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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Worship
Lenten Devotional Available
The Four 'R's' of Worship
Basics of Christian Faith
New Members' Class Begins Sunday
Monday Morning Group Bible Study
Bishop Kibobi Here Wednesday Night
Men's Breakfast This Saturday
Women's Retreat Fosters Connection
Children's Volunteer Spotlight on Elizabeth Patrick
Parents' Night Out March 6
Presbytery Meeting, Sharrett Ordination Here March 7
BFIA Needs Commodities & Volunteers
"For the Beauty of the Earth" Features Christian Environmentalist
Highlands Fellowship Hosts Suicide Intervention Training
Fairmount Students Need Their Teddy
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
March 1
1st Sunday in Lent
Exodus 20:8-11
Ephesians 2:11-13
Sam Weddington
God Be in My Head
Last Sunday: 9:00: 102; 11:00: 106
Women's Retreat: 30
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 27, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Worship
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise. Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you. All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name."
Psalm 66:1-4 NRSV
This Sunday we will begin a monthlong series of sermons on worship. I have titled the series, "The R's of Worship," and I plan on exploring themes of remembrance, reimaging, renewal, and revelation. I hope that we will learn much from this series, but in the end, it's just that: a series, shots in the dark that try to give definition to a massive idea that demands a lifetime to explore.
In Psalm 66, the Psalmist attempts to call all of us into the worship of God, and as you read it, you get an idea of how overwhelming the topic is. Worship involves a joyful noise. Though I'm sure ancient Israelites didn't have pulpit preaching like us modern Presbyterians, part of that joyful noise certainly includes all the things we want to say about God, both joyful and noisy. Not only that, worship involves "all the earth." In a way, even the created order is invited to partake, in its own unique way, in "speech" about God.
Worship involves singing, but not of a typical variety. Our songs are centered on the glory of God's name, and they are to elicit our praise of the One who gives us life. Worship also involves speaking directly to God, declaring our thanks and praise of what God has done for us.
The worship the Psalmist envisions also involves our memory, bringing to mind the things God has done for us. That process also elicits fear and trembling at the feet of the One before whom his enemies tremble.
Worship, singing, and praise, all of it done by the handiwork that reflects on its creator. Once again, I submit to you that worship, when rightly seen, involves all of who we are, and all that is. To that end, the minute we try to pin down worship as "right" or "proper" because it looks, sounds, or functions in a particular way, we limit the expansive definition the Psalmist gives us. I think this is worth pondering in a church culture still undergoing the ravages of "worship wars."
I do think there is one thing we can say about worship that is truly universal and fixed in every facet of what the Psalmist describes in Psalm 66. Worship is ultimately directed towards God. It is about God. The minute our worship is directed anywhere other than towards God, it misses the mark. We are to be about the business of singing and declaring praises to God's name alone.
I invite you to reflect on this during the week, as we prepare ourselves to ask the question of what we are doing in, and what we mean by, worship.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
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. Please take only one copy per family.
The Four 'R's' of Worship
Pastor Sam's monthlong sermon series on the meaning and purpose of Christian worship begins this Sunday, March 1. He will talk about the "four R's": Remembrance, Reimaging, Renewal, and Revelation. Please come and worship with us in Lent as we learn what the Bible teaches us to look for when we gather to praise God's name.
Basics of Christian Faith
"Christian Basics" is the subject of a class that begins this Sunday, March 1, at 10:10 a.m. in the chapel. It will be led by Pastor Sam, who encourages parents with children in our confirmation course to attend. The class will help them build an understanding of what their kids are learning and help them carry the lessons out of church and into their home.
Families with children ineligible for our typical confirmation course, and who want them to be baptized, are also encouraged to attend, along 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 Sunday
A New Members' Class taught by Dave Welch begins this Sunday, March 1. The course will unfold over six weeks at 10:10 in room 125 (off the Fellowship Hallway). We'll learn more about the Presbyterian Church in general and our church 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
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.
Bishop Kibobi Here Wednesday Night
Our midweek Adult Enrichment programs in Lent will focus on missionaries and ongoing mission projects. Please join us on Wednesdays for a fellowship supper at 5:30 followed by wonderful small group learning at 6:15. Activities for children and youth begin at 6:00.
