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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Sun of Righteousness
Our Holiday Schedule
Acolytes Take a Break
Bradley Directs Boffo Play for Christmas Kids!
Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion with Lessons and Carols
Alexander High School Mastery Choir Here Dec. 28
Watch FPC Worship Videos Online
Stewardship Status: Closing the Gap
Several Adult Sunday Morning Classes Available
Student Ministries Alumni Christmas Party
Christmas Cookie Ministry Calling
December Mission Shares the Warmth
Registration for Passion 2020 Closing Soon
Progressively Jollier Student Christmas Dinners
Santa's Sleigh Pulls into First in Student Gingerbread Contest
Get in the Spirit with Bristol Faith in Action
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Annual Congregational Meeting Jan. 19
Pray for One Another
You'll Open Windows Again Jan. 9
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
December 22
4th Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 7:10-14
Matthew 1:18-25
Transcendent Paper Airplanes
Sam Weddington
Christmas Cantata
The Incarnation
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 198; 11:00: 135

December 24
Christmas Eve
Candlelight Communion
Service of Lessons & Carols
Sam Weddington

December 29
1st Sunday of Christmas
Psalm 146:3-9
Matthew 2:13-23
Sam Weddington

January 5
2nd Sunday of Christmas
Ephesians 3:5-6
Isaiah 60
Arise, Your Light Has Come
Sam Weddington
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

Dec. 19 & 26, 2019 & Jan. 2, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Sun of Righteousness

See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. (Malachi 4:1-2 NRSV)
Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, "God is with us."  (Matthew 1:23 NRSV)
It's about this time in December that I really miss the sun. Of course, the sun is still there, but as for sunlight, we are approaching the shortest day of the year on the 21st, winter solstice. I really miss the sun.
Yet, like a reliable clock, I know that my own biology will kick back into gear with each day beyond the 21st, as the days get longer. Of course, December 29th won't be as long as summer solstice on June 20. Nevertheless, there are about two extra minutes each day, once we get past the 21st. A small blessing, I know, but certainly a blessing.
All of this led me to reflect on this passage from Malachi. It's a simple enough promise, I suppose. It repeats what we often find developed more fully in prophets like Isaiah. Though the people couldn't see it or completely fathom it then, Malachi tells them a day is coming when God's justice will be established, and we will be healed. To make the point, he uses the rising of the sun to reflect the regularity and predictability of the faithfulness of God. Contrary to any indications we see presently, the day is coming when all will be well, whole, right. You can count on it as surely as you can count on the sun rising tomorrow morning, the prophet tells us.
But until then, we only have the promise. As Eileen Schuller, professor of Old Testament at McMaster University puts it, until that day comes, such talk and promises "can seem totally removed from present reality, simply a fantasy of the future" when justice is established, and each receives their reward. In fact, there is nothing here that promises "immediate change or rectification of the present social order." In other words, just as the idea of long summer days seems too good to be true as we close in on the shortest day of the year, we have only a promise to sustain us through the long night.
So it is fitting then that the very next book of the Bible in its very first chapter (Matthew 1:23) tells us that on the day God's promises became reality, not only do we find God to be reliable, we find God to be greater than we ever expected Him to be. When the promise became real, not only was Isaiah 7:14 fulfilled, but Emmanuel meant far more than God stood with us. God was quite literally with us in the flesh of this child.
While the world had looked on, sure that the promises were of no weight, that the night would last forever and we had better be about the business of fixing things ourselves, God had been and was at work with us. Now God was one of us. Not satisfied with grace given at a distance, God had always been at work, closing the gap. As the sun of righteousness rose over that stall in Bethlehem, the deep groaning of a world grown cold by night was warmed with the light it had always needed. Surely, healing came in the wings of that new dawn.
So yes, I really miss the sun. But I know it will be back. He always comes back. He is with me, even during the longest night of the year.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Our Holiday Schedule
Sun., Dec. 22
11:00 a.m.
Christmas Cantata
Mon., Dec. 23
7:00 p.m.
Student Fellowship Alumni Christmas Dinner
Off Campus
Christmas Eve
10:00 a.m.
7:00 p.m.
Cookie Ministry
Candlelight Communion
Fellowship Hall
Christmas Day
Church offices closed
Thurs., Dec. 26
Church offices closed
Sat., Dec. 28
3:00 p.m.
Alexander High Mastery Choir
Wed., Jan. 1
Church offices closed
Acolytes Take a Break
Our acolytes will take a break after this Sunday's late service. They will resume their duties in traditional worship in February.
Bradley Directs Boffo Play for Christmas Kids!
A big thank you to Sujean Bradley, who directed our Christmas play again this year! And a huge thank you to the many, many volunteers who helped make it a smash by doing all sorts of tasks: sewing lambs' ears, constructing and painting the set, making costumes, providing music and sound effects, gathering props, assisting groups of children, and much more! Everyone, young and old, was reminded that in the midst of the hectic activity, the interruptions, the frustrations, God is present. God often shows up in unexpected places and times! We need to be still and take the time to seek Him. / Lilly Osborne

