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

In This Issue
Newsletter Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Love
Officer Election Sunday, Training Saturday
Dedicating Oliver
Lenten Study Plan for Sunday
Pastor Sam Goes to Pittsburgh
New Measures for Church Security
A Grandfather's Mission in China
Volunteers Reach Out to Share Christ
Registration for Women's Retreat Begins Jan. 27
Shannan Miller Performs Saturday, Releases CD
Learn about Jobs for Life
Pretzels for Fairmount School
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
January 20
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 11:11-16
Matthew 2:19-23
A Way Through
Sam Weddington
Isaiah the Prophet
Lord, Bid Your Servant Go in Peace
Once to Every Man and Nation
Last Sunday's Attendance: 8:30: 132; 11:00: 139
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

January 17, 2019
Word from the Pastor: Love
In an essay titled "Enhancement Technologies and Identity Ethics," Dr. Carl Elliott reflects on the impacts technology has on us, given our obsession with identity, self-fulfillment, and "finding" ourselves. Since we desire happiness above all else, how will we use technology to change our bodies to achieve our vision of a happy life? There are good examples of using technology to bring happiness and wholeness to human life. Take, for example, a disabled person who has lost the use of an arm or a leg. Modern technology might allow us to replace the disabled limb with a robotic one, or to repair the damage so the person can regain use of the limb.
There are also a myriad of bad examples, as in the example of "amputee wannabes," people who pursue amputation of a healthy limb. In such cases, these folks describe their otherwise healthy limb as a "wrongness" or "not a part of who I am." Though I am no licensed psychologist or psychotherapist, I think we can see the problem (incidentally, courts in the UK facing such cases also see the problem). Sometimes, mental illness distorts our vision of what constitutes a "good" life. While we might want to deny it, constraints are part of the fabric of existence itself. I would love to be able to leap tall buildings, but I'll never be able to do it while residing on earth.
Insidiously, however, and on a much deeper level, the modern conviction that our lives are projects to be managed, and that we, heroically and alone, shape our destinies warps our conceptions of self-fulfillment and identity. The mantra most of us have lived and shaped our lives by is that we are in charge, that we have the final say. Thus, we must be very careful to make the "right" kinds of choices to achieve the "right" kind of life: the right grades, the right test scores, the right schools, the right jobs, the right amount in our bank account, and the list goes on. Under these conditions, technological enhancements create a moral minefield we are still trying to sort out. For example, why shouldn't professional baseball players be allowed to take anabolic steroids? Who gets to decide? When must their desire for personal and professional fulfillment take a back seat to communal concerns like fairness?
Given the challenges technology poses in light of our modern sensibilities, Elliott cuts through the confusion with a sobering inquiry: "If my life is a project, what exactly is the purpose of the project? How do I tell a successful project from a failure?" Elliott is skeptical that technology and culture will ever allow us to successfully answer those questions. In fact, he warns the reader: "Once self-fulfillment is hitched to the success of a human life, it comes perilously close to an obligation-not an obligation to God, country or family, but an obligation to the self." From there, the train of our lives leaves the station with no destination in sight but only the conviction that we need to get there in a hurry. This might explain our collective exhaustion because we chase illusions of ourselves.
As Christians, however, we possess fundamental convictions that guide us through the fog and towards the happiness for which we yearn. Our core convictions are that we are creatures, and God alone is creator. We are dependent, God is independent. We belong to God, and in Christ, God has become our own. God is sovereign, we are not. To St. Paul's point in Ephesians, "we are what he has made us." What God has made us for is to glorify God and to share in the fellowship of God's love through worship and service to others. Quite literally, we are made to love others for God's sake. Love as way of being is the way of life God prepared beforehand for each of us.
This isn't to say that we will always we happy all the time. Life is often filled with sorrow. However, in our search for happiness and fulfillment, knowing what we were made for and where we are going is our only real hope when we have lost our way. In fact, our lives and their fulfillment come not as the conclusion to an endless series of choices but rather as a gift.
