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

In This Issue
Newsletter Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Battlegrounds
Blessed, and Up to the Challenges of Stewardship
Hear Our Ap-peal
Wednesday Fellowship on Break Next Week
Register by Feb. 15 for Women's Retreat
Five Cents a Meal Offering Feb. 17
Chili Cook-Off and Talent Show Makes a Comeback
Pretzels for Fairmount School
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
February 10
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scout Sunday
2 Timothy 2:1-13
Revelation 3:14-22
In the Trenches
Sam Weddington
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Let Us with a Gladsome Mind
Last Sunday's Attendance
8:30: 114; 11:00: 133
Newsletter 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 7, 2019
Word from the Pastor: Battlegrounds
This month, I have preached, and will continue to, on the topic of "Spiritual Warfare," using the book of Revelation. Today, I want to discuss the war's greatest battleground: our hearts.
It is so easy, tempting, really, to talk about our spiritual travails and battle with evil in grand terms. Sometimes we point to a minor catastrophe in our lives as an example of the enemy waging war against us or, in the case of occasional fits of road rage, against our sanity. We can resort to easy talk about how we feel that faith or, in particular, the Christian faith is under constant assault. In response, we declare war against those waging wars against us: a war against Christmas, a war against decency, or the like. Pick your war, and I'm sure a well-meaning brother or sister in Christ is waging a counteroffensive.
While these "wars" easily grab attention and raise our blood pressure, what about the greater battleground of our hearts? What about our unforgiving hearts? What about the battle within us as the evil one assaults us with the poisonous lie that God hasn't forgiven us? God doesn't love us? God doesn't love them? What about the battleground of the street separating you from a neighbor who offends, and against whom you whisper secret curses? What about the lie that we reside beyond the reach of grace? That our neighbor is beyond redemption?
Is this not the greater battleground? John seems to think so: "All who hate a brother or sister are murderers" (1 John 3:15). True, the world is awash in battlegrounds soaked in the blood of innocent and guilty alike. However, those battlegrounds originated long before particular flashpoints. John points to the fact that the spark of the war stems from love-starved hearts.
If we are going to fight that battle faithfully, then there is one weapon alone that we are authorized to yield: constant, enduring, unending love. Love whose source is God's life in us through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Love that has and is and will continue to cover our multitude of sins. Love as the virtue of forgiveness because He first loved us.
But to get there, we must first hear the truth about ourselves, our neighbor, and our shared past. As Jesus tells us, "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Truth is always the necessary condition, because love isn't magic or the power of pretend. Instead, love's covering transforms the past and makes forgiveness possible. In a way, love becomes the lens wherein we see the truth about ourselves, our neighbor, and our shared past in a new light, tinted now with compassion and mercy. Love becomes the key to unlock the shackles that bind our hearts.
Jean Calvin put it this way: "You see that our righteousness is not in us but in Christ, that we possess it only because we are partakers in Christ ... We ... hide under the precious purity of our first-born brother, Christ, so that we may be attested righteous in God's sight ... for in order that we may appear before God's face unto salvation we must smell sweetly with his odor, and our vices must be covered and buried by his perfection" ( Institutes of the Christian Faith, Book III, Chapter XII, s. 23). Translation: We are not loved, forgiven, or embraced by God because of our own goodness but only by being covered over, bound up with, and identified with Jesus Christ. As Jesus covers our multitude of sins in His perfect love, God looks at each and every one of us and sees His beloved Son. The same goes for your neighbor. In the age to come, so shall it be with our broken past.
You want to fight the enemy? You wish to engage in the struggle? Love is your only weapon. Christ alone makes your weapon effective. The battleground is your heart, especially as it comes in contact with others in the world. Forgiveness and reconciliation are the eventual end. Welcome to the fight.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Blessed, and Up to the Challenges of Stewardship
The Stewardship Committee shared the following message with the congregation January 27.
