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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Making Ready
FPC Wants YOU for Cook-Off and Talent Show Feb. 9
Help with Sharing Christ
Study with Us Wednesday Night
Arts Series Brings Beethoven to FPC Feb. 7
Turning a Page in Our Library
We Are Grateful to Bill Wade
Register for Women's Retreat
Student Super Bowl Party Sunday
Students: Sign Up Now for Winter Jam
Cheerios for Fairmount
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
February 2
4th Sunday after Epiphany
1 Corinthians 1:25-31
Matthew 5:1-12
Sam Weddington
This Do in Remembrance of Me
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 147; 11:00: 124
Click here to livestream our contemporary service. You can also access past sermons and ministry videos on our YouTube account, "FPC Bristol."
Deadline & Subscriptions
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on First Presbyterian Church

January 30, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Making Ready
I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he removes. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes so that it may bear more fruit. You have already been made ready to bear more fruit by the word I have spoken to you. Remain/Abide in me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself if it does not remain/abide in the vine, neither can you unless you remain/abide in me.
John 15:1-4 (My translation)
It may sound strange, but when I was a little boy, I often wondered how the ground, how the grass, how the field felt come spring. I'd watch my uncle and other farmers in the area get their tractors out, hook up those big, long disc plows (harrows) to the tractors, and start turning up the earth in the fields surrounding my home. It wasn't that I wondered whether the fields felt pain but rather how this limited sort of destruction impacted the land. The roots of grass ripped up, soil once buried now breathing fresh air; it was a strange sort of thought for a little boy.
My uncle and the other farmers would complete their work in time, run a second pass over the field to get up the clods of grass, and make final preparation to plant whatever crop they had determined to raise (at the time, lots of tobacco). Time, care, and making ready was the bulk of their work early on, and to a little boy with strange thoughts and questions, it was the first step in the mystery of bringing to life what once lay dormant.
In John 15:1, Jesus identifies the Father as the farmer, the vine-dresser, or the husbandman. God is the caretaker of a vine of God's life-giving love shown in the Son. We are the branches, the outgrowths, the shoots of that life-giving love. But to bear fruit, we must be tended. Pruning and dressing is necessary. The fields have to be prepared to support the life of the good seed planted in our hearts: God's Word, the Lord Jesus.
But pruning, plowing, making ready isn't easy. For us, it can be quite painful. Our hearts shelter rocks that must be pulled up and put aside. Old stumps must be dealt with before the plow can do its work. The wild growth at the edges of our lives needs to be cut back so that the vine, as a whole, might flourish. God as the farmer is an image both of deep, radical care and of ordering and sometimes violent work.
I wonder how the ground, the grass, the field feel come spring?
I can't answer that question for you, but I can share with you Jesus's promise: if you will abide with him, you will bear much fruit. Abiding in Christ requires trust, trust that God knows what God is doing, trust that God has our life, flourishing, and growth in mind, trust that our branch will flourish as the vine grows, thrives, and bears more fruit than we can individually imagine.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
FPC Wants YOU for Cook-Off and Talent Show Feb. 9
We're putting on a show in the Fellowship Hall Sunday, February 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., and we need you! We need many more acts for the talent show and more chili chefs for the cook-off. No act, talent, or pot is too small, and we welcome desserts as well as chili. We will have three categories of chili winners: Best, One of a Kind, and Make Sam Sweat. Pick up your light, come out from under that bushel, and share your talent with the rest of us! Please, please, please contact Lilly Osborne at or Katie Arnold at
Help with Sharing Christ
Our next opportunity to serve Bristol's poor with Sharing Christ Ministries and Worship Center will be Saturday, February 8, from 4:30 to around 7:00 p.m. This is a true team effort involving volunteers from both FPC and the downtown mission. We'd love to welcome a new volunteer or someone who hasn't joined in in a while. If you'd like to help or simply want to know more, please contact Dottie Havlik at or 423-956-6747.
At midweek we need easy-to-prepare casseroles (Dottie will give you the recipe), a few off-the-shelf items, a group or family to make sack lunches and bring them to the mission at 4:30 on Saturday, and folks to prepare, serve food, and clean up from 4:30 on. Please bring your contribution to the Little Kitchen by 4:30 on Thursday, February 6. If you can bring the casseroles directly to the mission at the corner of State and Sixth streets by 4:30 on February 8, it would be a huge help!
Study with Us Wednesday Night
Please join us Wednesday, February 5, at 5:30 for a fellowship supper, followed at 6:00 by activities for children and youth. At 6:15, Pastor Sam will lead our Adult Enrichment study in a discussion of 2 Corinthians 5 . Except when we have special presentations, we worship on most Wednesday evenings by praying, singing, and studying God's Word together.
Arts Series Brings Beethoven to FPC Feb. 7
A Juilliard-trained classical pianist and former student of long-time FPC member Ann Holler will perform in our sanctuary Friday, February 7, at 7:00 p.m. The don't-miss recital by Zachary Hughes is a stop on his Beethoven Odyssey. To celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth, Hughes is working to memorize all 32 of his favorite composer's piano sonatas. That's 600 pages, or 11 hours, of music that he will play over the course of a dozen free community recitals in 2020. His performance at FPC is one of these, but we suggest a donation of $15 ($5 for students).
Turning a Page in Our Library
In the coming weeks and months, many of you will see changes in our church library. We have been blessed by Erin Kingsley, Rebecca Tate, Beth Flannagan, and Matt Peltier, who have stepped up to help lead this change. If you have questions, please direct them to our volunteer librarians or to the pastoral staff. In the meantime, hold tight, change is coming. / Pastor Sam
We Are Grateful to Bill Wade
Dr. Bill Wade
As we get ready to make changes in our library, we want to take a moment and publicly thank Dr. Bill Wade for his years of dedicated service as our church librarian. Through his leadership, the library grew, and many have been blessed by his leadership. Thanks be to God! / Pastor Sam
Register for Women's Retreat
Registration for our annual women's retreat is under way. We are going to beautiful Blowing Rock, NC, February 21 -23 for a weekend of connection and renewal . Jessica Stollings will continue our conversation about intergenerational connectedness. Bring your friends and ReGenerate!
