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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Bearing the Image
Ash Wednesday Worship
Lenten Devotional Available
Monday Morning Group Bible Study
Sermon Series: The Four 'R's' of Worship
Faith Basics
New Members' Class Begins March 1
Men's Breakfast Feb. 29
Children's Ministries Volunteer Spotlight
Fusion Fun and Spaghetti, Oh!
Noted Christian Environmentalist Speaks in Bristol
Suicide Intervention Training March 3-4
Cheerios for Fairmount
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
February 23
Transfiguration of the Lord
Exodus 24:12-18
Matthew 17:1-9
Bottling It Up
Dave Welch
True Anointed One
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 151; 11:00: 119

February 26
Ash Wednesday
Psalm 51:5-13
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

February 20, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Bearing the Image
Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food."  And it was so.  ( Genesis 1:26-30 NRSV )

Once again, our Monday morning Bible study group came through. Though we were discussing another topic, it was interesting to me that the subject of the imago Dei, or "image of God" came up. Before I dig into what I found interesting, let me say that the subject of the image of God is an enormous one, and at best all I can do in this reflection is scratch the surface.
I want to begin with questions for you, the reader: What does it mean to you that you are created in the image of God? That your spouse, your kids, or your neighbor are created in that image? Is that image your capacity to love? We can see examples of animals in the natural world that have the capacity for empathy, so I don't think we've landed on a definition here.
Is it your ability to reason? Most tend to land here. We are special because only we have the capacity for higher level intelligence. So, the reasoning goes, being made in the image of God must have something to do with intelligence, rationality, and creativity. But if this is true, then what about human beings that were born without higher order intelligence? What about an anencephalic child, or a child born without normal brain structures as a result of a neural tube defect during their development? Since they cannot reason, use language, etc., are they barred from participation in this image of God?
You see where I am going, don't you? The minute we try to neatly define the contours and limits of this gift, we immediately get into questions of who is in and who is out. History should serve as a warning against this path. Once we get into the business of defining what it means to be human, it is very easy to ignore the humanity of others. The sin of slavery, for example, was built upon such a foundation of lies.
Instead, I think it is better for us to pay attention to what the Bible actually says. The writer of Genesis 1 shares that our being made in this image isn't about a particular status or set of abilities found in individuals; instead, it is a collective status. Both male and female, together, bear that image. Together they are fully human, in cooperation and community with one another. Not only that, it is in being fruitful and multiplying, or, in other words, in fostering and sharing community with offspring and others, that they have God's image and exercise God's authority in the world. Bearing God's image can only be done in community!
Moreover, if you think about this passage within its context, this idea of bearing God's image means that we exercise sovereignty as God does (in a limited fashion, of course; we are not God but only bear God's image). In the ancient world, there was only one human being in a society given such an honor, and that was the king. In Egypt, for example, King Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV, father of King Tutankhamun, or King Tut) was born into a royal house that named him after a god because as pharaoh, he would someday be the embodiment of that god (Amun-Ra). When he turned to the worship of Aten, the name stuck, and his new name reflected his belief that he embodied Aten in the world and exercised Aten's power.
Yet the scriptural account turns this kind of thinking on its head. The gift of being bearers of the image of God, the gift of reigning and of caring for and cultivating the garden of the world is a task shared by all human beings, not just a ruler at the top of the social pyramid. As William Brown puts it in his wonderful book, The Seven Pillars of Creation, the concept of the image of God in Genesis 1 involves the humanization of all persons as royal persons who are made to share and reflect God's responsible rule with one another and care for the goodness of creation as much as God cared enough to form it.
In the end, this means that we are truly human when we exercise the responsibility to care for and love one another as God cares for and loves us. Is this not exactly the point Jesus preached to us so long ago? "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (John 13:34).
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Ash Wednesday Worship
On February 26 at 6:15 p.m. we will observe Ash Wednesday with the imposition of ashes. Before worship in the sanctuary, we will enjoy a convivial dinner in the Fellowship Hall at 5:30. Bring the whole family! The nursery will be open for both the meal and the service. The regular programs for children and teens will be suspended, so that they may participate in this worship experience.
In Lent our midweek study will focus on missionaries and ongoing mission projects. Please join us on Wednesdays for a fellowship meal followed by wonderful small group learning.
Lenten Devotional Available
Remember to pick up your copy of our Lenten devotional, Becoming a Beloved Community: A Matthew 25 journey to the cross, in the narthex or Fellowship Hallway. The devotions begin with Ash Wednesday, February 26. Please take only one copy per family.