Let us begin by restating our vision verse for stewardship from 1 Peter 4:10. "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
The New Year has begun. From the excitement and activity in our congregation, we can already see that it is a year of engagement. Blessings abound. Pastor Sam has been installed as our head pastor. Dave Welch and the rest of the staff are fully involved in the day-to-day life and transactions of the church. The 2019 operational budget is fully funded. We are richly blessed, and you know what that means, of course. Luke 12:48 reminds us that "to whom much is given, much will be required."
What does that mean for us? We are at a time in our church life when we are faced with significant challenges, and God has entrusted to us much in the way of funding, talented people, and sufficient time. God expects much from us. He has a plan for us, and he has provided the resources needed to successfully complete each and every task. It is up to us to be good stewards of these gifts and use them to His glory, for since our God is with us, what or who can stand against us?
One example of the challenges we are facing is the need to develop and implement a comprehensive security plan. The discussion around the details of the plan may seem like a distraction from our worship activities. However, addressing these needs and providing a safe worship environment minimizes the worries over safety and security so that our focus on worship can become even more meaningful.
Likewise, we need to address other challenges before us this year, such as provisional necessities in our community, outstanding mortgage debt, audio and video improvements in the sanctuary and elsewhere, and upgrading other technologies across the board. As each of these challenges is tackled in a manner that glorifies God, the distracting burden of that task is removed and the worship experience is enhanced both within the walls of this building and in the greater community. We worship in here with prayer, song, and the Word. Out there, we worship through service and our witness.
We thank God that much has been entrusted to us, and look forward to each of us using whatever gift we have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms./ Jerry Poteat
Hear Our Ap-peal
Hear our call ring out: the Sanctuary Handbell Choir needs you! We are making a New Year's "ap-peal" for more ringers. We have the bells, plenty of them! We just need people to ring them. We practice every Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. in room 212 and play occasionally on Sunday mornings. Please email Bob Greene at or call him at 423-341-0378.
Wednesday Fellowship on Break Next Week
The Bristol Tennessee City Schools will be on winter break next week, and so will our Wednesday night fellowship programs. Singers and ringers will meet to practice at their regular times, but we will have no fellowship dinner or educational activities February 13. We will meet again February 20 to continue our series  Race, Culture, and Reconciliation.
Register by Feb. 15 for Women's Retreat
Register by next Friday, February 15, for our February 22 -24 Women's Retreat at Blowing Rock Conference Center. We are looking forward to a weekend of reflection, group discussion, worship, and communion in the mountains of North Carolina. We will have free time on Saturday afternoon for fellowship, hiking, sightseeing, shopping, or rest.
We are all looking forward to hearing our guest speaker, the Reverend Grace Kim, who has titled her talk, "Just As I Am." Our own Grace is an ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is a graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, has served congregations in New Jersey, and now serves three small rural churches in Virginia. She and her family lived in Korea for three years before returning to the US.
Fees include four meals, coffee, hot tea, and two nights in hotel-style lodging. Occupancy rates are single, $228; double, $158; triple, $138. If you need a more accessible or ground-floor room, let us know. If you need a partial scholarship, please ask the church office for a form. A $25 deposit is also due with your registration form on February 15. For more information about the conference center, visit
Five Cents a Meal Offering Feb. 17
We will collect our quarterly Five Cents a Meal offering next Sunday, February 17, at both services. The suggested offering is $13.65 per person, or about a nickel for each meal you eat in a three-month period. Your contribution will provide hunger relief through both local and global ministries. Last year our Five Cents a Meal offerings enabled FPC to help feed the hungry in Bristol through Haven of Rest and Bristol Emergency Food Pantry, and in Ethiopia and Brazil through our missions in those countries. Please be generous!
Chili Cook-Off and Talent Show Makes a Comeback
We are excited to announce that we're bringing back our chili cook-off and talent show this year! We'll hold this event as before in the Fellowship Hall Sunday, March 3. Start thinking about the taste and talent you want to share, and we'll provide further details in the near future.
