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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Make the Connection!
Home Groups
Join Our AV Team
Last Call for Advent Devotions
Substitute Teachers Needed
For the History Buffs among Us
Goodbye Party at Student Fellowship
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
Mowing Away
Gifts to the Church
Organist's Footnotes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
August 30
13th Sunday after Pentecost
Exodus 3:1-15
Matthew 16:21-28
The Unexpected Call
Dr. Laura Ong, Ruling Elder
Last Sunday's One Worship Attendance
In person: 138
Livestream: 63
Playbacks: 136
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 27, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Make the Connection! 
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25, NRSV
I have to say that it has been so good to reconnect with many of you in the past month! Between outdoor worship services and a great afternoon at Doe River, as well as meeting (in a socially distanced, responsible manner) in person, it has been so good to see your faces, exchange elbow bumps, and see the smile in your eyes above the mask over your mouth. I've also enjoyed the meetings with those I've only been able to connect with over the phone or through a windowpane. I am thankful that with these opportunities, we have experienced God's protective presence. My hope and prayer is that we will continue to be responsible and responsive to the community's need for connection.
With that in mind, I am so happy that we will begin our new Home Group ministry in September. You can read more about this ministry and how you can connect to it in this issue of Windows (see "Home Groups," below). The main point of this program is that it provides resources for the individuals, families, and small groups who feel comfortable gathering to reflect on the word of God, share fellowship, and pray. We even hope that those who can't do so in person would consider meeting virtually via Zoom. We would be happy to talk with you about how to get started.
We live in challenging times, especially when it comes to being the body of Christ, a body that is first and foremost a gathering of those who call Christ Jesus Lord, and want to grow together in fellowship, love, and service. As I recently asked in an academic article, can the church be the church when it is increasingly difficult to gather in person?
My hope is that, yes, we can be the church despite the difficulties. I also hope that the Home Group project will be part of the solution. In the end, however, what is important is that in all things we provoke one another to love and goodness through our gathering, whether that be in person or digitally. We can encourage one another via digital worship. We can also do so by calling up a brother or sister on the phone, listening, and praying together. Unlike the early church, we have every advantage in this struggle, and with God's help, we can live our Hebrews 10 in new and inventive ways that give glory to Christ Jesus!
Please consider joining the Home Group program. Use this resource, and continue to be a blessing.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Home Groups
Whether we are single, a couple, a father, a mother, a grandparent, a student, or a child, the COVID crisis has shown us a few things. First, we have a deep yearning to gather with others. Second, worship is fundamental to who we are. Third, God's word is life giving. It's like water in the desert, refreshment for the parched soul.
When we put these thoughts together, we have the basis for our upcoming Home Groups. Home Groups are opportunities for each of us to gather intentionally with family, friends, neighbors, in person, online, in the way we feel most comfortable. Home Groups are opportunities for each of us to drink deeply from God's word by reading the Bible with others, sharing our thoughts, looking at videos, or engaging in activities. When we do, God prepares us even more to worship together.
Home Groups are just what they sound like: getting together in homes (or online) with others, using age-appropriate material supplied weekly by church staff to each group. If you want your group to be just your family, we've got something for you. If you want to be part of a multiage, full-spectrum group, guess what? We have material for you, too. You choose the time, the place, and the folks with whom you would like to gather, and we take care of the rest.
Just let us know who you are, when you want to meet, and your ages by asking to be a part of the Home Group Facebook page or signing up to receive texts from the Remind app. Every week, material will be sent to the self-designated Home Group Facilitator (and online) before each Home Group meets. At the end of every week, our worship service and sermon will focus on the Bible passages you've studied that week. Whether you worship in person, livestream the broadcast, or watch the YouTube video later, your Home Group will prepare you to experience God more fully, each week.
If you have questions, please reach out to Dave Welch (, Katie Arnold (, or Lilly Osborne ( for answers. Meanwhile, watch for Home Groups updates in our weekly Windows newsletter and on the FPC Bristol webpage.
Join Our 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.
Last Call for Advent Devotions
In a few days we will close the window through which we have been accepting submissions for our 2020 Advent devotional. Until the end of August, we will still accept contributions of a short devotion (300 words). If you plan to participate, now is the time to email Han Ong at or Candy Phelps at Please email your contribution to Han by October 1.