Shepherds keeping watch over their sheep

Starry night

Bad news from the innkeeper

Adoration at the manger

Cast and crew
Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion with Lessons and Carols

Our church family and other members of the community will worship together on Christmas Eve with a candlelight communion service of lessons and carols in the sanctuary. The service will begin at 7:00 p.m., and Pastor Sam will bring the message. The evening's special offering will go to the Minister's Discretionary Fund. Please join us Tuesday, December 24, for this beautiful experience. Bring the whole family; our nursery will be open!
Alexander High School Mastery Choir Here Dec. 28

The Alexander High School Mastery Choir of Douglasville, GA, will kick off their tour and pick up our post-Christmas, pre -New Year's spirits with a performance in our sanctuary Saturday, December 28, at 3:00 p.m. They will sing Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols, accompanied by a student harpist, and share a new Christmas piece by Tim Sharp in the bluegrass/folk style. The choir sang at Carnegie Hall last spring. You will want to make plans to attend their free and uplifting concert!
Watch FPC Worship Videos Online
Several folks have asked about watching FPC worship services online: Where do I find them? How do I watch them? Can I share them?
Let's begin with where to find them:

1. Use your internet browser and go to


2. Search for First Presbyterian Church Bristol TN.


3. Click on the link for FPC to take you to the FPC YouTube site, where you will find the video collection.


4. Click on the SUBSCRIBE button.


After you subscribe to the FPC channel, you can click on the icon below to be notified when a new video is being streamed or posted.

5. Then explore the FPC videos and playlists. Revisit Pastor Sam's entire collection of Apostles' Creed sermons. Watch previous stewardship messages. Enjoy Elizabeth Patrick's sermon and the choir performance from last Sunday morning. Click on the Share button to send videos to friends and family.

Also, you can watch the early worship service as it is happening each Sunday morning at 9:00. Click here to livestream our contemporary service.

Enjoy and be blessed!

If you are interested in helping with the production of our video and streaming projects, contact JerryPoteat at 423-534-3506 or email him at

Stewardship Status: Closing the Gap
We have been blessed with nearly $640,000 in pledges toward our 2020 operating budget of $689,000. That is a fantastic shower of love and dedication from this church! The goal of a fully funded budget for 2020 is still within reach this month.
$689,000 Goal
$639,990 Pledges Received
$ 49,010 Gap to Close
Making a pledge is easy. Fill out a pledge card and place it in the offering plate or mail it in the self-addressed envelope provided. An online option is not available, but you can call or email your pledge to Betsy Galliher, if you prefer. You can reach her at 423-764-7176 or
Pledges are the means by which FPC staff and committees set and prioritize the year's goals. These funds help our friends in the neighborhood, the children and youth ministries at FPC, our brothers and sisters in Brazil and Ethiopia, and so much more.
If you have pledged, thank you for your continued support! Please be in prayer that God's will reigns over His church.
Thank you!
FPC Stewardship Committee  
Several Adult Sunday Morning Classes Available

Adults of FPC! You are invited to study the Bible with other adults from 10:10 to 10:40 on Sunday mornings. Here are the learning opportunities:
  1. The Gospel of John, with Matt Richardson, in room 123
  2. A Look at the Gospels, with Chase and Audrey Arndt, in room 125
  3. Bible Study with the A.C. Adams Class, with Nancy Allerton, in room 124
  4. Sermon Bible verses, with Sam Weddington and Dave Welch, in room 167 (Boy Scout Wing)
Student Ministries Alumni Christmas Party