Pretzels for Fairmount School
We are collecting pretzels as winter snacks for the children of Fairmount Elementary School. We need small pretzels or pretzel sticks, which teachers can easily arrange into individual servings. Please bring your donated pretzels to the Little Red House in the Fellowship Hallway to perk up Fairmount students when their energy begins to wane. 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 gifts in memory of the following individuals:
Tom Daniel: to the Capital Campaign Fund from Fred & Heidi Harkleroad, from Julie King, from Tom & Leigh King, and from Peggy Nicar
Pat Hunigan: to the Capital Campaign Fund from Tom & Leigh King; to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Betty Barger & Linda Barger, from Lowell & Marsha Collier, from Julie King, from Gene & Kathy Kistner, from Ernie & Karen Pennington, and from an anonymous donor
Don Moneyhun: to the Memorial Fund from David & Melinda Akard
Music Notes
Sunday's early service songs: You can hear the songs we'll sing in the 8:30 service here and here.
Sunday's late service music participants: Nicholas Meredith, Pat Flannagan, Bob Greene, Sanctuary Choir.
Alan Ridout
Sunday's late service music: The anthem, "Let Us with a Gladsome Mind," is a metrical version of Psalm 136. John Milton (1608-1674) wrote it, and in 1967 Alan Ridout (1934-1996) composed our setting. Ridout was a British composer who studied at the Royal College of Music with Herbert Howells, Gordon Jacob, and Michael Tippett. He later returned to the RCM as a teacher. Ridout lived most of his life in Cambridge and composed music of all types, especially orchestral.
Organist's footnotes: On this Scout Sunday, we welcome a member of our local troop, Nicholas Meredith, to the organ bench. Nick will play our prelude and offertory. He passed an audition last summer to become a Young Organist Collaborative student, receiving a year of organ lessons free of charge. In addition to his organ lessons with Bob Greene, Nick studies piano with Ann Holler and sings in the Highlands Youth Ensemble. He is involved in the music ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City, singing in the choir and playing keyboard for the contemporary service. He is working towards his Eagle Scout badge by moving and cataloguing the choral library of the Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy (MECCA).
Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726) was an Italian Baroque composer who worked and died in Córdoba, in the Spanish Empire's Viceroyalty of Peru (now in Argentina). He became a Jesuit in order to work in the Reductions of Paraguay, where he taught music among the Guaraní people. He is remembered as the most accomplished musician among Jesuit missionaries.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers several members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Mendy Bechtold
Todd, Danielle & Emma Noel Booher
Becky Busler
Don & JoLynn Evans
FPC Search Committees
Ben & Patsy Frizzell
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Dianne Glymph (Mary Ellis Rice's mother)
John Graham
Ron Grubbs
Will Hankins
Eva Dot Hawk
Hunigan family
Jonya Kennedy
Nancy King
Dot Mattison
Bob Millard
Beth Neal
Nick Niosi
Osborne family
Eric Page (Laura Linke's uncle)
Pastor Sam's mother
Pendley family
Don Preston
Tony Raccioppo
Anne Raven
Virginia Rutherford
Sikorski family
Jeremy Spencer
Stigers family
Chuck Thompson
Jeremy Weaver
John Wizorek (Annette Tudor's father)
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Feb. 10     Joseph Ong, Lensey Richardson, Margaret Roberts
Feb. 12     Johnny Dabbs, Marjorie Harr
Feb. 13     Barbara Thomas
Feb. 14     Kathryn Parker, Sharon Ratliff
Feb. 15     JoLynn Evans, Brenda Foster, Chad McCracken, Cindy Ratcliff, Amy Williams
Feb. 16     Matt Williams
Church Calendar
Sunday, February 10
8:30 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
9:45 a.m.       Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
2:00 p.m.       Finance Comm., Room 117
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship, Youth Wing
Monday, February 11
7:00 p.m.       Building & Grounds Comm., Room 117
7:00 p.m.       Worship Comm., Room 123
Tuesday, February 12
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
6:00 p.m.       Venture Crew 3, Room 165
6:30 p.m.       MEF, Room 123
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing & Chapel
Wednesday, February 13
9:30 a.m.       Women's Bible Study, Room 117
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, February 14
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
5:00 p.m.       Human Resources Comm., Room 117
7:00 p.m.       Scout Order of the Arrow, Scout Hall
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