Monday Morning Group Bible Study
Pastor Sam is leading a group Bible study on Monday mornings at 11:00 in Room 123. The format is Lectio Divina, which means that we seek God's guidance on the passage for that week. It is an open, devotional discussion, and we take the time to lift prayers to God. All are invited.
Sermon Series: The Four 'R's' of Worship
Lent is the ideal time to get down to basics. On Sunday, March 1, Pastor Sam will begin a monthlong sermon series on the meaning and purpose of Christian worship. He will talk about the "four R's": Remembrance, Reimaging, Renewal, and Revelation. Please come and worship with us during that time, as we learn what the Bible teaches us to look for when we gather to praise God's name.
Faith Basics
Pastor Sam will teach a "Christian basics" class beginning Sunday, March 1, at 10:10 a.m. in the chapel. Families with children currently in confirmation are encouraged to come. The class will help parents build an understanding of some of the things their kids are learning, and help them carry the lessons out of church and into their home.
Families with kids who aren't eligible for our typical confirmation course, and who want them to be baptized, are also encouraged to attend with their children. The class will give parents and kids a basic introduction to central articles of faith to prepare them for baptism.
Class schedule:
  • March 1: What is faith? (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit)
  • March 8: What is "being a Christian"?
  • March 15: What is the Bible?
  • March 22: No class (BTCS spring break)
  • March 29: Mentor meetup/Q&A
  • April 5: The sacrament
New Members' Class Begins March 1
Just in time for Lent! Dave Welch will lead a New Members' Class beginning Sunday, March 1. The class will meet in room 125 (off the Fellowship Hallway) at 10:10 for six weeks. We'll learn more about the Presbyterian Church in general and FPC in particular. We'll talk about church history, worship traditions, service and fellowship opportunities, what and why we believe, and where new members might fit in. For more information, contact Dave at
Men's Breakfast Feb. 29
We are happy to announce that we will host a men's breakfast in the Fellowship Hall on Saturday, February 29, at 8:00 a.m. The purpose of the breakfast is to gather men together for fellowship, great food, prayer, and conversation about what else we can do to grow in Christian fellowship. Please come, and bring a friend. Breakfast is free. If you are interested, let us know, so that we can get a preliminary head count. Call the church office or email Elder Bruce Gannaway at
Children's Ministries Volunteer Spotlight
If your children attend the 11:00 service, then they know this week's volunteers very well. Every week Clathon Henfield, Sammy Weddington, and Youngji Weddington assist with the children during worship. They are great helpers, and so loved by the kids. We adults love them too and thank them most heartily for their service! / Lilly Osborne
Fusion Fun and Spaghetti, Oh!
Our Fusion kids had a great time at John and Karen Vann's house last week! We enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner, a fun ping-pong tournament, and board games. What a blessing to have such great leaders for these kids! / Lilly Osborne

Noted Christian Environmentalist Speaks in Bristol
Fred Van Dyke
A leading Christian environmental conservationist, Fred Van Dyke, will be the guest speaker at a public event to coordinate environmental awareness, "For the Beauty of the Earth: Faith and Environmental Stewardship." The second local forum to coordinate environmental awareness, it is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 2, in the King University student center boardroom.
Van Dyke has written extensively on the biblical basis for environmental stewardship and on the role of the church in conservation and ecological restoration. His textbook on conservation biology is used internationally, and his research has been published in numerous scientific journals and books. He is Executive Director of the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, which is dedicated to conservation education research, community building, and engagement of the church in the work of conservation.
Suicide Intervention Training March 3-4
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, a two-day interactive program in suicide first aid, will be held in Bristol March 3 -4, from 8:00 to 5:00 each day, at a location to be determined. The training is designed to teach hands-on skills for intervening in a suicidal crisis. Participants will learn how to prevent suicide by recognizing the signs, providing skilled intervention, and developing a safety plan for keeping someone alive.
Seating is limited, and the cost is $25 per person. For more information or to register, contact Bristol Crisis Center at 276-466-2218 or The 24/7 hotline is 276-466-2312, and all services are free and confidential. Learn more at
Cheerios for Fairmount
We are collecting boxes of  Multi-Grain Cheerios for Fairmount Elementary students. About 80% of the children get help with lunch, but their families can't buy snacks to help them through the day. That's where we come in. Please bring your donations to the Little Red House in the Fellowship Hallway to give our young friends at Fairmount a boost on long winter days. Thank you!
