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

In This Issue
Subscriptions & Deadline
Word from the Pastor
Welcome a Guest Preacher at Sunday's Early Service
Stay Safe
Holiday Celebrations Continue
Sunday's Joy Gift Aids Church Workers and Future Leaders
Year-End Planned Giving and FPC
Christmas Benefit Sunday for BFIA
Help Out-of-Towners Find Lodging Tuesday
High School Progressive Dinner Sunday
Wow, What a Gift!
Let's Go Caroling!
Night of Worship and Music Dec. 23
Off the Shelf, Elf!
Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion
Christmas Eve Offering Helps Those Near to Us
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
December 16
3rd Sunday of Advent
Service of Lessons & Carols
Sam Weddington
Prepare the Way, O Zion, Come
Come Now, O Prince of Peace
Subscriptions & Deadline & End of Year
The December 20 Windows will be the final issue of 2018. Publication will resume January 3, 2019. 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
Windows is a publication of First Presbyterian Church, Bristol, TN.


on First Presbyterian Church

December 13, 2018
Word from the Pastor
A few weeks ago, I wrote that I hated to wait. The Lord has a great sense of humor, and so I have been given my heart's desire. The silent pause right after Thanksgiving has vanished. Quiet has been replaced with bustle, and the quick series of deadlines before Christmas has woken me and the staff from turkey-induced naps. Now there is no time to wait; this week leaves no room for tarrying.
Part of me rejoices at the demands busy-ness brings. Yet that deeper part of myself, that part of me that is "more inward to me than my most inward part" (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III, ch. 6, par. 11), who speaks in voiceless stillness (1 Kings 19:12), whispers a challenge and a warning: "He is our help and shield." The warning is clear, I think. When we rely on our best-laid plans, we invite danger. As we recently learned, not everything is in our control. The weather, for goodness' sake, can do strange things that will derail our week's itinerary! If a few inches of snow can throw us off our game, then what hope do any of us have of "managing" the real crises that inevitably come in life?
The challenge is more obscure than the warning and appears only after we learn from the failures the warning suggested. The challenge is learning to take God's promises at face value. Over time and through enough "hard knocks," we inevitably learn to ask ourselves why we ever thought to lay aside the only real defense and hope we have for this life. By God's grace we are gripped, shielded, and defended by a God who never fails. "He is our help and shield" is another way of saying God is who God says God is. God alone is our help when we feel helpless and our shield when we feel defenseless.
And so here in our mid-December, pre-Christmas, got-to-get-it-done exhaustion, we pause to hear the warning and take up the challenge. We sit with the Psalmist at the beginning of verse twenty: "Our soul waits for the Lord." We wait because we acknowledge we have nowhere else to go, nor anyone else to whom we can turn. We affirm Peter's question and response: "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the word of eternal life" (John 6:68). We wait, even amidst busy-ness, watching and hoping for the only redemption worth having: the redemption of our plans, our hopes, our dreams, and our very bodies, as it ceaselessly draws nigh in Christ's coming.
We sit with our brothers and sisters like the Daniel family who mourns the loss of our brother Tom. Though our eyes are dim with tears, we wait, we watch, and we hope for that which Christ has promised. In Him, God is for us. In Him, God has promised. In Him, "neither death, nor life ... nor height, nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God" (Romans 8:38-39).
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Welcome a Guest Preacher at Sunday's Early Service
Sarah Prince
Please help us welcome a guest preacher all the way from South Africa to our 8:30 service this Sunday! The Reverend Sarah Prince is a missionary from Raleigh, NC, who teaches at the Ubuntu Football Academy in South Africa and uplifts women and families in the community of Ocean View through mentoring, Bible studies, and relationships. She will soon direct the Ubuntu High School for the Ubuntu Academy boys. Our own Abbey Welch knows Sarah and her family well through teaching at the academy this year. Sarah is married to Casey Prince, one of the founders of Ubuntu Football Academy. They have two children, Kieren (9) and Keller (6).