All Student Ministries alumni are invited to a Christmas party reunion on Monday, December 23, at 7:00 p.m. The gathering will be held at Katie Arnold's house, 716 Spruce Street. Everyone is encouraged to bring a $10 gift for the gift exchange. We hope to see all the alumni there, and spend an evening catching up and having fun together!
Christmas Cookie Ministry Calling

Those of us who understand the importance of Christmas cookies will meet in the Fellowship Hall at 10:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve bearing a batch or two of our homemade cookies. We will put all the cookies on the table and box up varieties of them. Then it will be time to spread Christmas cheer! Each person or family participating can take boxes to locations where people must work on Christmas, such as fire stations, the police station, and medical facilities.
December Mission Shares the Warmth
Our mission in December is to help our neighbors stay warm. We invite each member of our church family to deck the Christmas trees in the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall with gloves, hats, and scarves. Bring your gifts to the church when you come to worship, and place them on the branches or the tree skirts. At the end of the month, we will box up all the items we've collected and, through Bristol Faith in Action and Fairmount Elementary School, share them with our neighbors who could use some warmth.
Registration for Passion 2020 Closing Soon

Passion 2020 is almost fully booked, so if you want to go, get in touch with Katie Arnold at now! We'll join thousands of 18 -to-25-year-olds at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta from December 31 through January 2. Passion is filled with incredible worship, dynamic speakers, and sweet time with your church family. The cost is $200 with a $50 deposit.
Progressively Jollier Student Christmas Dinners
The Student Ministries Progressive Christmas Dinners were jolly good, with two nights of fantastic fellowship and fun! Middle schoolers gallivanted around Bristol on Saturday, December 7, stopping at Katie McInnis's house for appetizers, devouring a delicious main course at the Ongs' home, and finishing up with eggnog floats and fun at the Kreiss family's home. The high schoolers took off on Sunday, December 8, with a stop at the Buckles' for appetizers, for an incredible main course at the Godseys' (for the seventh consecutive year!), and desserts and a very competitive white elephant gift exchange at the home of the Martins. Students brought gifts to fill bags for each of our volunteers. We are so thankful for our amazing hosts and the incredible team of adults that run wild with this crazy bunch! / Katie Arnold

Middle schoolers dined well

And had fun!

High school spirit

Merry Christmas!
Santa's Sleigh Pulls into First in Student Gingerbread Contest
The Student Fellowship Gingerbread House Competition last Sunday oozed competition like icing and showcased the incredible creativity of our teens. The winners of the event were Alie Bassett, Bailey Bechtold, Cameron Shelley, and Wade Witcher with their detailed re-creation of Santa's sleigh and reindeer. From the jingle bells on the reins to the presents in the sleigh, and even reindeer droppings in the snow, this team's spirited work soared through the night and landed in First Place. / Katie Arnold