On March 4, Bishop Jeremiah Kibobi will visit us from Kenya to share about Visions of Glory, a nondenominational church that aims to contribute to people's spiritual, social, and economic life by loving, caring, and building them into what God intended them to be.
Men's Breakfast This Saturday
The men of the church are invited to breakfast in the Fellowship Hall this 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
Women's Retreat Fosters Connection
Our annual women's retreat in Blowing Rock, February 21-23, was a lovely weekend of learning, connecting, and renewal. Led by our guest speaker, Jessica Stollings, we explored intergenerational connectedness. This retreat encouraged us to use our voices, stories, and wisdom to help us grow together and become more intentional in sharing life with all the women in our church and the church at large. See the wonderful photos by Linda Welch! / Audrey Arndt

Children's Volunteer Spotlight on Elizabeth Patrick
Elizabeth Patrick leads a class.
Elizabeth Patrick is an ordained Presbyterian pastor who has preached in our pulpit many times, but these days she spends most of her church volunteer time in our children's wing. Recognizing the importance of consistency and relationship-building with kids growing in the faith, she is very faithful to the Pre-K/Kindergarten Sunday morning class.
Elizabeth loves teaching kids' Sunday School. Here is just some of what she has to say about the experience:
I am reminded every week of the most important aspects of our faith: that Jesus loves us beyond all measure, that we are called to love and serve the Lord and others around us. I also learn and am reminded of other Bible lessons that apply to my adult life as much as they do the 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds in my class. For example, we recently studied David and Goliath, and it was a great reminder to my grown-up mind and heart that the way to face giant problems is not with our strength and worldly wisdom (and weapons) but with confidence in God's presence with us and power in us!
I get to be creative and playful. I am reminded that praising the Lord is fun. I get lots of hugs.
I am reminded of the important truth that stopping to listen to each other (perhaps especially to those who seem little and unimportant) is really big and important.
When asked what she would say to others thinking about taking on a new volunteer role at the church, Elizabeth said, "Most of us feel busy, stretched thin. I was reminded at the women's retreat this weekend of the need to ask myself whether the way I'm spending my time matches up with the legacy I hope to leave. If I list what's most important to me, does my to-do list look like that's what's most important to me?"
Teaching our children is clearly very important to Elizabeth, and we thank her for all she brings to it! / Lilly Osborne
Parents' Night Out March 6
The Children's Ministries will hold a Parents' Night Out from 6:00 to 8:30 on Friday, March 6, in the Education Wing. This event is for newborns through sixth graders. Please let Lilly Osborne know the number and ages of the children you will bring so that she can provide dinner and materials for all of them. To sign up, email Lilly at, call or text her at 423-383-5476, or use the Children's Ministries Facebook page.
Presbytery Meeting, Sharrett Ordination Here March 7
Our church will host the next stated meeting of Holston Presbytery on the morning of Saturday, March 7. Beginning at 8:30, delegates will arrive, sign in, and enjoy a short fellowship. The meeting proper will begin at 9:00. At the conclusion of business around 10:15, we will transition into a worship service wherein the presbytery will ordain Lawrence Sharrett as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the PCUSA to a Validated Ministry working with Encylical. We are so delighted to be hosting this event at our church, and we invite you to join us for the service of ordination and the luncheon to follow.
BFIA Needs Commodities and Volunteers
Bristol Faith In Action is experiencing a high demand for many commodities, especially for toilet paper, dish soap, body soap, cleaners and disinfectants, toothpaste, shampoo, and nonperishable food items. Donations can be placed in the grocery cart in the Fellowship Hallway or dropped off at BFIA. BFIA is also seeking volunteer receptionists and appointment bookers.
For the Beauty of the Earth Features Christian Environmentalist
Fred Van Dyke, who has written extensively on the biblical basis for environmental stewardship and on the role of the church in conservation and ecological restoration, will be the guest speaker at a public event to coordinate environmental awareness. For the Beauty of the Earth: Faith and Environmental Stewardship is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 2, in the King University student center boardroom.
