive relationship with a child. No previous teaching experience is required. For more information, contact Kay Ward at 423-652-9251 or visit
Yes! We Will Trunk or Treat!
Please mark your calendars for this year's Fairmount Neighborhood Trunk or Treat. It will take place at Fairmount Elementary School on Thursday, October 24, at 5:00 p.m. Sam Weddington already has his costume, and Linda Welch is brainstorming new car-decorating ideas. It's time to plan!
First Aid for Marthina Chapel
Our brothers and sisters of our Marthina Mission Chapel need a relatively new wheelchair, first aid supplies, and a first aid cart with drawers. Anyone who can donate any of these items can contact Bud Branscomb at 423-416-3212 (mobile) to coordinate drop-off and pickup. Thank you!
Last of the Red-Hot Mowers
August steams toward September, suggesting that the inspiration for the ice maker was in the perspiration of its inventor. Despite the heat, our mowing team faithfully cares for our church lawn, benefiting both our congregation and our neighbors. Randy Olson carries out this ministry August 21 -24, as we will see when we come to church for programs during the week and worship on Sunday. The following Sunday, September 1, is World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and Randy Cook will play his role in that great work August 28 -31. Put your feet up on Labor Day, fellas, and have a glass of something cold!
Fall Student Retreat Next Saturday
Our annual fall youth retreat is coming up rapidly. This special weekend for students in grades seven through twelve is August 31 through September 2 at Doe River Gorge. 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 <==
Confirmation Class Coming Soon

All seventh- to eleventh-graders are invited to enter the confirmation course that will begin three Sundays from now, on September 8. The course is a two-year journey, at the end of which you will be invited to confirm your faith and join the church. On the way, you will discuss hard questions about faith, God, and more, as you prepare for baptism or to confirm your baptismal vows.
You will find these two years to be a time of both personal growth and relational growth with your church family. You will play games, watch videos, and meet friends in new ways. 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.
The class will be held on Sunday mornings from 10:00 till 10:45 in the big room in the youth wing. Each class builds on information from the previous week, so regular attendance is very important. If you miss a class, we can help you make it up, but we ask all confirmands to take this commitment seriously. If you are interested in participating, contact Katie Arnold at
Our Midyear Financial Report
The FPC Finance Committee meets monthly to review financial reports, assess receipts and expenditures (budget vs. actual), and address any issues pertaining to financial matters.
The church's financial condition for 2019 through July remains positive. Following are some key items we are tracking:
  • Pledge receipts were slightly behind budget at the end of July. This is not uncommon in the summer months, making us optimistic that pledge payments will catch up quickly now that fall is upon us.
    • Pledges received were $8,141 less than budget through July. Pledge receipts totaled $390,194 (versus the budget through July of $398,335).
  • Expenses continue to be well managed by the church staff and committees, resulting in an overall surplus (receipts less expenses) at the end of July of $48,709. This is due in large part to the timing of budgeted expenditures, most significantly related to the hiring of music staff positions that were estimated to begin earlier in the year.
At the Finance Committee's August meeting we received and approved a proposed budget for 2020 that was carefully developed by the business office after receiving input from all staff members and committees. This proposed budget will be presented to Session for their approval at their meeting next week.
Financial reports are always available for your review in the church office. Feel free to contact any member of the Finance Committee with your comments and questions. We will be glad to find the answers! We are Jack Butterworth, Mary Connor, Nancy Cook, Barb Duncan, Ron Fox, Betsy Galliher, Dottie Havlik, Peggy Hill, and John Vann (chairman). / John Vann
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 Carl and Elliott Moore's gift to the Minister's Discretionary Fund in memory of Jane Sheffey.
Music Notes
Mark A. Miller
Sunday's music: Our choral anthem this week is "I Believe" by American church musician Mark A. Miller. Miller believes passionately that music can change the world. He also believes with Cornel West that "Justice is what love looks like in public." The lyrics to this beautiful setting were scrawled on a cellar wall in Cologne by a Jew hiding from the Nazi Gestapo during WWII. American soldiers discovered it below a Star of David when searching the bombed house.
Miller received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University and his Master of Music in Organ Performance from Juilliard. Since 1999 he has travelled to every part of the country, delighting congregations with the power and joy of music making. After his early career in New York City, where he was Assistant Organist and Music Associate at Riverside Church then Director of Contemporary Worship at Marble Collegiate Church, he now lives and works in New Jersey, where he is Associate Professor of Church Music and Composer in Residence at Drew University, a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale, Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit, and Composer in Residence of Harmonium Choral Society.
Jean Langlais
Organist's footnotes: Jean Langlais (1907 -1991) developed severe glaucoma when he was two years old and was completely blind by the age of three. But this condition did not prevent the French organist and composer from becoming famous as he performed recitals all over Europe and the United States. His style is not terribly dissonant, especially compared with that of many of his contemporaries, but by using harmonies unrelated to each other, sometimes in quick succession, he avoids establishing a tonal center. Three Characteristic Pieces is written in this free tonal style. This is especially true of the second movement (offertory), which often alternates between major and minor modes.
Because his style requires using many accidentals in the printed score, Langlais often notated and published his music without key signatures. After all, what's the point of notating a tonal center if you're not going to be staying there? It also assists the performer in determining the proper notes to play, which I hope I have done! In the final movement (postlude), Langlais is more tonal than in the previous movements. On the flip side, he's almost completely removed from any sense of meter from the middle of the piece. It is intended to sound like bells ringing out of control. I can't help but think of the poem "The Bells" by Edgar Allan Poe!
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's family
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Meg Flannagan
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Diane Glymph
Ron Grubbs
Kristi Johnson
Marty Keys & family
Nancy King
Kwon family
Dot Mattison
Roger McCracken
Carl McGrady
Christine Mitten & family
Alice Moore
Pendley family
Sharon Potter
Don Preston
Bob Rhea
Larry Roberts (Greg's brother)
Virginia Rutherford
Stigers family
Brandon Story & family
Ashley Thomasson
Barb Thompson & family
Billie Whisnant
Ann & Bill Woods
To the Church Triumphant
Charles "Chuck" Stephen Thompson
August 19, 2019
Our love and sympathy are with Chris Blankenship and his family in the death of his father, Gene Blankenship, August 15 in Bristol.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Aug. 25     Sam Shim, Roger Sikorski
Aug. 26     Rose Rosser, Molly Shaw
Aug. 27     Zach Beckner
Aug. 28     Vance McCracken
Aug. 29     Aaron Addison
Aug. 30     Jackie Burt, Logan Tudor
Aug. 31     Gracie Buckles, Susan Buckles, Ann Davis, Molly Keller
Church Calendar
Sunday, August 25
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
10:30 a.m.     Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
12:30 p.m.     Acolyte Orientation, Sanctuary
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship, Fellowship Hall
Monday, August 26
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, Room 123
Tuesday, August 27
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 28
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
6:15 p.m.       Adult Enrichment
7:15 p.m.       Acolytes Rehearse with Choir, Sanctuary
7:15 p.m.       Worship Team, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, August 29
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
6:00 p.m.       Reading Buddies Orientation, Fellowship Hall
Saturday, August 31
Fall Student Retreat, Doe River Gorge
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