The winning entry
Get in the Spirit with Bristol Faith in Action

Need some help getting into the Christmas spirit? Try volunteering with the local interdenominational organization that helps the poor in our community. Bristol Faith in Action is looking for people to fill several key volunteer positions, as well as for someone to write occasional thank-you cards and other pieces. The agency also needs to restock its food pantry, whose shelves were emptied Thanksgiving week. Anything will be appreciated!
BFIA's mission is to meet the needs of local people in financial crisis. FPC believes that you will find their example of loving our neighbors fulfilling and meaningful. BFIA cannot operate without the dedication and loving spirit of volunteers, so please step up if you can.
Becoming a volunteer is simple: you complete an application form and sign confidentiality and code of conduct agreements. BFIA likes for potential volunteers to spend a day observing the position they are interested in. They can then sign up to fill available time slots on the days that are best for their own schedules. Many people choose to volunteer on the same day every week or every other week.
Shifts are from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, although the data entry position is more flexible. The agency urgently needs a receptionist on Tuesdays and occasional Fridays.
The work flows through these open positions:
Receptionist: Answer the phones, screen calls for the director, take messages, keep a call log and pass it on to the appointment setter. Use the electronic database for a number of tasks. Hand out short forms for commodities and ensure that they have been completely filled out. Work with clients coming in for commodities. File.
Appointment Setter: Call clients that have left messages requesting appointments. Check database for client eligibility and follow the checklist on the appointment sheet that goes in a client's file after an appointment is scheduled. Inform clients asking for rental assistance of the new rental assistance policy.
Interviewer: Conduct face-to-face interviews with clients seeking financial assistance. Complete a long form that includes the demographics of everyone in the household, financial need, income and expenses, and review of income proof. After the interview of client need is completed, copy all required documents. Meet with the director to review findings and get a voucher for the client to sign and take to the payee.
Data Entry Clerk: Enter all client data, visit information, and result of visit. Add payees as needed. Paperwork only; no client interaction.
For more information, visit the agency's website at or contact DeVonne Phipps, Executive Director, at 276-466-8292. BFIA is located at 1534 Euclid Avenue in Bristol, VA.
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:
Tom Daniel: to the Music Ministries Fund from Carl & Reveley McGrady
Mrs. Buddy "Jean" Eller: to the Capital Campaign Fund from James M. Gilly
Mr. & Mrs. George T. Fagan: to the Capital Campaign Fund from James M. Gilly
Jack Fleming (father of Debbie McMillin): to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill
Mr. James M. Gilly & Mrs. Frances Gilly Hodges: to the Capital Campaign Fund from James M. Gilly
Mr. & Mrs. Peter Marvin Gilly: to the Capital Campaign Fund from James M. Gilly
Mr. & Mrs. Roscoe F. Harrison: to the Capital Campaign Fund from James M. Gilly
Nancy King: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill
Bev McClain (grandmother of Jon McClain): to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill
Mrs. Irene K. Newman: to the Capital Campaign Fund from James M. Gilly
Herb Van Nostrand: to Boy Scout Troop 3 from Mark Cinalli, from Diane Harrison, from Eddie & Peggy Hill, from Fred & Susan Knickerbocker, from Stephen & Elaine Nicholson, from Rob Rutherford, from Bob & Susan St. Jean, from Rodney Taylor, from Virginia High School
Music Notes
K. Lee Scott
Christmas Cantata: Taking the place of an anthem December 22 is our yearly Christmas Cantata. This Sunday the Sanctuary Choir will perform The Incarnation by K. Lee Scott. Scott (b. 1950) is an American choral conductor, composer, and clinician known for his hymns and anthems. He holds degrees in choral music from the University of Alabama and has spent decades traveling throughout the US, Canada, and Africa as a guest conductor and clinician. The lyrics for the cantata come from Charles Wesley; John 1:1-5 and 10-14; John Gwyneth; and Godfrey Goodman.
Organist's footnotes for Dec. 22: Alec Rowley's "Benedictus" is a glorious, arch-shaped piece, perfect for setting the mood for the fourth Sunday in Advent. Rowley (1892 -1958) was Fellow and Faculty at Trinity College of Music, London.
"King of Glory" (offertory) is a popular Israeli folk song, here set by Wayne L. Wold (b. 1954), Professor and Chair of the Music Department, Concert Manager, and College Organist at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. He is also Director of Music Ministry at First Lutheran Church of Ellicott City, Maryland.
"Macht hoch die Tür" ("Make high the doors") is a popular German Advent hymn that was written in Ducal Prussia in the 17th century. The incipit, or first line, is "Macht hoch die Tür, die Tor macht weit" ("Make high the doors, the gates make wide"). The lyrics were written by Georg Weissel in 1623 for the inauguration of the Altroßgärter Kirche in Königsberg. The melody that is now associated with the text first appeared in 1704 in the hymnal by Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen. This postlude setting is by Klaus Uwe Ludwig (b. 1943) who is Church Musician at the Lutherkirche in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Norman Dello Joio
Organist's footnotes for Christmas Eve: A deeply thoughtful and meticulous musician, Wilbur Held (1914 -2015) crafted elegant preludes, postludes, and hymn settings that remain central to the repertoire of church organists around the globe. Held's music is widely popular for its appeal to beginning to intermediate-level players. "Wilbur Held makes organists of even moderate ability sound good," an admirer recently noted. His A Nativity Suite is his first published work. He composed it for his organ students who, after having studied organ for one semester, would come home at Christmas and be asked to "play something." For some reason, these charming miniatures, each about a minute in length, have escaped my attention until now. I hope you enjoy listening to them.
Norman Dello Joio (1913 -2008) was an American composer whose output spanned more than half a century and who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1957. If his setting of "In dulci jubilo" ("Good Christian Friends, Rejoice") doesn't make you want to skip out of the sanctuary, you may be lacking in Christmas spirit!
Annual Congregational Meeting Jan. 19