Substitute Teachers Needed
It has come to our attention that the Bristol Tennessee City School system is in dire need of substitute teachers. The requirement for this position is a high school diploma. In Christ, this might be a wonderful place for you to serve, if you feel called to do so. By stepping up in this way, we equip our teachers, administrators, parents, and students to succeed in very trying times, and we give public witness that, in Christ, we are a blessing. Click on the link to the application here, or go directly to the BTCS website, then to Human Resources, and look at the job openings.
For the History Buffs among Us
1932 FPC Men's Bible Class
In 1976, church member Anne Strickland Harrison published A Long Communion, a book that tells the history of First Presbyterian Church from 1820 to 1976. It is an interesting read, tracing our journey from its beginning at the first gathering in downtown Bristol, then in Paperville (and who knows why that area of Bristol is called Paperville?). Books are free and at the church; just ask staff for a copy.
Those in our congregation who are interested in a history project have here a grand opportunity: pick up our story where it left off in 1976 and bring it into the 21st century! If you care to dive deeper into the past, we also need help answering questions such as, Where was our photo of the 1932 Men's Bible Class taken? We think it may have been in front of the E.W. King House on Anderson Street, but we don't know for sure. If you would like to find the answers to such questions or take on the larger project alone or in collaboration with others, please contact Beth Flannagan at
Goodbye Party at Student Fellowship
We will bid farewell to Stephen Wagner during Student Fellowship this Sunday. All our middle school and high school students are invited to 110 Bird Road at 6:00 p.m. for swimming and games and pizza. Bring a swimsuit, a towel, and friends!
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.
Mowing Away
The end of August begins to show us what to expect in a transitional season much loved for the beauty to be found in falling free of insensible restraints. Fred Harkleroad (August 26-29) quite sensibly mows for us this Sunday, and his good work will carry us through to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1. Roger Sikorski (Sept. 2-5) will then take us up to Labor Day.
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:
Virginia Rutherford: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Nancy DeFriece, from Peggy Peters
Organist's Footnotes
Hans Zimmer
Sunday's prelude, "The Burning Bush," is an organ transcription of an excerpt from the soundtrack of the motion picture The Prince of Egypt. This 1998 DreamWorks Animation musical drama is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus. It follows the life of Moses from his time as a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Hans Zimmer (b. 1957) composed the musical score. Zimmer has composed music for more than 150 films, including The Lion King, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Interstellar, Gladiator, Crimson Tide, Inception, Dunkirk, and The Dark Knight trilogy. He has won four Grammy Awards, three Classical BRIT Awards, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. "The Burning Bush" is the music for the scene where Moses encounters God. It aptly conveys the sense of wonder and awe that Moses experienced. I hope my organ transcription does justice to this moving music.
John Bell
"Kelvingrove" (our postlude) is a Scottish traditional melody. John Bell (b. 1949) set his hymn "The Summons" to this tune after being accepted into the Iona Community in 1980. The first four stanzas are understood to be the voice of Christ calling his disciples. "Kelvingrove" is here set as a lilting air for organ by composer Matthew H. Corl (b. 1965). Corl received the Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music from Westminster Choir College in 1987.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
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
Steve Gross
Ron Grubbs
Conor Haaser & squadron
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela & newborn Higgins
John Holler
Family of Lisa Holmes
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Danae Kreiss
Lyn Leach
Richard Lee
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Teagan McBride
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Megan Mitten
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
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Aug. 30     Jackie Burt, Logan Tudor
Aug. 31     Gracie Buckles, Susan Buckles, Ann Davis, Molly Keller
Sept. 1      Sue Barr, Chuck Bolick
Sept. 3      Nancy Carter
Sept. 4      Jess Beckner, Judy Slaughter
Sept. 5      Randy Cook, Jack Richardson
Church Calendar
Sunday, August 30
9:00 a.m.        Worship, Fellowship Hall & Livestream
                          Online Sunday School (following 9:00 service)
10:10 a.m.     Adult Bible Study
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Tuesday, September 1
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, September 3
7:00 a.m.        Men's Bible Study, Fellowship Hall
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
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