FPC's Weather Policy: Stay Safe
When you are preparing to attend worship or another event at FPC, please pause and look out your window. If you see roads covered in snow or glazed with ice, don't try to drive. When the weather is fickle or the roads tricky, we follow the lead of Bristol Tennessee City Schools. Please tune in to a local radio or television station to learn whether BTCS has announced a closing. When they close, we close. We make every effort to gather for worship on Sundays, even in severe weather, but we want everyone to stay safe.
Holiday Celebrations Continue
We have lovely gifts of worship planned for each service this Sunday. At 8:30 we will hear from the missionary Sarah Prince (see "Welcome a Guest Preacher at Sunday's Early Service," above). At 11:00 we will hear our annual service of lessons and carols (see "Music Notes," below). We warmly encourage you to join us for these and other holiday services and special occasions. Please note that several events take place off campus.
Sun., Dec. 16
Both services
8:30 a.m.
11:00 a.m.
5:00 p.m.
Joy Gift Offering
Guest Preacher
Lessons & Carols
H.S. Progressive Dinner
Fellowship Hall
Off Campus
Tue., Dec. 18
6:00 p.m.
Journey's End
Wed., Dec. 19
5:30 p.m.
Children's Christmas Play
Sun., Dec. 23
8:30 a.m.
11:00 a.m.
3:30 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
Bluegrass Service
Christmas Caroling
Night of Worship
Fellowship Hall
Off Campus
Fellowship Hall
Mon., Dec. 24
10:00 a.m.
7:00 p.m.
Cookie Delivery
Candlelight Communion
Fellowship Hall
Sunday's Joy Gift Aids Church Workers and Future Leaders
Each year during the Advent and Christmas season, we turn our eyes to Bethlehem and celebrate the wondrous gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior. We will honor this gift again this Sunday,  December 16, by collecting our own Christmas Joy Gift. Fifty percent of undesignated receipts to this offering will be distributed to the Board of Pensions for assistance programs that provide support to retired and active church workers and their spouses and families. The other 50% will support Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges through the Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Please be generous!
Year-End Planned Giving and FPC
Christmas is upon us, and amidst our long shopping and to-do lists, you may be planning your year-end benevolences. We thank you for your support of the church in 2018, and we want to encourage you to consider First Presbyterian of Bristol in any other year-end planned giving you hope to do. Every dollar you share with us goes to support the ministry and mission of your church. If you have a specific project in mind, like debt elimination, music, children or youth ministry, or some other element of our congregational witness, please specify that on the memo line of your check. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Christmas Benefit Sunday for BFIA

Robert Campbelle

Love Came Down, a Christmas celebration to benefit Bristol Faith in Action, will be held this Sunday, December 16, at 3:00 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church. Seasonal music by Bach, Handel, Rutter, Dawson, McCoy, and CPC Choir Director Robert Campbelle will be performed. The church is located at 301 Euclid Avenue in Bristol, VA. For more information, call 276-623-3050 or 276-669-3157.
Help Out-of-Towners Find Lodging Tuesday
We invite you to join the FPC folks already involved in Journey's End, an annual Christmas celebration in downtown Bristol, on Tuesday, December 18, at 6:00 p.m. Pastor Sam will give the opening prayer, then we will all walk with Mary and Joseph as they seek lodging in Bethlehem. Our inns are downtown businesses, and our innkeepers are local choirs and choral groups. We will begin our journey at the Downtown Center, 810 State Street, then process by candlelight as we sing traditional songs and carols, accompanied by instrumentalists.
Wear warm, comfortable clothing, bring baby strollers, if needed, and be ready to sing! We will provide candles and song books at the start, and refreshments at the end. If the weather is bad, the event will be cancelled, so please pray for good weather!
High School Progressive Dinner Sunday
Join us for a night of food, games, and Christmas fun this Sunday, December 16! We will meet at the church at 5:00 p.m. then travel to a different home for each course of the meal. We will return to the church around 9:00 p.m.