Our annual congregational meeting will be held Sunday, January 19, at 10:10 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The purpose of the meeting is for the congregation to receive an annual financial report, vote on the terms of call for the senior pastor, convene as the corporation, and elect officers. The Nominating Committee will present a slate of officer nominees, and the floor will be opened to nominations as well. All nominees must be confirmed in advance of the meeting as willing to serve. Everyone is invited to the meeting, but only members may vote.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Sujean Bradley
Meggie Brooks
Becky Busler
Eddy Carter
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Helen Davidson
Dorothy Dollar
Sarah Ellis
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Bobby Fleu
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
Kay Martin Grott
Gunner Grubbs
Ron Grubbs
Sarah Haas
Lou Hebb
Marty Keys & family
Marthina Chapel
Dot Mattison
Lisa May
Roger McCracken
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Gage Mullins
Music Ministries of FPC
Breanna Necessary
Donald Page
Eric Page
Meg Rice's family
Pat Rippetoe
Gina Roberson
Larry Roberts (Greg's brother)
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Joan Sams
Katlin Smith
Al Thomas
Phil Tupa
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Nancy Whitesides
Vicky Wood
Bill Woods
Our love and sympathy are with Meg Rice and her family in the death of her father, Dr. Michael Grant Ehrie Jr., December 11 in Ashland, KY.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Dec. 22       Anna Comer
Dec. 23       Tom Carter
Dec. 25       Pat Flannagan, Wesley Foster
Dec. 29       Derek Dowdell, Peter Stigers, Dottie Whitesides
Dec. 30       Jason Kreiss, Teddy Testerman
Dec. 31       Dave Ginn
Jan. 1          Dee Ginn
Jan. 2          Charlotte Parker, Leigh Beth Phipps
Jan. 4          Scott Sams
Jan. 5          Sujean Bradley, Maria Poteat, Jim Wiseman
Jan. 6          Amelia Cordon, Camille Miller
Jan. 8          Heidi Harkleroad
Jan. 10        Susan Abel, Helen Grace Gannaway
Jan. 11        Emma Booher
You'll Open Windows Again Jan. 9

This is our final newsletter for 2019. The next issue of Windows will appear January 9, a week before our spring semester of programs begins. We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Church Calendar
Sunday, December 22
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
10:15 a.m.     Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
11:00 a.m.     Worship & Christmas Cantata, Sanctuary
Monday, December 23
8:30 a.m.       Staff Meeting
7:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship Alumni Dinner, Katie Arnold's Home
Tuesday, December 24
10:00 a.m.     Christmas Cookie Ministry, Fellowship Hall
7:00 p.m.       Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Sanctuary
Wednesday, December 25
Church offices closed for Christmas holiday
Thursday, December 26
Church offices closed for Christmas holiday
Saturday, December 28
3:00 p.m.       Alexander High Mastery Choir, Sanctuary
Sunday, December 29
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
10:15 a.m.     Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Tuesday, December 31
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
Wednesday, January 1
Church offices closed for New Year's Day
Thursday, January 2
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
Sunday, January 5
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Monday, January 6
6:30 p.m.       Board of Deacons, Room 117 & 123
Tuesday, January 7
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, January 8
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Practice, Room 212
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
Thursday, January 9
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
8:30 a.m.       Meals on Wheels, Fellowship Hall
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
4:30 p.m.       Human Resources Comm., Room 117
6:30 p.m.       Scout Order of the Arrow, Scout Hall
Friday, January 10
7:00 p.m.       Scout Roundtable, Room 165
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