As we make a ton of choices, some good and some ill, in 2019, don't forget that you are what God has made you to be. You are a gift, a gift of love given by the One who is love. Glory be to God, Amen.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Officer Election Sunday, Training Saturday
We encourage all members of FPC to attend our annual congregational meeting at 10:00 a.m. this Sunday, January 20, in the Fellowship Hall. We will elect officers, approve the pastoral terms of call, receive an annual financial report, and discuss new business. We will then convene as a meeting of the corporation to receive an update on relevant matters and elect a new Trustee.
The second training session for church officer candidates will take place at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, January 19, in room 123. Those unable to attend will be given an alternate date for training.
The following are the candidates for election in Sunday's meeting:
Class of 2021
Class of 2021
Jack Butterworth
Ann Abel
Ron Fox (2020)
Randy Cook
Fred Harkleroad
John Graham
Matt Kingsley
Katie McInnis
Lisa McClain
John Vann
Drew Rice
Joyce Samuel
Dedicating Oliver
Chase and Audrey Arndt
returned from living in Kenya as missionaries of First Presbyterian Church in March 2018. One month later, on April 28, they welcomed their son, Oliver. Chase's Maasai name is Olosotua, which means "one who brings people together in peace." The Arndts chose the name Oliver for their son because of its similar meaning, "extending the branch of peace." Their prayer for Oliver is that he will be a reflection of the hope and peace we are offered in and through the love of Jesus. Knowing that God has chosen Oliver to be an image bearer for Him, they are excited to share in his dedication to God together with our church family in the 8:30 a.m. worship service this Sunday, January 20.
Lenten Study Plan for Sunday
We will meet quickly after Sunday's congregational meeting, if there is time, to discuss the first chapter of N.T. Wright's The Crown and the Fire. Copies of the New Testament scholar's popular book are still available to folks who want to join.
Pastor Sam Goes to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Pastor Sam will head north Monday, January 21, to begin two weeks of intensive coursework for his doctoral degree at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He will be back late on the night of Friday, February 1. While he is in class, he will not be able to take calls. If you need him, please leave a message in the church office, and someone on staff will contact him.
New Measures for Church Security
As we all know, safety and security is a pressing issue in our society. Not to be alarmist, but in light of various acts of violence in houses of worship over the past few years, the Session has decided to take some measures to reduce risk to our congregation. Here is an outline of our plan:
  1. New security doors with keycard passes are being installed in the rear breezeway entrances to both the church and the education wing. The keycards will be effective only at specific times during the services.
  2. Keycards will be issued to parents who drop their children off in the nursery. Parents will need to sign their infants in to receive the keycards, and they will return the keycards when they sign them out.
  3. At each breezeway entrance there will be a basket with a few keycards for parents who need immediate access to elementary age students. If you take a keycard, you will need to return it immediately after using it.
  4. The doors will be open in the mornings on our usual schedule, with the exception of the large, wooden doors at the front of the church. Those will not be opened until 10:00. Anyone wishing to enter the church before 10:00 will need to use a different door.
  5. All doors to the church will be locked 10 minutes after the start of the early morning service. If you come late (say, at 8:50), we will have someone on hand to let you in through the Fellowship Hall door. Parents who need access to their children in the education wing can reach them as outlined in points 2 and 3.
  6. During late worship, all the doors to the church will be locked with the exception of the wooden front doors. Parents can reach children in the education wing through the rear breezeway by using keycards issued to them or available in the baskets.
  7. Ushers will be issued air horns with which to warn the congregation in case an assailant enters the church through the front doors. The ushers will also have access to their cellphones and 911.
  8. We ask that others in the congregation contribute by having cellphones ready to make an emergency call.
  9. We are having panic buttons installed in the pulpit of the main sanctuary as well as in the sound booth in the Fellowship Hall.
  10. Between services (from 9:45 to 11:10), the main doors of the church will be open. The risk here is lessened in that congregants will be dispersed throughout our campus and not collected together as easy targets for an assailant.