Please bring:
  • 1 $10 gift for the gift exchange
  • 5 stocking stuffers for volunteer stockings
Pull on your tackiest sweater, grab your friends, and prepare to party!
Wow, What a Gift!
One of the highlights of the holidays is coming up next week! On Wednesday, December 19, at 5:30 p.m. in the sanctuary, the children of the church will present their annual Christmas play, "Wow, What a Gift!" Light refreshments will be served after the performance. Performers, please note: costuming begins at 4:30!
Let's Go Caroling!
FPC goes a-caroling Sunday, December 23, and we hope you will join us! We will meet in the Fellowship Hall at 3:30 p.m. and go out to sing our way through the Fairmount neighborhood. Dress warmly and prepare to give and receive the spirit of the season!
Night of Worship and Music Dec. 23
In the hustle and bustle of Christmas, we invite you to pause for an hour, come to the Fellowship Hall, and renew yourself in a night of music led by Annie Osborne and Aidan Moore. They will provide a space on Sunday, December 23, at 7:00 p.m. where you can be still and rejoice in the hope we have in our Savior! Enjoy Christmas refreshments and allow your heart to be refreshed by the joy of this season. Child care will be available, so you can bring the whole family.
Off the Shelf, Elf!
Again this year, the elves among us will cheer the hearts of the folks in our community who work on our behalf on Christmas Eve, and it's all done through the magic of Christmas cookies. We invite each elf-on-the-church-shelf to bake a batch or two of your favorite Christmas cookies and bring them to the church. If necessary, you may leave your cookies in the kitchen before Christmas Eve. On Monday, December 24, we will meet in the Fellowship Hall at 10:00 a.m. to box assortments of cookies and take them to the firefighters, police officers, nurses, and others who must work on Christmas Eve. This is a very rewarding effort, and we encourage you to participate!
Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion
Please join us for our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion service of lessons and carols at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. Pastor Sam Weddington will bring the message, and the evening's special offering will go to the Minister's Discretionary Fund. Please join us Monday, December 24, for this beautiful worship experience. Bring the whole family; our nursery will be open!
Christmas Eve Offering Helps Those Near to Us
The Christmas Eve offering is specific to First Presbyterian Church and helps to fund the Minister's Discretionary Fund. This fund is used at the Pastor's discretion to assist members of our congregation and the Bristol community with rent, food, utilities, medical, or other emergency needs. When you give to this offering, you are helping people you may know or see as you go about your day. Please be generous!
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 from Eddie and Peggy Hill to the Mortgage Elimination Project in memory of Joy Huber, mother of George Huber; Jackie Leonard, mother of Robin North; and John Melkowski, brother-in-law of Margaret Roberts; and to the Minister's Discretionary Fund in memory of Don Moneyhun.
Music Notes
Service of Lessons & Carols: Our music Sunday is a traditional service of lessons and carols. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was first held on Christmas Eve 1918 at King's College in Cambridge, England. It was planned by Eric Milner-White, who had just been appointed Dean of King's after serving as an army chaplain in the First World War. That experience had convinced him that the Church of England needed more imaginative worship. A revision of the Order of Service was made in 1919, involving rearrangement of the lessons, and from that date the service has always begun with the hymn "Once in royal David's city."
Nearly every year, some carols are changed and others introduced, but the backbone of the service, the lessons and the prayers, has remained virtually unchanged. Almost immediately, other churches adapted the service for their own use. A wider fame began to grow when the service was first broadcast in 1928 and, except in 1930, it has been broadcast annually, even during the Second World War. Sometime in the early 1930s, the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programs. It is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide. In recent years, it has become customary to broadcast a digital recording on Christmas Day.
In these and other ways, the service has become public property. Wherever it is heard and however it is adapted, whether the music is provided by choir or congregation, the pattern and strength of the service, as Dean Milner-White pointed out, derive from the lessons and not the music. "The main theme is the development of the loving purposes of God [seen] through the windows and words of the Bible."