Highlands Fellowship Hosts Suicide Intervention Training
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, a face-to-face workshop, will be held from 8:00 to 5:00 on March 3 and 4 at Highlands Fellowship, 134 Commerce Court, Bristol, VA. The training teaches 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. Local resources will be provided and their availability in the community discussed. Participants must be present from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days of the training to earn a certificate of completion. Lunch will be provided, but participants may bring their own meal. The cost is $25 per person.
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
Fairmount Students Need Their Teddy
Our snack-collecting focus for Fairmount Elementary students in March turns to Teddy Grahams. 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 of Teddy Grahams to the Little Red House in the Fellowship Hallway to give our young friends at Fairmount a boost. 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:
Jim Mayden: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Tom & Leigh King; to the Technology Fund from Ann Abel, from Chastity & John Kessler, from Tamara Musgrave, from Travis Pridemore, from Richmond (MO) High School Class of 1962, from Chet & Katy Sikorski, from Simply Nails
Herb Van Nostrand: to Boy Scout Troop 3 from Tom & Leigh King
Music Notes
John Rutter
Sunday's music: Our anthem this week is "God Be in My Head" by John Rutter (b. 1945). Rutter is among the most recognizable living choral composers today. His compositions are ubiquitous in church and school choral libraries throughout the world. He was educated at Clare College, Cambridge, where from 1975 to 1979 he served as Director of Music. In 1981 he founded the Cambridge Singers, which has produced numerous recordings of classical choral music at the highest level. His most performed works are "Gloria," "For the Beauty of the Earth," and "Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind."
"God Be in My Head" is a short, simple piece that Rutter composed early in his career. It shows a budding talent for melody and traditional part-writing in a more modern harmonic landscape.
Organist's footnotes: The French composer Félix-Alexandre Guilmant
Félix-Alexandre Guilmant
(1837-1911) was the organist of La Trinité from 1871 until 1901. A noted pedagogue, performer, and improviser, Guilmant helped found the Schola Cantorum de Paris. He was appointed Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatoire in 1896.
I will play the three movements of the Third Sonata in order, the first as the prelude, the second at communion, and the third as the postlude. The first movement opens with a strong C-minor chord, and the listener immediately knows he is hearing a piece on a grand scale (although each individual movement is not long). Guilmant's music is as satisfying for the listener as it is for the performer. It sets the right tone for ushering in in the liturgical season of Lent.
Join the handbell choir: We are always looking for more hands for the bells! We practice from 6:15 to 7:15 on most Wednesday evenings in room 212 upstairs, and we play for the late service about once a month. It isn't hard and it's a lot of fun! 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.
Dr. Boggs's family
Sujean Bradley
Craig Buchanan
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Jennifer Chang & family
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Helen Davidson's family
Raymond Dickenson
Dorothy Dollar
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
Ron Grubbs
Lou Hebb
Vivian Hill
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Peggy King
Nancy Lilly
Drew Long
Sergio Lopez
Dot Mattison
Kelly Mayden & family
Roger McCracken
Dolores Middlestead's family
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
Evan Patrick
Meg Rice & mother
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Joan Sams
John Scott
Grayson Smith & family
Alex Snead's family
Katie Sword
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Vicky Wood
Our love and sympathy are with Rhonda, Mark, and Anna Comer in the death of Rhonda's aunt, Helen Terry Davidson, February 23 in Abingdon.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
March 1        Christian Bolick. Jack Hyder
March 3        Steve Longnecker
March 4        Brandi McGill, Brandi Smith
March 6        Nathaniel Sproles, Elise Taylor
March 7        Abby Welch
Church Calendar
Sunday, March 1
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
12:00 p.m.     Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship, Fellowship Hall
Monday, March 2
11:00 a.m.     Group Bible Study, Room 123
6:30 p.m.       Board of Deacons, Rooms 117 & 123
Tuesday, March 3
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, March 4
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
6:00 p.m.       Wednesday Night Kids
6:00 p.m.       Middle School Gathering
6:00 p.m.       High School Small Groups
6:15 p.m.       Adult Enrichment
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Choir, Room 212
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
Thursday, March 5
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
5:30 p.m.       Stewardship Comm., Room 123
Friday, March 6
6:00 p.m.       Parents' Night Out, Education Wing
Saturday, March 7
9:00 a.m.       Presbytery Meeting, Fellowship Hall
10:15 a.m.     Ordination of Larry Sharrett, Sanctuary
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