I know that this is a lot to take in, and the subject matter is not one we like to contemplate; you will need time to understand this new policy and ask questions. We expect to roll this plan out on Sunday, February 3. We will run this notice in Windows for the next several weeks, and we will discuss this matter during announcements. We will also take your questions during the "new business" portion of the congregational meeting this Sunday, January 20, at 10:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
We want to lift up to you that these measures come at significant cost to the church. In total, the doors and keycard readers alone will cost more than $11,000. If, in response to the measures we have taken, God leads you to contribute to our efforts, we ask that you make a special gift to the church and write "Security - Door Installation" on the memo line of your check. We ask especially that you pray for our church to be spared such violence./ Pastor Sam
A Grandfather's Mission in China
During the Adult Learning program next Wednesday, January 23, Sujean Bradley will pay tribute to her grandfather's missionary work in mainland China at the turn of the last century. Her presentation will include photographs , letters, and a video. The first activity of the evening, at 5:30 p.m., will be our fellowship dinner of BBQ sandwiches, baked beans, slaw, and dessert. Sujean's program will begin at 6:20 p.m. High School Small Groups, Middle School Gathering, and Wednesday Night Kids will meet at 6:00. Handbell ringers, and any adult who wants to learn, will practice in room 212 at 6:15.
Volunteers Reach Out to Share Christ
FPC's compassionate volunteers have once again stepped up to reach out, this time to provide everything needed for dinner on Saturday, January 26, as well as sack lunches for the next day, at Sharing Christ Ministries and Worship Center. Sharing Christ is a small, nondenominational, evangelical church on the corner of State and Sixth streets. Its members feel called to be the hands of Christ reaching out with food, clothing, and worship in downtown Bristol. With the help of volunteers from local churches, they present a free meal each Saturday night from 5:30 to 6:30. Sharing Christ also serves breakfast before Sunday worship, and houses a clothing ministry. For more information about how you can serve in this ministry with fellow FPC members, contact Dottie Havlik ( or 423-956-6747).
Registration for Women's Retreat Begins Jan. 27
Our annual Women's Retreat at Blowing Rock Conference Center is scheduled for February 22 -24 and will feature the Reverend Grace Kim as guest speaker. Grace has titled her talk, "Just As I Am." Registration will begin January 27. Plan to be there!
Shannan Miller Performs Saturday, Releases CD
Pressed, but Not Crushed is the name of Shannan Miller's upcoming musical ministry to benefit the Haitian Support Alliance, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the Haitian people. HSA supports schools and churches that minister to Haitians in their local villages, and supports small, Haitian-run businesses so that those in need can provide for their families.
Shannan will release a CD and perform this Saturday, January 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Apex Room at The Summit, 1227 Volunteer Parkway. Doors will open at 6:30. For tickets and more information, go to or Net proceeds of all ticket sales will go to Haitian Support Alliance of Bristol, TN.
Learn about Jobs for Life
What if those unemployed in Bristol found work because the local church took action? Learn how churches and other organizations are using the Jobs for Life program as a discipleship platform to help men and women discover their value in God's eyes and find the path to the work God created them to do. Learn more at a Jobs for Life community information meeting Thursday, February 7, 6:00 -8:00 p.m. at The Summit, 1227 Volunteer Parkway. There is no fee, and dinner will be provided at no charge. Please register by February 1 by contacting the United Way of Bristol at 423-968-4912 or For more information, contact John Vann (423-360-1153).
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:
Graham Barr: to the Outreach Fund from Jack & Nancy Butterworth
Frances Caldwell: to the Outreach Fund from Jack & Nancy Butterworth
Tom Daniel: to the Capital Campaign from Joanne Barbour and from Bill Linderman & Elizabeth Patrick; to the Memorial Fund from Barbara Thomas; to the Mortgage Elimination Project from John & Karen Vann; to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Barbara Duncan and from Peggy Peters
Fred & Laverne Frazier: to the Outreach Fund from Jack & Nancy Butterworth
Jackie Leonard (mother of Robin North): to the Memorial Fund from John & Karen Vann
Don Moneyhun: to the Memorial Fund from John & Karen Vann
Lucy Patrick (mother of Elizabeth Patrick): to Children's Ministries from Bill Linderman & Elizabeth Patrick
Wayne Sheffey: to the Memorial Fund from Tom Rounds and from Rita Sheffey
Bill Stone: to the Building & Grounds Fund from John & Karen Vann
We also wish to acknowledge gifts in honor of the following individuals:
Sam, Grace, Sammy & Joan Weddington: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Bill Linderman & Elizabeth Patrick
Jim White: to the Capital Campaign Fund from Bill Linderman & Elizabeth Patrick
Music Notes
Sunday's music participants: Pat Flannagan, Bob Greene, Sanctuary Choir.