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 the following gifts:
In memory of:
Betty Barger: to the Memorial Fund from Julia K. Smith
Betty Jo Cox (Barbara Daniel's sister): to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Linda Darnell
In honor of:
Sam Weddington: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Frances Emerson & George Huber
Dave Welch: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Frances Emerson & George Huber
Music Notes
David Ashley White
Sunday's music: Our anthem this week is "True Anointed One" by David Ashley White, an American composer celebrated for his contribution to both sacred and secular music. He has many hymns in Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian hymnals. He has had numerous works commissioned by recognized groups including St. Paul's Choir of Houston, Maryland State Boychoir, and the University of Houston's Moores School Concert Chorale. He holds degrees from the University of Houston and University of Texas at Austin and has been on faculty of the Moores School of Music since 1977.
"True Anointed One" was commissioned for the 1987 Mid-Winter Conference, Region VII, of the Association of Anglican Musicians. The lyrics (by Carl P. Daw Jr.) reflect on the nature of Jesus as servant, yet also Messiah. The work is mostly in triple meter and also frequently uses a compositional technique called hemiola, which augments the beat pattern by tying over the bar line.
Organist's footnotes: For Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday, I have decided to focus all three organ pieces on the same Transfiguration Day hymn, "O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair" (no. 189 in our hymnal). In particular, I am focusing on its tune, DEO GRACIAS, which was originally titled "The Agincourt Hymn," attributed to John Dunstable and written in celebration of the victory of Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt on St. Crispin's Day, October 25, 1415.
The prelude arrangement is by Frederick L. Swann (b. 1931), a church and concert organist, recording artist, choral conductor, and former president of the American Guild of Organists. He is Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral and the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Swann lives in Palm Desert, California, where he was Artist-in-Residence at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church as well as University Organist and Organ Professor at the University of Redlands before retiring in 2018.
Mark Sedio
The offertory arrangement is by Mark Sedio (b. 1954), Cantor at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, where he is also organist, choirmaster, resident composer, worship planner, and educator. He has taught at Augsburg University and Luther Seminary, which granted him the title of Musician Emeritus in 2008. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education with choral and organ music concentrations in 1976. In 1979 he received a Master of Arts degree in choral conducting and literature from the University of Iowa.
The postlude arrangement is by Aaron David Miller (b. 1972), a renowned concert organist and composer working as Director of Music and Organist at House of Hope, St. Paul.
Sanctuary Handbell Choir: The handbells will ring "What Wondrous Love Is This," arranged by Arnold B. Sherman, as the prelude for the Ash Wednesday service. We will have a run-through from 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. February 26 in the sanctuary. And of course, we always want more hands to the bells! We practice from 6:15 to 7:15 on most Wednesday evenings in room 212 upstairs and play for the late service about once a month. Please contact Bob Greene at or 276-696-9091 to join us, or just come to a Wednesday practice!
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Sujean Bradley
Craig Buchanan
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Jennifer Chang & family
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Kim Counts
Raymond Dickenson
Dorothy Dollar
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
Ron Grubbs
Lou Hebb
Vivian Hill
Luke Jenkins
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Peggy King
Dan Kreiss
Nancy Lilly
Drew Long
Sergio Lopez
Dot Mattison
Kelly Mayden & family
Roger McCracken
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Meg Rice & mother
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Joan Sams
Grayson Smith & family
Alex Snead's family
Katie Sword
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Ying Kang Wei
Nancy Whitesides
Vicky Wood
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Feb. 23     Jean Addison, Beatrice Story
Feb. 24     Sara Reuning, Chris Shaw
Feb. 25     John Connor, Bart McMillin
Feb. 26     Amy McCracken
Feb. 27     Lee North, Jan Patrick, Chris Phipps, Colt Stocstill
Feb. 28     Aidan Haaser
Church Calendar
Sunday, February 23
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
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship
Monday, February 24
11:00 a.m.     Group Bible Study, Room 123
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, Room 123
Tuesday, February 25
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, February 26
ash wed cross 9:30 a.m.       Women's Bible Study, Room 117
5:00 p.m.       Baby & Toddler Care, Rooms 34 - 37
5:30 p.m.       Fellowship Dinner, Fellowship Hall
6:15 p.m.       Ash Wednesday Worship, Sanctuary
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
Thursday, February 27
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
Saturday, February 29
8:00 a.m.        Men's Breakfast, Fellowship Hall
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