Student Super Bowl Party Sunday
All seventh through twelfth graders are invited to a Super Bowl Party this Sunday, February 2, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Food! Games! Prizes! We ask everyone to bring a snack, sweet, or drink to share. See you there!
Students: Sign Up Now for Winter Jam
Student Ministries is going to Winter Jam 2020 in Knoxville Friday, February 14. Winter Jam features Christian bands and a speaker, Louie Giglio. We will leave from the church at 3:30 p.m. and stop for a quick dinner before heading to the concert. We'll stop by Waffle House on the way home. Students will need food money (we suggest $15) in addition to the $15 price of admission. We will return late Friday evening. To reserve a seat in the van, register here. 
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:
Thelma "Woody" Carter: to the Capital Campaign Fund from Diane Harrison
Tom Daniel: to the Capital Campaign Fund from Ron & Susan Stevenson
Michael Ehrie Jr. (father of Meg Rice): to the Children's Ministries Fund from Ernie & Karen Pennington
Barbara Hall: to the Memorial Fund from Jeana McGregor
Herb Van Nostrand: to Boy Scout Troop 3 from Rebecca & Robert St. Jean and from Tim & Carol Williams
Music Notes
Sunday's music: Our anthem this week is "This Do in Remembrance of Me" by Judy Hunnicutt (b. 1939). It is a simple communion piece that alternates between accompanied section solo to a cappella homophony (vocal parts in harmony, singing the same rhythm). With words that are easy to understand, it aids the process of communion and reminds us of the sanctity of the Eucharist. Although little biographical information is available for the composer, there is an excerpt from The Sacred Harp (1844) printed on the back of the score that concerns the perspective of a composer on vocal music. Here is an extract from that excerpt:
The superiority of vocal to instrumental music is that while one only pleases the ear, the other informs the understanding.... Too long singing at a time injures the lungs. A cold or cough, all kind of spirituous liquors, violent exercise, too much bile on the stomach, long fasting, the veins overcharged with impure blood, etc., etc., are destructive to the voice of one who is much in the habit of singing. An excessive use of ardent spirits will speedily ruin the best voice.... How hard it is to make some believe soft singing is the most melodious; when, at the same time, loud singing is more like the hootings of the midnight bird than refined music.... We should therefore endeavor to improve the talent given us, and try to sing with the spirit and with the understanding, making melody in our hearts to the Lord.
Roberta Rowland-Raybold
Organist's footnotes: All of Sunday's organ pieces are from the collection The Beatitudes: Organ Reflections on the Blessings of Jesus by Roberta Rowland-Raybold.
Rowland-Raybold (b. 1938) began her piano study at age four and began organ study at age six, encouraged by her father, a pipe organ builder. She was the youngest charter member of the Westchester County, New York, Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and has served as AGO Chapter Dean and District Convener in New York State. She has studied organ with Trudy Faber, Judy Congdon, and Donald Busarow and improvisation with Busarow and Gerre Hancock.
A magna cum laude graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, she majored in sacred music, organ performance, and composition. She held the position of Director of Music at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Xenia, Ohio, during her years there. While at Wittenberg, she was also on staff of the Center for Musical Development, where she taught piano and organ. She continued graduate studies at Eastman School of Music and the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College. In 2012 she was awarded an alumni citation from Wittenberg for outstanding achievement in the field of sacred music.
Rowland-Raybold served for 25 years as Director of Music at University Baptist Church in State College, Pennsylvania. She has also held positions in Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches in several states. For several years she was an instructor for Hartwick Seminary Summer Institute of Theology at Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York, where she directed the Institute Choir.
Join the handbell choir: Ring our bells! The Sanctuary Handbell Choir practices from 6:15 to 7:15 on Wednesday evenings in room 212 upstairs. We play for the late worship service about once a month. Please contact Bob Greene at or 276-696-9091 to join us!
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Bethel Tulama
Bissau-Guinean brothers & sisters
Sujean Bradley
Becky Busler
Craig Cato
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Dorothy Dollar
Charlie Dolpp
Tucker Dorton
Sarah Ellis
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Flannagan family
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
Kay Martin Grott
Ron Grubbs
Sarah Haas
Bonnie Haskins
Lou Hebb
Rita Holifield
Marty Keys & family
Geneva King
Josh & Morgan King
Sergio Lopez
Krista Martin
Dot Mattison
Roger McCracken
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Breanna Necessary
Eric Page
Michael Parks's family
Matthew & John Reardon
Pat Rippetoe
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Joan Sams
John Scott
Grayson Smith & family
Isa Vandebrake
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Ying Kang Wei
Nancy Whitesides
Vicky Wood
Bill Woods
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Feb. 2        Geneva King, Isabelle Ladd, Kate Zeiler
Feb. 3        Josh Pruner
Feb. 4        John Graham
Feb. 7        Grace Kim, Ann Rowell
Church Calendar
Sunday, February 2
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 Super Bowl Party, Fellowship Hall
Monday, February 3
6:30 p.m.       Board of Deacons, Rooms 117 & 123
Tuesday, February 4
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, February 5
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 Practice, Room 212
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
Thursday, February 6
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
Friday, February 7
7:00 p.m.       Arts Series Recital: Zachary Hughes Plays
Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Sanctuary
Saturday, February 8
4:30 p.m.       Sharing Christ Service Opportunity, 
Sixth & State Streets
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