Sunday's music: Our anthem today, "Once to Every Man and Nation," is a church music standard from the past 60 years. Composed by David Stanley York (1920 -2010), who spent most of his career as a teacher and composer at Westminster Choir College, it is set to a text by James Russell Lowell (1819 -1891). Lowell was an American poet and diplomat who taught at Harvard College, where he succeeded Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This text, first published in the Boston Courier, was written in 1845 in protest of America's war with Mexico. Martin Luther King Jr. frequently used portions of the text in his fight for civil rights in the 1960s.
Sir George Thalben-Ball
Organist's footnotes: Sir George Thalben-Ball (1896 -1987) was born in Australia but lived in the UK for most of his life, becoming well known as something of a showman as a recitalist in the grand late Victorian/Edwardian style. He became Director of Music at the Temple Church in London as well as City Organist at Birmingham Town Hall, and his name is still held in great respect by the majority of organists. He dedicated his "Elegy" (our prelude), apparently conceived as an improvisation to fill in time at the end of a BBC-recorded service during the war, to Sir Walford Davies, who preceded him as organist at the Temple Church in London. It was played during Princess Diana's funeral in 1997.
Dale Wood
Dale Wood (1934 -2003) was a renowned composer, organist, and choral director best known for his church music compositions. His "Caricature of a Sunday School Song" (our offertory) is based on the tune JESUS LOVES ME by William B. Bradbury (1816 -1868). Bradbury composed this children's tune for publication in 1862. Its popularity quickly spread, and the pentatonic melody was immediately a favorite of children in China and other distant lands. It is not uncommon to even hear "Buddha loves me, this I know" in some corners of the world today. The organ setting is called a caricature simply because of the way children exaggerate the distinctive little melody.
"In peace and joy I now depart" (Mit Fried' und Freud'ich fahr' dahin) is a hymn by Martin Luther (1483 -1546), upon which Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 -1750) composed this chorale prelude (our postlude) for his Orgelb├╝chlein (Little Organ Book). I will play the chorale first, then the chorale prelude.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers several members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Todd, Danielle & Emma Noel Booher
Becky Busler
Tammy Connolly
Don & JoLynn Evans
FPC Search Committees
Ben & Patsy Frizzell
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Dianne Glymph (Mary Ellis Rice's mother)
John Graham
Will Hankins
Eva Dot Hawk
Hunigan Family
Jonya Kennedy
Dot Mattison
Beth Neal
Nick Niosi
Osborne Family
Pastor Sam's mother
Pendley Family
Don Preston
Tony Raccioppo
Anne Raven
Sikorski Family
Jeremy Spencer
Stigers Family
Chuck Thompson
Jeremy Weaver
John Wizorek (Annette Tudor's father)
To the Church Triumphant
Patricia Felty (Pat) Hunigan
January 13, 2018
Our love and sympathy are with Sam and Selma Jennings in the death of brother-in-law Paul Felton, January 9; and with Glennda Cleland in the death of her mother, Martha Virginia Jessop, January 10. Please keep them in your prayers.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Jan. 20    Drew Porter
Jan. 21    Lisa Lundberg
Jan. 22    Dick Ladd
Jan. 24    Claire Hankins, Jenn Sproles
Jan. 25    Matt Kingsley, Karen Pennington
Church Calendar
Sunday, January 20
8:30 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
9:45 a.m.       Sunday School
10:00 a.m.     Congregational Meeting, Fellowship Hall
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
12:30 p.m.     Acolyte Meeting, Narthex
4:00 p.m.       Evangelism & Outreach Comm., Room 117
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship, Youth Wing
Tuesday, January 22
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
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, January 23
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.       Handbell Practice, Room 212
6:20 p.m.       Adult Learning, Fellowship Hall
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
7:15 p.m.       Worship Team, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, January 24
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
Saturday, January 26
4:30 p.m.       Sharing Christ Ministry, Sixth & State
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