Organist's footnotes: "O Splendor of God's Glory Bright" is based on a Latin text attributed to a 4th-century bishop. It weaves various images of Christ as Light with light-based descriptions of each day's passing. This chantlike setting blends with 20th-century harmonies.
PICARDY is a hymn tune named for the province of France where it is thought to have originated. PICARDY was most famously arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1906 for the hymn "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" in The English Hymnal. The arrangement by Craig Phillips employs soft chords in the manuals and the tune in the pedals, creating mild rhythmic tension between groupings of two and three notes. Phillips (b. 1961) is a distinguished and popular American composer and organist and Director of Music at All Saints' Church, Beverly Hills.
Our closing congregational response, "Prepare the Way, O Zion," uses a 14th-century Swedish folk melody, BEREDEN VÄG FÖR HERRAN. American organist Paul O. Manz's (1919 -2009) chorale prelude based on this same tune is heard as the postlude.
Sunday's music participants: Pat Flannagan, Bob Greene, Sanctuary Choir, Sanctuary Handbell Choir.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers several members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Becky Busler
City of Pittsburgh & Temple of Life congregation & community
Ethiopia, especially our Christian brothers & sisters in Oromia State
FPC Search Committees
Ben & Patsy Frizzell
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Tom Greene (Bob's brother)
Ron Grubbs
Nancy King
Katie Kreuser (Tom & Leigh King's daughter)
Dot Mattison
Marty McCloud
Alice Moore & Family
Larry Mullins
Nick Niosi
Robin North & the Leonard Family
Osborne Family
Karen Pennington
Phyllis Phares (Mary Connor's mother)
Cheyenne Poteat
Don Preston
Virginia Rutherford
Sproles Family
Chuck Thompson
John Wizorek (Annette Tudor's father)
To the Church Triumphant
Thomas (Tom) Nance Daniel Jr.
December 9, 2018
Our love and sympathy are with George Huber and Frances Emerson in the death of George's sister Sheila Reed December 6 in Seattle.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Dec. 16       Hugh Testerman
Dec. 17       Harrison Gilley, Rosa Poteat
Dec. 18       Jane Gillikin Daniel, Braxton Foster, Macie Foster, Julie King
Dec. 19       Brady Arnold, Blaine Hunigan, Greg Jordan, Lynn Richards
Dec. 20       Trish Bane, Reese Peltier
Dec. 21       Emma Arnold, Jack Butterworth, Joanne Hatcher, Dottie Havlik
Dec. 22       Anna Comer
Church Calendar
Sunday, December 16
8:30 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
9:45 a.m.       Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Service of Lessons & Carols, Sanctuary
3:30 p.m.       Final Christmas Play Rehearsal, Sanctuary
5:00 p.m.       High School Progressive Dinner, Off Campus
Monday, December 17
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, Room 123
Tuesday, December 18
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
6:00 p.m.       Journey's End, Downtown Center
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, December 19
9:30 a.m.       Women's Bible Study, Room 117
5:30 p.m.       Children's Christmas Play, Sanctuary
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Practice, Room 212
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
7:15 p.m.       Worship Team, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, December 20
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
Our Church Officers
Church Officers
Class of 2018
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Aaron Brooks
Anna Booher
Nancy Allerton
Randy Cook
Lee Galliher
Rebecca Beck
Debbie McMillin
Pete Holler
David Hyde
Stuart Parker
Han Ong
Jordan Pennington
Chuck Thompson
Pete Stigers
Jerry Poteat
Class of 2018
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Adam Abel
Sujean Bradley
Blake Bassett
Nancy Butterworth
George Linke
Rhonda Comer
David Ginn
Greg Roberts
Brenda Lawson
Rett Stocstill
Nate Sproles
Barbara Thompson
Ann Woods
Bill Whisnant
Class of 2018
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Charles Webb
Nancy Cook
Peggy Hill